COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Between Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller and his colleagues on the USA Basketball U18 staff and the USA junior national team committee, somebody has recruited or is recruiting just about everyone in this week’s U18 trials.
But when camp is whittled down from 24 players to about 13-15 today – a final roster of 12 will compete in the FIBA Americas Championship later this month — those ties may not matter much.
That’s the way U18 head coach Billy Donovan of Florida sees it, noting how he and assistants Miller and Providence’s Ed Cooley will also consult with the junior national committee headed by Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim in making roster decisions.
“Anytime you’re selecting a team, I think sometimes kids wonder how much politics is involved,” Donovan said. “But there’s no politics. … You have a lot of people sitting in a room evaluating everybody.
“So even if someone is political and has a kid who’s committed to his school or is in his school and says,‘I want him to play’ — but he hasn’t really played well, there’s seven other guys in here who say, ‘Wait, he’s not good enough.’”
Of the 24 players, there are only a few who are certain of making the team. One of them is incoming UA freshman Stanley Johnson. But other than Johnson, and Duke’s Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones, there aren’t guarantees.
“It’s very competitive,” Miller said. “Team USA is a big prize. For anyone to be associated with it is quite an accomplishment. So with that there’s tremendous competition, but also the difference (in ability) isn’t that significant.”
UA commit Tyler Dorsey has not one but two roommates this week in his U.S. Olympic Training Site dorm room — and one of them is a 7-footer, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh.
The other is fellow UA commit Justin Simon.
But Dorsey isn’t complaining, saying he has gotten to know Simon well.
“I didn’t know Justin,” Dorsey said. “It’s been great.”
Simon said he has enjoyed everything about the camp so far.
“Just playing against the top players and competing and getting after it is always good,” Simon said. “It’s a great experience whether I make the team or not. It’s just a great experience to play for your country. That’s what I’m taking advantage of, playing with all this talent and picking the brains of the coaches we have here.”
Johnson bulks up
In USA Basketball’s official measurements taken this week, Johnson checked in at 6 feet, 6¾ inches and 243 pounds after being listed in the 220-230 range a year ago.
Simon and Tyler were both measured at 6-4« in height. Simon weighed 192 pounds, had a 6-11« wingspan and an 8-7½ reach. Dorsey weighed 178, had a 6-3½ wingspan and a 8-2 reach.
Of the uncommitted UA targets:
Stephen Zimmerman: 6-10, 241, 7-2¾ wingspan, 9-1 reach
Chase Jeter: 6-9¾, 226, 7-1 wingspan, 9-1 reach
Allonzo Trier: 6-3«, 194, 6-6 wingspan, 8-4 reach
Isaiah Briscoe: 6-3, 220, 6-9, 8-4½
Pac-12 pairings set
Arizona will open the 2014-15 Pac-12 season at home against ASU sometime between Dec. 29-Jan. 4, according to windows announced by the Pac-12 on Wednesday. While exact dates and times are still to be announced, the Pac-12 set the weeks when the Wildcats will be home and away.
The home weeks: Colorado/Utah from Jan. 12-18; OSU/Oregon from Jan. 26-Feb. 1; USC/UCLA from Feb. 16-22; and Stanford/Cal from March 2-9.
The road weeks: At Oregon/OSU from Jan. 5-11; at Cal/Stanford from Jan. 19-25; at ASU from Feb. 2-6; at Washington/WSU from Feb. 9-15; at Utah/Colorado from Feb. 23-March 1.