After posting a 2-1 record during the exhibition slate, Team USA has racked up four straight wins to start the World University Games tournament setting up a quarterfinals match up with Bulgaria tonight at 8pm.
Evan Turner's participation has been that of a role player asked to hit the glass, distribute the rock and lock up on defense as evidenced by his grand total of 13 field goal attempts in four games in which he's averaging just 15.5 minutes.
The Villian has started two of the last four contests as Bo Ryan rotates lineups but ET did most of his damage off the pine. In two starts, including Tuesday's 68-66 win over Serbia, Turner has accumulated 4 points, 6 boards and 3 assists but in two reserve stints he produced a combined 9 points, 13 caroms and 10 assists.
While it was expected the full roster would receive double digit minutes per contest making it unlikely ET would log 40 a night, I do find it odd he was clearly the standout player during tryouts but that hasn't translated to being one of the key cogs in the USA machine. Instead, Talor Battle, Deon Thompson and De'Sean Butler, among others, have shouldered much of the scoring load. To his credit, the Villian ranks 3rd in rebounding (6.0) and leads the team in assists.
Stay tuned to see if Turner becomes more of a factor over the medal-play weekend.
The latest stop on Jared Sullinger's worldwide summer tour finds him in Akron at the LeBron James U.S. Skills Academy. Sullinger immediately caught the eye of Scouts Inc's Reggie Rankin showcasing an ability to use his frame to gain position at both ends of the floor allowing him to dominate the backboards. Rankin also left impressed with Sullinger's already developed go-to post moves (never saw that from "Byron") and his vision finding cutters and open shooters on kick-outs.
Hoping to maximize his versatility while maintaining strength needed to bang on the blocks of the Big Ten, Sullinger has lost 25 pounds this summer bringing him to 255 and he plans to be at 240 by the time he suits up in Columbus. Increasing his mobility and speed should pay dividends in what should be a wide open Matta offense in 2010.
Not content with the elite crop of teammates set to arrive on campus in 2010, Sullinger continues to extol the virtues of Ohio State via whispers in the ear of the still undecided 6'11'' Adreian Payne out of Dayton:
"I'm trying to drag him to Ohio State, too," Sullinger said.
Reports say Payne hasn't been overly impressive in camps when going head to head against other elite bigs but Matta would still love to have him on board.
Of course, Sullinger won't be the only one actively recruiting Payne since there are two 10-day recruiting windows in July allowing coaches to attend AAU tournaments and camps. The two periods run from July 6th to the 15th and again from the 22nd through the 31st. Bob Baptist reports Matta plans to offer just one more scholly for the 2010 class now that the conference has changed policy from taking commitments from more players than they have room for in a given year. It would appear Payne has first dibs but if he continues to fret over coming to a bustling metropolis like C-Bus then Sullinger teammate J.D. Weatherspoon could join the class.
Staying on the camp circuit, fellow '10 verbal commit DeShaun Thomas was recently recognized as the best scorer at the Vince Carter Skills Academy according to the slimy yet hoops-wise Paul Biancardi.
Biancardi praised Thomas for ability to stroke the three and finish in the lane while also noting the lefty plays balls out at both ends of the floor. Man, I can't wait to watch the 2010 squad run and gun.
There's finally word that Zisis Sarikopoulos' injury causing him to be held out of all but the first two games of the FIBA U-19 world championships is a left knee sprain. Baptist reports Zisis hopes to still play later this month in the U-20 Euro championships so we aren't talking about anything too serious.
While Matta certainly isn't counting on a huge contribution from Z this year, it would be nice to have him healthy before the Buckeyes take advantage of 10 bonus practices allowed by the NCAA before they head to Ontario for a few exhibition games in late August.