Featuring three players with NCAA Final Four experience, including two who are members of NCAA championship teams, 15 of the nation's top college players have accepted invitations to attend the 2009 USA Basketball Men's World University Games Team training camp June 16-24 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The eventual 12-member USA team will be announced prior to the team's departure for Serbia on June 25. The invitations to attend the USA Basketball training camp were extended by the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee.
The World University Games is organized by the International University Sports Federation and held every other year. The 2009 men's basketball competition will take place July 2-12 in Belgrade, Serbia, with 24 men's teams expected to compete for gold. Eligible athletes for the USA team must be currently enrolled in a college or university and have remaining NCAA athletic eligibility.
Accepting invitations to participate in the 2009 USA Men's World University Games Team Trials were: James Anderson (Oklahoma State / Junction City, Ark.); Talor Battle (Penn State / Albany, N.Y.); Trevor Booker (Clemson / Whitmire, S.C.); Craig Brackins (Iowa State / Palmdale, Calif.); Da'Sean Butler (West Virginia / Newark, N.J.); Sherron Collins (Kansas / Chicago, Ill.); Mike Davis (Illinois / Alexandria, Va.); Corey Fisher (Villanova / Bronx, N.Y.); Lazar Hayward (Marquette / Buffalo, N.Y.); Robbie Hummel (Purdue / Valparaiso, Ind.); JaJuan Johnson (Purdue / Indianapolis, Ind.); Quincy Pondexter (Washington / Fresno, Calif.); Deon Thompson (North Carolina / Torrance, Calif.); Evan Turner (Ohio State / Chicago, Ill.); and Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State / Brownsville, Tenn.).
University of Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan has been selected by USA Basketball to serve as head coach of the 2009 USA Men's World University Games Team. Ryan's two assistant coaches are to be announced.
"These guys are some of the best college players in the country and I think they're guys who would be future Olympic candidates," said Jim Boeheim, chair of the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee and head coach at Syracuse University. "This is a great opportunity for them to play for their country and get an understanding of the international game. I think this is a great group of college players. This should be a great experience for them and they should represent USA Basketball very well."
In addition to Boeheim, the 2009-2012 Men's Junior National Team Committee, formerly known as the Men's Collegiate Committee, includes NCAA appointees Lorenzo Romar (head coach, University of Washington); Bruce Weber (head coach, University of Illinois) and Roy Williams (head coach, University of North Carolina); and athlete representative Jay Williams, a member of the 2002 USA Basketball World Championship Team.
2009 USA Men's World University Games Team Trials Invitees
Collins (2008), Fisher (2009) and Thompson (2008 and 2009) boast of NCAA Final Four experience and Collins (2008) and Thompson (2009) were part of their schools' NCAA national championship team. Additionally, Battle, who was named to the '09 NIT All-Tournament Team, helped lead Penn State to the 2009 NIT championship.
The trials roster features seven athletes who completed their junior season of college basketball this past season and eight others who finished their sophomore campaigns.
Fourteen colleges are sending a player, and only Purdue is sending two (Hummel and Johnson).
Six NCAA Division I conferences have players involved in the trials. The Big Ten Conference leads the way with five players, the Big East and Big 12 conferences feature three each, the Atlantic Coast Conference lists two players, while the Pacific-10 Conference and Southeastern Conference have one each.
Two of the 15 invitees have prior USA Basketball experience. Thompson participated in USA Basketball's U19 trials and was named to the 2007 USA U19 World Championship Team that finished 8-1 and claimed the silver medal in Novi Sad, Serbia. Thompson started five of the USA's nine games and averaged a team third best 10.0 ppg., while adding team bests of 6.3 rpg. and 13 blocked shots. Collins prior USA Basketball experience comes in the 2007 USA Pan American Games Trials.
Several trials participants garnered national honors in 2008-09. Collins was named All-America second team by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), and a third team selection by the Associated Press (A.P.), and The Sporting News. Brackins, Turner and Varnado earned All-America honorable mention from the A.P.
Six players were named to their all-conference first teams: Battle (Big Ten); Brackins (Big 12); Collins (Big 12); Johnson (Big Ten) Turner (Big Ten) and Varnado (SEC). Listed on all-conference second teams were Anderson (Big 12); Booker (ACC); Butler (Big East); and Davis (Big Ten); while Hummel (Big Ten) was a third team selection.
Additionally, Varnado was tagged as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, while Fisher was named the Big East Conference's Sixth Man. Selected to their all-conference defensive teams were Booker (ACC), Johnson (Big Ten) and Varnado (SEC).
In conference tournaments Hummel (Big 10) and Varnado (SEC) earned MVP honors, while Davis, Johnson and Turner listed on the Big Ten All-Tournament Team.
Nine players collected NABC All-District honors: Anderson (District 8 second team); Battle (District 7 first team); Booker (District 2 second team); Brackins (District 8 first team); Butler (District 5 second team); Collins (District 8 first team); Johnson (District 7 first team); Turner (District 7 first team); and Varnado (District 21 second team)
Eleven of the trials participants received USBWA All-District honors: Anderson (District VI); Battle (District II); Booker (District III); Brackins (District VI); Butler (District II); Collins (District VI); Davis (District V); Johnson (District V); Hummel (District V); Turner (District V); and Varnado (District IV).
All 15 players aided their teams to post season tournaments in 2008-09, with 13 players earning their team an invite to the NCAA Tournament, while two players led their teams to a NIT appearance.
USA World University Games History
The United States, which has claimed a medal in every World University Games men's basketball competition since beginning play in 1965, has captured a record 13 gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals in the 18 WUGs in which a USA Basketball squad has competed. The U.S., which owns a 125-7 won-loss record in World University Games play, captured six of the first seven gold medals awarded in World University Games competition and strung together six consecutive gold medals from 1989 through 1999.
USA Basketball did not field a team in 2007 for the World University Games, however, the 2005 USA squad rolled to an 8-0 record to capture the gold medal in Izmir, Turkey. Duke forward Sheldon Williams, Boston College's Craig Smith, Villanova's Randy Foye and Minnesota's Vincent Grier averaged double digit scoring to lead the U.S.
Eighteen players who have represented the USA in the World University Games have gone on to compete in the Olympic Games, including Ray Allen, Stacey Augmon, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Bill Bradley, Quinn Buckner, Tom Burleson, Ken Davis, Tim Duncan, Phil Hubbard, Allen Iverson, Mitch Kupchak, Karl Malone, Michael Redd, Mitch Richmond, Michael Silliman, Steve Smith and Jo Jo White.