Carlos Boozer Jr.'s dream of playing for the U.S. junior national team came to an end today when he was one of four players to miss the 12-player squad's final cut, announced during a Team USA training camp at Miami's LaSalle High School.
Boozer, a 1999 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate, could not be reached for comment today as he was en route from the training camp to his campus address at Duke University. His mother, Renee Boozer, said she hadn't yet been contacted by Carlos and hadn't heard that he'd been cut.
When the training camp opened earlier this week, Boozer was one of 16 finalists invited to Miami. He'd already survived the cut at a previous training camp, held May 27-29 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., when the roster was trimmed from the original 30 invited players (only 26 showed up for the camp).
The 12 players to make the final cut will continue practicing at LaSalle High School through Sunday, then the team will depart for a tournament in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, the 2000 COPABA (Confederation of Pan American Basketball Associations) World Championship for Young Men Qualifying Tournament on July 19-23. The top three teams in that eight-team tourney will advance to the 2001 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Championship for Young Men tournament in Japan.
``We've got 12 really good players,'' said Team USA head coach Jim Boeheim, who is also the head coach at Syracuse University. ``I think that 10 or 11 of these guys can play in the NBA, so we certainly have enough talent. We don't have that big post guy, but we have all the other ingredients. We've got leadership and experience, and we've got guys who can shoot the ball really well. This is a very strong USA basketball team and I'm looking forward to taking them to Brazil.''
While Boozer, a 6-foot-9, 260-pound center-power forward, didn't survive the final cut for Team USA, two of his Duke University teammates -- 6-2 point guard Jason Williams and 6-7 swingman Mike Dunleavy Jr. -- did qualify for the trip to Brazil.
The other players to make the final roster were Steve Blake of Maryland, Nick Collison of Kansas, Brian Cook of Illinois, Drew Gooden of Kansas, Joe Johnson of Arkansas, Tayshaun Prince of Kentucky, high school player Zach Robinson (who will attend Michigan State), Jason Richardson of Michigan State, Kenny Satterfield of Cincinnati and Bobby Simmons of DePaul.
Besides Boozer, the other finalists to miss the cut were Steve Logan of Cincinnati, junior college player Johnnie Selvie (who will attend Connecticut) and high school player Marcus Taylor (Michigan State).
Of the 12 players to make the final cut, nine have represented Team USA in other competitions before. This was Boozer's first big tryout for a national team.