As summer heats up, the various Team USA basketball rosters also start rounding into shape. One of the better such international events that includes collegians, the World University Games, is scheduled to occur from August 13-23 in Shenzhen, China. As such, the training camp roster of 22 current college players was released on Wednesday with a goal of cutting the group to a final 12 in late July. The remaining dozen will spend early August practicing as a team before traveling overseas to represent the United States in an event that hasn’t been kind to the Yanks in the last decade. Perhaps as a result of increasingly fewer talented players still in college or representative of the world catching up to the USA in basketball, this team has only finished first or second once in its last four outings — the 2005 team led by Shelden Williams (Duke) went 8-0 on its way to collecting gold in Turkey. Two years ago, the 2009 team went 7-1 with its sole blemish a one-point semifinal defeat to Russia to bring home the bronze. This year’s team will have its work cut out for it in an increasingly competitive international landscape. Here’s the training camp roster:
It’s a guard-heavy group, as Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs, Xavier’s Tu Holloway, Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins, and Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor all have All-America potential in 2011-12. This isn’t surprising, as many of the better big men in the game have either opted out of international basketball this summer (Kentucky’s Terrence Jones; Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger), or they’re moving on to NBA riches (Arizona’s Derrick Williams; Georgia’s Trey Thompkins; Kansas’ Morris Twins; Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson). It’s notable that Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine (2010), Northwestern’s John Shurna (2010, 2009), Kentucky’s Darius Miller (2009), Gibbs (2009), and Alabama’s JaMychal Green (2008) have all had previous international experience, which would presumably give each a leg up to make Jim Boeheim’s team this summer.