Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke may have struggled at the recently completed NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. For Burke, his basketball doesn't end yet; he'll now get a chance to impress US national team staff going into an Olympic cycle.
With the Rio summer games less than two years away, Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff named Burke to the USA select team on Monday, July 21--the same team on which Jazzman Gordon Hayward played before being named to the national team pool this summer.
If it seems like a big deal in one sense for Burke to be named to this developmental team, it is--if you look at the trajectory that Hayward's US national team hopes have taken over the past two years.
For Burke, who had his issues in Las Vegas averaging nine points, four rebounds and four assists per game it's a big step forward to be invited to US national team camp, period.
There is another, perhaps more important reason this camp invite is big for Burke. He will not have the ominous shadow of his closest rookie competitor, Philadephia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams, looming over him. Carter-Williams is sitting this camp out with an injury, according to NBCSportstalk.com.
Whether or not Carter-Williams' injury opened the door for Burke to be included to the US select team roster is not clear. However, it is clear that Carter-Williams would have had a leg up on Burke based on the Rookie of the Year honors that Carter-Williams collected last season. (Burke received All-Rookie team honors.)
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that Carter-Williams would have been the first point guard that Krzyzewski and his staff looked at going forward. Even so, it's all about what you do today--and not what you did yesterday when it comes to playing for USA Basketball.
To that end, Burke will even square off against Hayward and the rest of the US national team hopefuls during this camp. Burke was named to the team along with Chicago Bulls rookie Doug McDermott--who wowed everyone with a huge summer league outing--as well as Burke's Michigan college teammate, Tim Hardaway Jr and 10 other hopefuls.
“USA Basketball’s Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team managing director in a press release issued to media on Monday. “Again this summer, as was done in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the members of the USA Select Team will play an important role in helping prepare the USA National Team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup."