COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Creighton men's basketball player Doug McDermott has made the initial cut at the 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team Training Camp.
Twenty men from around the country were invited to the camp, with seven players cut after Sunday morning's practice. One more player is expected to be cut on Wednesday before the team departs for Lithuania on Friday.
After Sunday morning's practice, McDermott said all 20 players were called into a room. First, USA Men's Junior National Team committee chairman Jim Boeheim addressed the group, informing them that all 20 players played hard and were good enough to make the team. Boeheim was followed by Sean Ford, USA Basketball's men's national team director, who read off the list of names to the captive audience of Team USA hopefuls.
In an interview on Sunday morning, McDermott described the surreal experience. "It was just crazy. They brought us in a room and read off a list of players that made it. To hear your name called is a big honor, and I'm very blessed for the chance to compete against some of the best players in the world."
Named as a finalist for the USA U19 World Championship squad were: Keith Appling (Michigan State/Detroit, Mich.); James Bell (Villanova/Orlando, Fla.); Anthony Brown (Stanford/Huntington Beach, Calif.); .); Jahii Carson (Mesa High School/*Arizona State/Phoenix, Ariz.);Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Michigan/Miami, Fla.); Joe Jackson (Memphis/Memphis, Tenn.); Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut/Norcross, Ga.); Meyers Leonard (Illinois/Robinson, Ill.); Khyle Marshall (Butler/Davie, Fla.); Javon McCrea (Buffalo/Newark, N.Y.); Doug McDermott(Creighton/ Ames, Iowa); Tony Mitchell (North Texas/Dallas, Texas); and Patric Young (Florida/Jacksonville, Fla.).
George Mason University mentor Paul Hewitt is head coach of the USA U19 World Championship Team, and is being assisted by collegiate head coaches Randy Bennett of St. Mary's College and Cliff Warren of Jacksonville University.
"I think our inside players are tremendous. We have some good balance and some guys that can shoot the basketball. Obviously, it was a hard decision to come down to 13, and we still have to make one more decision before we go overseas," said Hewitt.
"The focus from here has got to be on defense. I don't think that we can be a team that's going to have the most continuity, so we have to be a really good defensive team and capitalize on our ability to get stops in transition."
Training camp for the selected finalists continues Sunday afternoon through Thursday, June 23, with the official 12-member USA U19 roster being announced prior to the team's departure for Europe on June 24. The 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men is being held June 30-July 10 in Valmiera, Liepaja and Riga, Latvia.
McDermott will be a sophomore at Creighton University in the fall. He set a freshman conference record with 581 points and also led Creighton with 7.2 rebounds per game during the 2010-11 season while becoming the first freshman in 59 years to be named first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference.