Update on a pair of national teams

June, 16, 2009
Quick hitters on the Tuesday after the early-entry withdrawal deadline:

• The World University Games team took a hit when Kansas guard Sherron Collins had to pull out of the trials the day before he was due to fly to Colorado Springs. KU coach Bill Self said it was a family decision on the part of Collins. USA Basketball spokesperson Craig Miller reiterated that stance. Collins issued a statement through USA Basketball that said, "I was really looking forward to going. But with my family situation taking place in Chicago, it would be hard for me to be out of the country at this time." The World University Games are scheduled for July 2-11 in Serbia. Collins' absence practically puts a must-get tag on Arizona point guard Nic Wise and Villanova lead guard Corey Fisher. Both players were probably going to make the squad anyway, but now it almost seems like a given.

The other players trying out for the 12 spots are James Anderson (Oklahoma State), Talor Battle (Penn State), Trevor Booker (Clemson), Craig Brackins (Iowa State), Da'Sean Butler (West Virginia), JaJuan Johnson and Robbie Hummel (Purdue), Quincy Pondexter (Washington), Deon Thompson (North Carolina), Mike Tisdale (Illinois), Evan Turner (Ohio State) and Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State). Wisconsin's Bo Ryan is coaching the squad, assisted by Frank Haith (Miami) and Rob Jeter (Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

• One of the perks of being the head coach of a national team is getting a chance to coach one of your own players. Pitt's Jamie Dixon might have a shot at two. Point guard Ashton Gibbs was added to the FIBA U-19 trials roster in place of Kemba Walker of Connecticut. And then, on Monday afternoon -- the day before the trials begin in Colorado Springs for the team that will represent the U.S. in New Zealand next month -- incoming Pitt freshman forward Dante Taylor was added to the roster to replace Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu.

"It's great for Dante and it's great for the program," Dixon said. "Dante and Ashton were the next two guys on the list."

For the 12 spots on the team, Gibbs and Taylor will compete with Butler's Shelvin Mack, Florida's Kenny Boynton, West Virginia's Darryl Bryant, Washington State's Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto, Duke's Seth Curry, UCLA's Drew Gordon, Butler's Gordon Hayward, Kentucky's Darius Miller, UTEP's Arnett Moultrie, Minnesota's Ralph Sampson III, Northwestern's John Shurna, Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor, Georgia's Howard Thompkins and Ole Miss' Terrico White.

Dixon won't have final say on the cuts, with a committee led by Syracuse's Jim Boeheim controlling the roster. But he said he would like to see shooters to bust zones in the competition and quality point guard play on this roster.

• Dixon was swamped with preparations for the trip to Colorado Springs after getting back from a vacation in Hawaii the previous day. That's yet another reason why it doesn't make sense for Dixon to go to USC. The attempt will be made, but the Trojans will likely get rebuffed. No one else associated with the job search, at least those that appear to be in the mix, have been contacted. Everyone is waiting for Dixon to say no before moving on to the next group. There should be some action later in the week on the matter.

• According to sources, the list beyond Dixon -- and it's hard to tell if this is complete at this stage -- could involve Lakers assistant Brian Shaw, former Kings coach Reggie Theus, Cal State-Northridge's Bobby Braswell, Oregon State's Craig Robinson and Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg. If the Trojans are looking for a cleanup man and a squeaky-clean hire then Tulsa's Doug Wojcik, a former Navy player, fits the criteria. Sources say he would listen if approached.

• Pitt was approached about playing Boston College in the Jimmy V Classic in December in New York but the Panthers decided against the matchup. Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said he wanted more of a national game. But there was another reason for his decision against the opponent. Pederson was concerned that there were stories written in Boston during the East Regional that it was Boston College -- a former Big East school now in the ACC -- hosting onetime Big East rivals. Pederson said he didn't want that to be the story again in December.

Since BC left for the ACC, the Eagles have played former Big East members Providence and St. John's. BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo said there are discussions about playing Villanova, and the Eagles are talking to Syracuse and Rutgers about playing again in football (they still continue to play Notre Dame, a basketball Big East member but an independent in football). DeFilippo said he doesn't see this as an issue. Pederson said the Panthers and Eagles will likely inevitably play. He said if there were no other opponents he wouldn't be against playing the Eagles. He also said he was thankful for the way the Eagles hosted the NCAA regional. The Big East said there is no policy against playing BC or any other defected school (Virginia Tech and Miami left the Big East before BC).

Pitt is expected to stay in the Jimmy V event. The rest of the field will be announced at a later date.

• Dell Curry, Stephen Curry's father, said his son didn't shut down his workout schedule. He said Curry will work out for the Wizards (fifth pick) on Tuesday after already working out for New York (eight) and Charlotte (12th). Curry said Monday that his son wants to play for the Knicks but is not blocking out any other franchises. He said there are plenty of other good options. Throughout the NBA, the consensus seems to be if the Knicks want Curry they'll have to trade up to get him, since he might not get to eight.

• Memphis is open to a deal and could have plenty of trade partners. But the Grizzlies will still bring in elite players for the No. 2 pick with Tyreke Evans, Hasheem Thabeet, DeMar DeRozan, Jordan Hill and James Harden all due in over the next week.

• A number of teams are looking to get a veteran player to help them right away, and as a result would be willing to part with a high draft pick. That is yet another reason why players who stayed in the draft might get burned by assuming they have a guarantee.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer


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