Team USA's U-19 roster close to complete

June, 17, 2013

The goal of the Team USA U-19 team is to win FIBA gold in Prague, not to produce an all-star team.

So the roster cuts from 26 to 16 were done with one main thing in mind: Shooting -- something the Americans didn't excel in last year.

Coached by Florida's Billy Donovan, VCU's Shaka Smart and Virginia's Tony Bennett, the squad will practice for three days in Washington D.C. before departing for the Czech Republic next week.

Here are the players who made the first cut: Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono, Florida's Michael Frazier, Oregon's Damyean Dotson, Pitt's James Robinson, Duke's Rasheed Sulaimon and the sleepers in the bunch, incoming Washington freshman Nigel Williams-Goss and Louisiana-Lafayette's Elfrid Payton.

Providence's Kris Dunn, Texas' Javan Felix and UConn's Rodney Purvis (who will sit out this year after transferring from NC State) did not.

"There were so many guards, but we were looking for shooting," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who heads the junior national team committee.

Purvis was on the team last year when the U-18 squad won gold in Brazil. Felix said earlier in the month how much he wanted/needed to be on the team to help a struggling Longhorns' program. Dunn must be a difference-maker for the Friars next season in the new Big East.

Providence coach Ed Cooley, who was a court coach in Colorado Springs over the weekend, had a realistic appraisal of Dunn's work in trying to make the team.

"When you've got a guy like Marcus Smart, he was the best player there, a very good player at the point, and Kris played well but they didn't need him,'' said Cooley. "They needed more shooting and that's not his strength. All his strengths are Marcus Smart's and he is way better [than Dunn]. Kris played really well. I was proud of his effort and how far he's come, but he's got a way to go to get to that level.''

Cooley said Dunn got a chance to see what he needs to do to get to a higher level, noticeably work on his mid-range game. But to finish in the upper half of the new Big East, Dunn will have to produce a breakout year. If he does, along with Bryce Cotton, then Cooley said they could have one of the best backcourts in the league.

Boeheim said the decision-makers were very impressed with Payton, a relative unknown out of Louisiana-Lafayette, as well as Williams-Goss.

As for the rest of the roster, Memphis' Shaq Goodwin didn't make the cut either. He was on the team a year ago. Memphis coach Josh Pastner said the Tigers will be relying heavily on Goodwin in the post.

The forwards who did make the cut were: Marcus Georges-Hunt (Georgia Tech), Aaron Gordon (Arizona-bound), Jerami Grant (Syracuse), Montrezl Harrell (Louisville), Jahlil Okafor (Class of 2014), Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee), Mike Tobey (Virginia) and Justise Winslow (class of 2014).

Grant, Harrell and Stokes were on the team last summer. Harrell could end up being the most NBA-ready player from the national champ Cardinals. Stokes should be an All-SEC first-team player. Grant will be one of the top anchors on Syracuse next season with C.J. Fair, Gordon has tremendous athleticism on the break, Okafor could be the top pick in 2015 and Tobey has been a surprise so far.

Now for the hard part -- cutting four more.

"It will be a tough cut, very tough cut, very tough,'' Boeheim said.

"This is a really good team. The best team over there will be Serbia. It will be a great challenge. But this team has quickness and defense.''

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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