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July 31, 2011West Virginia big man Aaric Murray made the initial cut and is one of 14 players competing for 12 spots on the 2011 USA Men's World University Games Team.
The decision was made to trim down the list of 20 players to 14 after three days of training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Those training camps will now continue, with two practices each day, from July 31-Aug. 7, until the final 12-man roster is announced prior to when the team departs for China on Aug. 8.
Murray, a transfer from LaSalle, must sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, but should provide an immediate presence on the inside for the Mountaineers next season.
During his two seasons as an Explorer, the Philadelphia, Pa. native averaged 13.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. And the experience overseas could only further develop his on-the-court performance. But first thing's first, he has to earn a spot on the final roster.
Along with Murray, Tim Abromaitis (Notre Dame), Marcus Denmon (Missouri), Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh), Draymond Green (Michigan State), JaMychal Green (Alabama), Scoop Jardine (Syracuse), John Jenkins (Vanderbilt), Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara), Greg Mangano (Yale), Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota), Ray McCallum (Detroit Mercy), Darius Miller (Kentucky) and Shabazz Napier (UConn) all remain in the final 14-players.
Purdue headman Matt Painter, who assisted the 2009 USA U19 World Championship Team to a gold medal, is the head coach of the group.
"I think it's a great group," he said. "We have a lot of balance. I think on the interior we have some shot-blockers, we have some athletes, guys that can really go and get the basketball and some real good shooters. We have some good, interchangeable parts, and a lot of talent, both returning talent and young. I'm really excited about the mix we have."
The team will begin play in an exhibition game against New Century, a Chinese professional team, before opening University Games play Aug. 13.
The USA will compete in Pool D of the 24-country international competition, along with Finland, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and South Korea.
Following the preliminary round, the top two teams in the standings from each pool will advance to the medal quarterfinals, which will be contested on Aug. 20. The semifinals are on Aug. 21, and the finals will be played on Aug. 22.
The United States, which has claimed a medal in every World University Games since beginning play in 1965, has captured a record 13 golds, three silvers and three bronze medals in the 19 WUGs in which a USA Basketball squad has competed, and the U.S. owns a 131-8 record in the event.
Most recently, the USA men earned the bronze medal after finishing 6-1 and suffering a one-point loss to Russia in the semifinals.
The games are held every other year and are organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The games are open to athletes who are between the ages of 17 and 24, and have been a student at a college or university within the past year.