LAS VEGAS -- The hopefuls who came to Las Vegas this week have one last chance to score a winning ticket -- for a trip to New York.
USA Basketball's training camp will close Saturday night with an intrasquad game at the Thomas & Mack Center. The roster could be trimmed by a few sometime after that before the Americans reconvene in New York next month to continue preparation for the World Championships to be held in Turkey Aug. 28-Sept. 12.
"We have time on our side in terms of selection," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Friday. "We're still talking about 14 or 15 going to New York. Names could change a little bit based on today and based on what we see tomorrow night, because we're giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. If there are any close calls we may even take an extra guy. We'll see."
The 19 players in camp will play in the game, except perhaps NBA Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, who was held out of practice for a second consecutive day Friday due to a sore ankle. Then Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski will decide who is going from the Strip to Broadway.
"A lot of things have changed over four days because each day things keep changing and players go up the ladder," Colangelo said. "Coach K said something a few days ago to the players and it's right on. [He told them] we don't make cuts, but the players themselves determine who is going to be on the team based on their performances. Again today, certain guys really did a good job."
Colangelo said Danny Granger's play was "terrific while playing injured" and he compared guards Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon and Rajon Rondo favorably to the 2008 gold medal-winning Olympic team's defensive corps.
The players from that team opted to take this summer off, though LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Deron Williams attended Friday's practice. Once some Olympians declined to play, Colangelo said he and the coaching staff decided that "we might as well go with a whole new group. That was fine with us. So that's what we did. It's all about who's here."
The Americans are still deep in the backcourt but not up front, so most of the remaining big men could survive the first cut.
"Especially with the big guys, you need to look at them closely as to how they fit in," Krzyzewski said. "We want to keep taking a look at our team."
The game is important for many players, not just the ones on the bubble.
"I think tomorrow night's game is important just because we're trying to build something," said Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay, one of the top players in last year's exhibition game. "I think if we don't come out with the intensity we should, we'll be taking one step back.
"Tomorrow, whether we think so or not, is still practice. In the overall picture, we're trying to win a gold and you don't win a gold playing against each other."
Colangelo said the staff plans to "deliberate after tomorrow night and within a day or two or three we'll let everyone know."
"It will be a strong effort because these guys really are hungry and want to play and want to make the team," Colangelo said. "We want to include tomorrow night's performances as part of our evaluation process."