Mbakwe to try out for World University Games

Samuel Gordon

Trevor MbakweâÄôs summer has been filled much in the way one would expect âÄî with basketball. ItâÄôs good news for Gophers basketball fans, who will rely heavily on the senior next season.

The forward attended Amare StoudemireâÄôs skills camp in June, LeBron JamesâÄô skills camp in July and Friday the senior will begin training camp with Team USA.

Mbakwe is one of 22 players that accepted an invitation from the USA Basketball MenâÄôs Junior National Team Committee to attend the 2011 USA Basketball World University Games Training Camp.

Camp will begin Friday and will run through Aug. 7 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The final roster will be announced Aug. 8, and the Games will run from August 12-23 in Shenzhen, China. Mbakwe said whether or not he makes the team, he is excited for the chance to play.

âÄúIâÄôm just thankful for the opportunity to [improve] and showcase myself. Win or lose, I think itâÄôs a good situation for me and IâÄôm looking forward to it,âÄù he said.

âÄúItâÄôd mean a lot to [play for Team USA]. Not many people get the opportunity to say that they represented the USA in some type of event.âÄù

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim also serves as the chairman of the USA Basketball MenâÄôs Junior National Team Committee and will ultimately decide who makes the team.

âÄúAfter a lot of thought and consideration of potential players, the committee has put together a very strong roster for the USA MenâÄôs World University Games Team training camp,âÄù Boeheim said in a statement.

âÄúAs always, the committee will be looking for not only the most talented players, but also players that will work well as a team.âÄù

Mbakwe wonâÄôt be the only Big Ten representative attending the camp. Michigan State forward Draymond Green and Northwestern forward John Shurna accepted invites as well. Wisconsin guard Jordan Taylor was invited, but opted for minor surgery on his right ankle rather than competing and risk delaying the start of his senior season.

Purdue head coach Matt Painter is the head coach for the 2011 Team USA.

âÄúHeâÄôs one of the best coaches in college basketball. HeâÄôs had great success,âÄù Shurna said. âÄúItâÄôll be great to work with him.âÄù

Mbakwe agreed with Shurna.

âÄúHeâÄôs one of those tough-minded coaches. You can tell by the way his team plays. Since heâÄôs been there theyâÄôve been top-20 consistently âĦ ItâÄôs a great opportunity to play for one of the great coaches in America.âÄù

PainterâÄôs assistants are Butler head coach Brad Stevens and new Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin.

Stevens has taken his mid-major Bulldogs to back-to-back national championship games.

Mbakwe said heâÄôs been emphasizing conditioning this off-season in preparation for camp and the 2011-12 college season.

âÄúI want to get my motor up, be able to consistently run up and down and wear my man out throughout the course of the game,âÄù he said.

The U.S. has won a medal at every World University Games since 1965, claiming a record 13 golds, along with three silvers and bronzes. The USAâÄôs overall record in World University competition is 131-8.

âÄúIt would be unbelievable [to play for Team USA],âÄù Shurna said. ItâÄôs an honor to play collegiate basketball and play for Northwestern, but to get the chance to play for your country, itâÄôs a wonderful opportunity.âÄù