KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin travels to Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday for the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games National Team training camp. He’ll be working with 19 of the nation’s top Division I players who are vying for a chance to make the 12-man roster that will compete at The Games in Shenzhen, China, August 13-22.
Purdue’s Matt Painter will be the head coach for the U.S. squad, while Martin and Butler’s Brad Stevens will serve as assistants. The coaching staff selections were made by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee.
“First of all, I’m honored and excited about the opportunity to represent my country,” Martin said. “This is going to be a great experience, and I’m hoping I can use it to make myself a better coach. I’ll be around respected college coaches, outstanding players and I’ll have an opportunity to study international styles of play.
“So aside from the privilege of wearing the red, white and blue, one of the things I’m most looking forward to is the chance to soak up a lot of knowledge about the game of basketball. You always have to find ways to keep getting better at what you do.”
Training camp runs from July 29 through Aug. 7 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC). Arizona’s Sean Miller, Virginia’s Tony Bennett and VCU’s Shaka Smart will assist the U.S. staff in Colorado during the camp but will not make the trip to China.
The complete list of players competing for a spot on the final roster includes: Tim Abromaitis (Notre Dame), Bradford Burgess (VCU), Marcus Denmon (Missouri), Kim English (Missouri), Yancy Gates (Cincinnati), Ashton Gibbs (Pitt), Draymond Green (Michigan State), JaMychal Green (Alabama), Scoop Jardine (Syracuse), John Jenkins (Vanderbilt), Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara), Greg Mangano (Yale), Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota), C.J. McCollum (Lehigh), Khris Middleton (Texas A&M), Darius Miller (Kentucky), Tony Mitchell (Alabama), Aaric Murray (West Virginia) and John Shurna (Northwestern). A pair of prep standouts also were recently added to the training camp roster.
Four Southeastern Conference players are among the 19 collegiate candidates, which is second only to the Big East’s six.
The USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee is expected on July 31 to announce finalists for the 2011 USA World University Games Team, and the official roster will be announced prior to the team's departure for China on Aug. 8.
(E-mail Stan Crawley at firstname.lastname@example.org)