Young, Wilbekin look to make USA Under-19 roster
Published: Monday, June 13, 2011 at 10:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 13, 2011 at 10:19 p.m.
Florida center Patric Young remembered the intensity of tryouts for the USA Basketball men's Under-18 roster a year ago.
"Guys definitely want to make this team," Young said. "It's cutthroat. Guys are coming out there, bringing their A-game."
Young was fortunate enough to make the Team USA Under-18 roster last summer. This season, Young and teammate Scottie Wilbekin will represent Florida again at the USA Under-19 training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Both players will leave later this week for the camp, which takes place Friday-June 24. If selected, Young and Wilbekin will represent Team USA at the FIBA Under-19 World Championships in Latavia.
"There is some national pride," Young said. "You go out there and everyone cheers for us because we are the United States."
The competition projects to be intense. There are 21 players battling for 12 spots, including Connecticut standout guard Jeremy Lamb and Butler forward Khyle Marshall.
"Some guys have got great defense, great offense," Young said. "But it comes down to how great of a team player you are and what you can bring to the team."
Young may have a slight edge in making the team because of his contributions to the USA Under-18 team last summer. The 6-foot-9 Young was a key member of the team that won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championships.
"It plays a pretty significant role," Young said. "But I'm still going to go in there, I'm still going to work hard, and earn my spot and not come in with the mindset like I've already made the team."
Wilbekin earned a spot in Team USA training camp last week. He replaced incoming Florida freshman guard Brad Beal, who withdrew from tryouts.
"I was excited," Wilbekin said. "I mean, any chance to represent your country for anything, that's exciting."
The 6-foot-2 Wilbekin was a steady backup point guard for the Gators last season who played with poise that belied his age. Wilbekin, who played his entire freshman season as a 17-year-old, led the Gators in assist-to-turnover ratio at 61 to 28. He also emerged as a defensive specialist, helping shut down talented scorers in the Southeastern Conference like Tennessee swingman Scottie Hopson and Vanderbilt shooting guard John Jenkins.
"It's been a while since I tried out for a team so it's going to be maybe a little bit of a different experience than what I'm used to," Wilbekin said. "But I'm just going to go out there and work hard and try to make the team."
Wilbekin and Young will have a familiar face watching over them in Colorado Springs. Florida coach Billy Donovan was selected last week as a floor coach and will attend training camp. The USA Under-19 team will be coached by George Mason's Paul Hewitt. Jacksonville coach Cliff Warren will serve as Hewitt's assistant.
"It's going to be a little bit of pressure on me to perform a little bit better," Young said. "It's encouraging that coach Donovan is invited to come out there. It's important to be a floor coach."
Young said his offseason workouts have consisted of "lifting until he can't lift his arms anymore" then going into the gym to work on a variety of hook shots and post moves. Young said he's up to 255 pounds, gaining 10 pounds of muscle since the end of the season. He's been motivated by Florida's Elite Eight loss to Butler, which he admitted stung well into April.
"I want to be that guy who can push my teammates and help us get to that point to make it to a national championship this year," Young said.
Wilbekin, who just returned from a basketball/mission trip overseas with Athletes in Action, said he's spent the summer working on his shooting and ball-handling. Wilbekin shot 34.8 percent from the floor and 28.3 percent from 3-point range last season.
"I can definitely improve my shooting percentage," Wilbekin said. "I just think if I can break the defense down, get into the lane and find my open teammates that's something I can add to my game."
Young will provide a broad shoulder that Wilbekin can lean on during the Team USA tryouts. Asked what advice he would give Wilbekin going into tryouts, Young said: "Go out there and have a good day in tryouts, each and every day come out with your A-game because there is only two or three days of tryouts then you go and you make the cuts and you go right to training. Just come out there and play the same basketball that you play here and I think you'll be just fine."
|Keith Appling||6-10||G||Michigan State||Melsahn Basabe||6-7||F||Iowa||James Bell||6-5||G||Villanova||Anthony Brown||6-6||G||Stanford||Jahii Carson*||5-11||G||Arizona State||Trevor Cooney*||6-4||G||Syracuse||Allen Crabbe||6-4||G||California||Tim Hardaway Jr.||6-5||G||Michigan||Joe Jackson||6-0||G||Memphis||Jeremy Lamb||6-5||G||Connecticut||Meyers Leonard||7-0||C||Illinois||Khyle Marshall||6-7||F||Butler||Javon McCrea||6-6||F||Buffalo||Doug McDemott||6-7||F||Creighton||Travis McKie||6-7||F||Wake Forest||Tony Mitchell||6-8||F||North Texas||Richard Solomon||6-10||F||California||Josiah Turner*||6-3||G||Arizona||Scottie Wilbekin||6-2||G||Florida||Cameron Wright||6-5||G||Pittsburgh||Patric Young||6-9||F||Florida|
* Incoming freshman
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.