Former Juneau-Douglas High School basketball player Carlos Boozer Jr. is in Dallas this weekend for a second round of tryouts for the USA World Championship for Young Men Team.
Boozer, who will be a junior center-power forward at Duke University this fall, survived the first round of cuts in early June, when 45 invited players were trimmed to 16 finalists. This weekend's round of tryouts brings 14 finalists together after two other finalists couldn't attend the training camp. The 12 players who make the final team will play in the 2001 FIBA World Championship for Young Men tournament Aug. 3-12 in Saitama, Japan.
This weekend's tryouts run from Sunday through Thursday, then the final 12-man team will head to Oakland, Calif., for more training on July 27-30. This weekend's training schedule includes practice games with the teams from Lithuania on Wednesday and Yugoslavia on Thursday. The team is for players born in 1980 or later.
Boozer reached the same round of qualifying for last year's USA World Championship for Young Men Qualifying Team, but was cut before the team went to Brazil to qualify for this year's championships. Boozer said he used that snub as motivation for the college season, where he helped lead Duke University to the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship.
Besides Boozer, two other players from Duke will be at this weekend's tryout camp, sophomore guard Chris Duhon and junior guard-forward Dahntay Jones, who sat out last season as a transfer student. The other 11 finalists are guard Troy Bell of Boston College, forward LaVell Blanchard of Michigan, forward Caron Butler of Connecticut, forward Nick Collison of Kansas, forward Brian Cook of Illinois, forward Reggie Evans of Iowa, forward Jason Kapono of UCLA, guard Jameer Nelson of St. Joseph's, forward Michael Sweeney of Georgetown, guard Marcus Taylor of Michigan State and guard Frank Williams of Illinois.
"We had a very good talent level here (at the trials), particularly perimeter guys, guys that can get to the basket and make shots, and that's important in international competition," Team USA coach Jim Boeheim of Syracuse said. "So I'm excited about this team. I think we really do have a team that can go over and represent our country. This championship is very tough every four years and we'll see the best in the world in this age bracket, and it will be a challenge for us. When USA Basketball goes to play in any championship, there's really only one medal you're looking at -- the gold medal."
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