USA Hoops closing in final University Games roster

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USA Basketball nearly has its “great group” set for the World University Games.

Tough to say if it’s gold medal good, though.

Six players were cut from the roster Sunday, leaving just two more before the final roster is set before Aug. 8 when the team leaves for China. Those cut were: Kim English (Missouri); Yancy Gates (Cincinnati); C.J. McCollum (Lehigh); Khris Middleton (Texas A&M); Tony Mitchell (Alabama); and John Shurna (Northwestern).

Not to say the remaining 14 guys vying for those final spots are lacking. It’s a solid group, athletic and savvy, filled with plenty of scorers, rebounders and shooters. USA and Purdue coach Matt Painter isn’t isn’t blowing smoke with his praise.

“We have a lot of balance,” USA and Purdue coach Matt Painter said in a release. “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.”

The 14 finalists? Tim Abromaitis (Notre Dame); Marcus Denmon (Missouri); Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh); Draymond Green (Michigan State); JaMychal Green (Alabama); Scoop Jardine (Syracuse); John Jenkins (Vanderbilt); Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara); Greg Mangano (Yale); Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota); Ray McCallum (Detroit Mercy); Darius Miller (Kentucky); Aaric Murray (West Virginia); and Shabazz Napier (Connecticut).

Among that group, I’d consider Gibbs, Jenkins (above), the Greens and Mbakwe to be the only locks. That gives you the two best shooters, rebounders and the best all-around player (Draymond Green). From there, you’ll need a couple of point guards, which means at least two of the Napier-McCallum-Denmon group will make the cut. (Maybe all three given Denmon can play off-guard, but he’d be a tad small.)

After that, take your pick. The coaches (Butler’s Brad Stevens and Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin are assistants) will be looking for the right mix of chemistry and skill to go for gold. Good luck.

If the 2009 team that featured Evan Turner, Quincy Pondexter, James Anderson, Corey Fisher, Robbie Hummel and Da’Sean Butler (among others) took the bronze, the 2011 team really needs to find that right mix.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.