Florida head coach Billy Donovan made the final cuts to the U19 Team USA team on Monday night, getting the roster down to 12 players.
The best known player on the team? Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, who will likely enter the 2013-2014 season as a preseason first-team All-American. Duke sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon, incoming Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon and high school seniors Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow are the most recognizable names.
The entire roster can be found here:
You’ll know most of those names, or at the very least they should be somewhat recognizable to you.
With the exception, that is, of Elfrid Payton.
Payton is a rising junior at Louisiana-Lafayette and coming off of a season where he averaged 15.9 points, 5.6 assists, 5.5 boards and 2.4 steals, the only player in the country to go for 15/5/5/2 last season. A late-developing guard that is young for his grade — he turned 18 during February of his freshman year in college — Payton signed with ULL because it was the only program that had offered him a scholarship.
“I have a certain confidence about myself that I can play with anybody and against anybody,” he told Brian Smith of Nola.com. “My goal was to compete against these guys and hold my own. Backing down wasn’t an option.”
Now 6-foot-3, Payton is a lanky, athletic guard that thrives on the defensive end and gets his points offensively by attacking the basket. When you look at the coaching staff that Billy Donovan has put together — two defensive-minded coaches in Virginia’s Tony Bennett and VCU’s Shaka Smart — his inclusion starts to make sense. He can score and defend three different positions on the perimeter; it doesn’t matter where he plays his college ball.
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