World University Games tryouts Tuesday midday notebook
Creighton’s Doug McDermott struggled at the World University Games practice session Tuesday (Eric Francis/Getty Images).
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With the 26 prospective players split into three teams for a morning of 10-minute scrimmages, there was a lot of sloppy basketball and not a ton of consistency here at the U.S. Olympic Center, but a few guys were able to turn some heads.
Just a quick glimpse up and down the roster during the session gives the impression that as many as eight or nine of the spots on the 12-man roster being finalized Wednesday may be spoken for, but there’s time and room for others to force their way into the mix, either for one of the final spots or to change the so-called conventional wisdom as the team’s shape comes together.
The one major concern from the morning session is that this roster looks like it will be short on perimeter shooting. That’s a primary reason why Louisville’s Luke Hancock looks almost certain to make the final cut. He proved beyond any doubt this past season that he can take and make big shots, and in bunches.
Hancock understandably didn’t want to talk about his father, who passed away yesterday after a lengthy battle with cancer. Media was told in advance that interviews would be terminated if the topic was broached even indirectly. He did have a couple of light moments in a post-practice chat, though. When asked how long the Cardinals’ post-title buzz lasted, he joked “I think some guys may still be caught up in it.” He also said he was “honestly still confused” about who Louisville will be playing in the new American Athletic Conference next season. That makes all of us, Luke.
Indiana rising sophomore Yogi Ferrell and Stanford junior-to-be Chasson Randle impressed the most out of the backcourt options. Ferrell showed off his quickness, passing ability and even the occasional three-point shot. He looked very nice when paired with Colorado rising junior Spencer Dinwiddie, a smooth operator at 6-foot-6 who can play off the ball. Randle can get his shot, which will be a nice quality with the shorter shot clock in international play.
Iowa’s Aaron White was really energetic and made an impact around the rim. On a team that’s looking for additional size after presumed inclusions like Alex Kirk and Adrian Payne, an energy guy like White may be a nice piece to add as a change-of-pace off the bench.
From reports, Creighton’s Doug McDermott didn’t show particularly well last night at the opening practice, and he wasn’t all that good this morning, either. McDermott, who also can shoot very well from the perimeter and looks like a clear choice for the final roster, seemed to struggle with the physical, athletic play during the runs. Small sample size, etc., but if the trend continues, it’s worth filing away as Creighton moves into the Big East next season.
Duke incoming transfer Rodney Hood is a really impressive athlete. He had the dunk of the session when he went baseline and threw down (sort of) on Payne. Duke will be a fun watch next season with a some slashing wing types on the roster.
Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick is really imposing at 6-4 and listed at 221 pounds. He could find himself in the final 12, as well, as some of the other likely guard choices are smaller.
There’s a second session this afternoon, and then the final roster will be selected after Wednesday morning’s practice.