Abromaitis on USA squad

Published 6:21 pm Friday, August 5, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis has been named to the 12-man roster that will represent the United States in the 2011 World University Games men’s basketball competition.

The team was selected following six days of training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Training camp continues for the team members through, Aug. 7, with two practices each day at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and the team will depart for China on Aug. 8.

The USA will play an exhibition contest against New Century, a Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) professional team, in Huizho, China, on Aug. 11, before opening World University Games play on Aug. 13.

In all, 24 countries will compete in the international competition. The USA has been slotted into Pool D, along with Finland, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and South Korea. The red, white and blue will open play against Mexico at 6 p.m. on Aug. 13 (all times listed are China Standard Time, which is +12 hours from Eastern Time) and will then play Hungary at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 14; South Korea at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 15; Finland at 6 p.m. on Aug. 17; and Israel at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 18.

Following the preliminary round, the top two placed teams from each pool will advance to the medal quarterfinals, which will be contested on Aug. 20. The semifinals are scheduled for Aug. 21, and the finals will be played on Aug. 22.

Joining Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) on the roster are: Marcus Denmon (Missouri/Kansas City, Mo.); Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh/Scotch Plains, N.J.); Draymond Green (Michigan State/Saginaw, Mich.); JaMychal Green (Alabama/Montgomery, Ala.); Scoop Jardine (Syracuse/ Philadelphia, Pa.); John Jenkins (Vanderbilt/ Hendersonville, Tenn.); Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara/Seaside, Calif.); Greg Mangano (Yale/Orange, Conn.); Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota/ St. Paul, Minn.); Ray McCallum (Detroit Mercy/Beverly Hills, Mich.); and Darius Miller (Kentucky/Maysville, Ky.).

“I think your strengths are going to come out in competition, and we have some very good players,” said USA and Purdue University head mentor Matt Painter, who previously assisted the 2009 USA U19 World Championship Team to a gold medal. “I think we have some good point-guard play, some good, athletic wings that can shoot the basketball and then we have some good interior strength. So, I think we have balance. We do have some interchangeable parts, some guys at the three and four positions that can swing either way. We can play smaller and we can play bigger. It will depend on who we are playing against. I do think we can play a couple of different ways, and that’s always a positive.”

Four players possess prior USA Basketball experience. Jardine was a member of the USA Select Team that trained against the 2010 USA Men’s National Team in Las Vegas, Nev. Gibbs and Miller helped the USA to a gold medal and 9-0 record at the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship, and JaMychal Green was a member of the 2008 U.S. team that captured a 4-1 record and silver medal at the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

The roster features two players – Abromaitis and Jardine – who graduated in 2011 with remaining eligibility, eight athletes from the class of 2012, one athlete who will graduate in 2013 — Jenkins – and one player — McCallum, who recently completed his freshman season and will graduate in 2014.

Seven NCAA conferences are represented on the roster, including three schools from the BIG EAST Conference and the Southeastern Conference (SEC), two schools from the Big Ten Conference and one program apiece from the Big 12 Conference, the Big West Conference, Horizon League and Ivy League.

Eleven players earned individual recognition from their respective conferences following the 2010-11 season, including the BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year, Abromaitis, and the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year, McCallum.

Listing on their conference first teams were: Denmon (Big 12), Gibbs (BIG EAST), JaMychal Green (SEC), Jenkins (SEC), Johnson (Big West) and Mangano (Ivy League), while second team members included: Mbawke (Big Ten) and McCallum (Horizon).

Third team selections were: Abromaitis (BIG EAST) and Draymond Green (Big Ten), while Jardine (BIG EAST) was an honorable mention.

Cuonzo Martin of the University of Tennessee and Brad Stevens of Butler University are serving as assistant coaches for the 2011 USA Men’s World University Games Team.

The 2009-12 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Committee selected the squad. In addition to committee chair Jim Boeheim (head coach, Syracuse University), the 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); as well as athlete representative Jay Williams, a member of the 2002 USA World Championship Team.

The World University Games are held every other year and are organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The World University Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24 (born between January 1, 1987 and December 31, 1993), and is or has been within the past year, a student at a college or university.

The United States, which has claimed a medal in every World University Games since beginning play in 1965, has captured a record 13 gold medals, three silver medals 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.

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.

Abromaitis is the first Notre Dame men’s basketball player to compete with Team USA since Troy Murphy participated with the 2000 U.S. Men’s Select Team. That squad fell to the U.S. National Team, 111-74.