This news almost slipped past us, but that’s why we wear those specially-made stick-em gloves everywhere we go. You know the ones. Anyway, with the US men’s national team preparing for the 2010 World Championships later this month in Turkey, players like Stephen Curry, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Durant need someone to scrimmage against. That’s where the collegians come in. On Monday, USA Basketball selected ten of the best rising juniors and seniors from the collegiate ranks to provide competition for the NBA stars in a series of practice games to be played next week. The final list is below:
|2010 USA Basketball Select Team – New York|
|NAME||POS||HT||WT||YEAR||COLLEGE / HOMETOWN|
|JaJuan Johnson||F||6-10||216||2011||Purdue / Indianapolis, Ind.|
|Jon Leuer||C||6-10||230||2011||Wisconsin / Orono, Minn.|
|Shelvin Mack||G||6-3||215||2012||Butler / Lexington, Kent.|
|Kyle Singler||F||6-8||230||2011||Duke / Medford, Ore.|
|Chris Singleton||F||6-9||227||2012||Florida State / Canton, Ga.|
|Nolan Smith||G||6-2||185||2011||Duke / Upper Marlboro, Mary.|
|Howard Thompkins||F||6-10||247||2012||Georgia / Lithonia, Ga.|
|Mike Tisdale||C||7-1||235||2011||Illinois / Riverton, Ill.|
|Kemba Walker||G||6-1||172||2012||Connecticut / Bronx, N.Y.|
|Chris Wright||F||6-8||226||2012||Dayton / Trotwood, OH|
|Head Coach: Jay Wright, Villanova|
The original group of twenty candidates was whittled in half with the above selections, and the remainder gives a fair representation of some of the strength of college basketball next season. Two Dookies (Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith) and three Big Ten players (Jon Leuer, JaJuan Johnson and Mike Tisdale) lead the way, but the list also shows just how much these two classes have been raided by the NBA Draft. In fact, three of the players on the national team roster — Kevin Love, Derrick Rose and Eric Gordon — would have been seniors in the Class of 2011 had they remained in school.
Still, there are several players on the Select Team who may be poised to break out in a big way next season. Johnson, Mack, Walker, Singler, Smith and Wright are known commodities, but few people outside of the Big Ten know who Jon Leuer plays for, much less that he dropped 15/6 in a very productive season at Wisconsin last year. Or that Georgia’s Trey Thompkins (with his 18/8 averages) is the only all-SEC first teamer who will return in that league next season. What about the Illini’s Mike Tisdale, a true seven-footer who dropped 12/6 last year while leading the Big Ten in field goal percentage at 59%? Or FSU’s Chris Singleton, who effectively uses his long, wiry frame to shut down just about everyone he guards in the ACC?
We’d love to get our hands on some of the footage of next week’s scrimmages, but regardless of that, the names above are without question several of the upperclassmen that you should either re-acquaint yourselves with or get to know. You’ll be hearing from them a lot more this coming year.