3-point shot: National team fails to medal

July, 15, 2013
7/15/13
5:00
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1. The USA's World University Games team will go down as a disappointment for failing to medal in Kazan, Russia. But the intent was to put together a team, not a collection of all-stars. That's exactly what was done in forming the squad. The staff of Bob McKillop (Davidson), Frank Martin (South Carolina) and John Beilein (Michigan) -- a collection of three of the more successful coaches -- will have to decide if they put the players in the right spots after the tournament. But some of the players will also return to the states needing to reassess their season after a subpar performance. A few of them were undecided about whether to declare for the NBA draft or go back to school. Like Adreian Payne of Michigan State, Cory Jefferson of Baylor and Doug McDermott of Creighton. All of three are vital to their team's success next season and McDermott enters as one of the favorites for the national player of the year. The player who deserves the most praise on the team is Louisville's Luke Hancock, who is playing well and through incredible grief after losing his father, William, in late June. Through six games, Hancock was second on the team in scoring and in making 3-pointers. Hancock's play in the WUG and Montrezl Harrell for the gold-medal U-19 FIBA championship team is yet another reason why the Cardinals should be feeling good about being title contenders yet again.

2. Canada's WUG team was undefeated through six games, including a win over the Americans. The play of Brady Heslip (Baylor), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Melvin Ejim (Iowa State) and Jordan Bachynski (Arizona State) should bode well for their respective teams and Canada's future. Remember the best Canadians are in the NBA now and will be coming next season too. Consecutive Canadians could be drafted No. 1 from Anthony Bennett to Kansas' Andrew Wiggins. Kelly Olynyk performance for the Celtics in the summer league adds to the depth of this national team. Heslip had a disappointing season a year ago but should be ready to assume more of a leadership role for the Bears. Pangos will be the focal point for the Zags. Ejim is a major player for the Cyclones and Bachynski has to be the interior scorer for the Sun Devils. The front-running school for former Kentucky forward Kyle Wiltjer has always been Gonzaga and playing with Pangos should be a reason to suspect the Zags will get Wiltjer. Of course, Wiltjer could still decide to come back to Kentucky and either play or redshirt.

3. The freak fractured right ankle for Shane Larkin doesn't mean he didn't make the right decision to leave for the NBA. Larkin suffered the injury while practicing with his Dallas Mavericks team in preparation for the Las Vegas Summer League. Larkin is out for three months with the best-case scenario being that he returns in time for training camp in October. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was positive about Larkin's return and what he could mean for the Mavericks once healthy. Larkin was a first-round pick and will get serious minutes once he is ready next season. Had he returned to Miami for his junior season then he would have been back for a team that relied too much on him. Larkin wouldn't have been simply a playmaker, he would have had to make the majority of plays and that isn't who he will, or should, be in the NBA. Meanwhile, his injury has likely opened up a chance for Ricky Ledo to earn some time. Ledo left Providence after not being eligible in his one season on campus. Ledo was a long shot to be eligible to play in college and probably made the best decision for his career to leave.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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