U.S. assistant coach John Beilein instructs guard Kendall Williams during World University Games workouts on Tuesday. [Jim Thompson/ZUMAPRESS.com]
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- After an afternoon session of more scrimmages between three teams and a bit of roster news, here's how things stand heading into Wednesday, when the final 12-man team will be announced:
- Purdue rising sophomore A.J. Hammons had to leave the tryout camp due to what was termed a "family emergency." He will not be back at the camp, which eliminates one of the two possible 7-footers as a roster option. Hoping that Hammons' situation isn't too serious, this could open the door for New Mexico's Alex Kirk to be on the team.
Kirk and Marquette's Devante Gardner had a few good battles in the afternoon scrimmages, and it could come down to an either/or situation depending on how the coaches want to play it. Could Kirk's superior perimeter offense (and height) be the tipping point for an international tournament in which the U.S. likely will see zones?
- Guys who didn't do (all that) much in the morning but were better in the afternoon included Notre Dame's Eric Atkins, Minnesota's Andre Hollins, Stanford's Josh Huestis, Iowa's Devyn Marble, Indiana's Will Sheehey and Baylor's Cory Jefferson (who had a dunk on the break that appeared to include a Euro step. Crazy.).
- On the whole, the players really continued to struggle with the deeper international 3-point line (shaped similar to the NBA's, but around 22-feet, 1-inch or so at its deepest point). Both sessions featured a surprising number of airballs and/or shots that weren't even close to going in. The players crammed a lot of scrimmaging into a 22-hour period at north of 6,000 feet of altitude, so fatigue and unfamiliarity could be playing a significant role, but the roster doesn't have a lot of pure shooters on it.
BYU's Tyler Haws knocked down a couple of shots and looks pretty comfortable at that depth. In starting to eyeball the team's composition, you'd have to think the coaches will have to strongly consider taking both Haws and Louisville's Luke Hancock as they are really shy on good perimeter shooters at the guard spots. It may turn out that those two and Creighton's Doug McDermott are the best 3-point shooters on the team.
- McDermott was a lot better in the PM session, showing more productive assertiveness and some craft around the basket. He may be one of the players who benefits most from getting into a more structured setting once the roster is paired.
After an early-morning session on Wednesday, the staff will make final decisions on team a bit after 9:30 a.m. MDT, but the official release of the team probably won't happen until closer to lunchtime. If you're really eager to know, checking the players' Twitter feeds may not be a bad option. Someone may squawk. If I were putting the team together, I'd probably start with the following guys (in alphabetical order): Spencer Dinwiddie, Yogi Ferrell, Luke Hancock, Tyler Haws, Rodney Hood, Sean Kilpatrick, Alex Kirk, Doug McDermott, Adreian Payne and Chasson Randle.
That would give you two small guards, two bigger guards, two wing shooters, an athletic wing/smallball power forward, a scoring power forward, another athletic big and an inside/outside big man. With the two remaining spots, you probably need another rebounder (Cory Jefferson?) and maybe another ballhandler/leader (could Kendall Williams sneak in) or shooter (pick someone). We'll see if tomorrow's workout makes any difference and how close this is to the actual roster. Should be interesting.