Missouri basketball senior Marcus Denmon is among 14 finalists for the 2011 USA Basketball World University Games after a weekend of tryouts in Colorado Springs, Colo. He'll remain with the team through Aug. 7, when the roster will be cut to 12 players before the team heads to China to begin the tournament.
“It’s been a great experience and it was humbling when I heard I was on the team,” Denmon said in a news release. “I am just proud I am able to represent my university, represent Kansas City and represent our country.”
Joining Denmon as finalists are players John Jenkins (Vanderbilt) and JaMychal Green (Alabama), both of whom are projected by some as first round picks in the 2012 NBA Draft. USA and Purdue coach Matt Painter said versatility is a key attribute with this group.
"I think it's a great group," Painter said. "We have a lot of balance. I think on the interior we have some shot-blockers, we have some athletes, guys that can really go and get the basketball and some real good shooters. We have some good, interchangeable parts, and a lot of talent, both returning talent and young. I'm really excited about the mix we have."
Denmon was the only Big 12 representative to make the cut, as teammate Kim English and Texas A&M junior Khris Middleton were left off the list of 14. Despite the snub, English said the tryouts helped his mindset for his senior year.
“It was a great experience, and it’s something we can all use to get us ready for the 2012 season,” English said. “I’m excited for Marcus. He is going to represent our university and our country over in China and bring us home the gold.”
As for Denmon, he said it was his approach to the tryouts that might be sending him to China in a week.
“My mindset was to come out here and outwork everyone,” Denmon said. “There are a lot of great players here and everyone was deserving to make this team and sometimes shots fall and sometimes they don’t, but if you just play hard and put in work, good things will happen.”