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Monday, August 1, 2011
USA Basketball cuts team to 14

By Eamonn Brennan

Here's a fun fact from last night's AP story about USA Basketball's latest World University Games roster moves: Since 1965, the U.S. is 131-8 in World University Games -- known overseas as the "Universiades" -- competitions. First things first, then: USA! USA! We may have a depressingly dysfunctional government, but our college kids are better than yours at basketball 46 years running. Wooo!

In 2011, the U.S. takes its talents to Shenzhen, China. What are the chances our collegiate men's national team improves its sterling historical record? It's hard to say just yet. But as the AP story linked above revealed Sunday night, Team USA is on the verge of its final roster cuts. On Sunday, the U.S. cut six players and kept 14, who will battle for the final 12 roster spots this week. The full list:

Made the Cut:
Tim Abromaitis, forward, Notre Dame
Marcus Denmon, guard, Missouri
Ashton Gibbs, guard, Pittsburgh
Draymond Green, forward, Michigan State
JaMychal Green, forward, Alabama
Scoop Jardine, guard, Syracuse
John Jenkins, guard, Vanderbilt
Orlando Johnson, guard, UC Santa Barbara
Greg Mangano, forward, Yale
Trevor Mbakwe, forward, Minnesota
Ray McCallum, guard, Detroit
Darius Miller, guard, Kentucky
Aaric Murray, center, West Virginia
Shabazz Napier, guard, Connecticut

Left Behind:
Kim English, guard, Missouri
Yancy Gates, forward, Cincinnati
C.J. McCollum, guard, Lehigh
Khris Middleton, forward, Texas A&M
Tony Mitchell, forward, Alabama
John Shurna, forward, Northwestern

The qualms are hard to find, though it's difficult to imagine how English, Middleton and Shurna couldn't have helped a team preparing to play international competition. English is a small forward with shooting guard skills. Middleton is a versatile, rangy stretch forward who can do a lot of the things you tend to need in international play. Shurna in particular -- whose game consists of rapid-fire 3-point shooting and angled backcuts to the rim -- seems perfect for international competition.

Alas, the team as currently composed still looks very tough, and it should get plenty of shooting from the likes of Jenkins, Napier, Denmon and Gibbs. Of course, that assumes all four players will make the final roster. Until then, we won't be exactly sure what this team will look like. But as of now, it's shaping up to be a pretty tough batch of collegiate ballers.