MADISON - Jon Leuer spent some time during the summer of 2010 working out with the USA National squad and it did wonders for his game. Having the opportunity to play against the likes of Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose did nothing but mold him into the player he was during his senior year in Madison, one he finished as a first-team All-Big Ten performer.
Now, about to begin his senior season in Madison, it looks as though guard Jordan Taylor is going to get a chance to have a similar off-season. The All-Big Ten point guard accepted an invitation to attend the 2011 USA Basketball Men's World University Games Team training camp.
Should he be one of 12 players to make the team, he would represent his country at the World University Games sill be played Aug. 13-23 in Shenzhen, China. Purdue head coach Matt Painter will coach the team during the competition.
"I'm excited and honored to be invited to the USA basketball tryouts," Taylor said via a UW press release. "As players, we all dream about representing our country and wearing the USA jersey. It should be a great opportunity to play with some of the best players in the country and hopefully I'll get a chance to play against international competition.
"I'm also looking forward to playing for coach Painter. He's proven that he's a great coach and it will be a lot of fun playing for him."
Taylor burst onto the national landscape a season ago with remarkable performances against Michigan State and then No. 1 ranked Ohio State in nationally televised games. He finished his junior year averaging 18.1 points and 4.7 assists per game. His 3.83 assist-to-turnover ratio also led the nation.
Finalists for the team will be announced July 31st by NCAA representative and head coach of Syracuse Jim Boeheim. Training camp will then continue from July 31-Aug. 7 when the USOTC will officially release the roster prior to departing for China on Aug. 8.
"After a lot of thought and consideration of potential players, the committee has put together a very strong roster for the USA Men's World University Games Team training camp," Boeheim said. "As always, the committee will be looking for not only the most talented players, but also players that will work well as a team."
Taylor is the third Badger offered a chance to either play or coach for his country. Head coach Bo Ryan led team USA to a bronze medal during the 2009 World University Game. Leuer, as mentioned above, served as a practice player for the U.S. team leading into the FIBA World Championships.
"This is a great opportunity to play against some outstanding players from around the country," Ryan said. "If Jordan is fortunate enough to make the team, he'll play against some really good international players and have a wonderful experience. Any time you get a chance to use basketball to learn about other cultures and experience different things, it's always good."
Tim Abromaitis (Notre Dame), Bradford Burgess (VCU), Marcus Denmon (Missouri), Kim English (Missouri), Yancy Gates (Cincinnati), Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh), Draymond Green (Michigan State), JaMychal Green (Alabama), Tu Holloway (Xavier), Scoop Jardine (Syracuse), John Jenkins (Vanderbilt), Orlando Johnson (UC-Santa Barbara), Greg Mangano (Yale), Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota), C.J. McCollum (Lehigh), Khris Middleton (Texas A&M), Darius Miller (Kentucky), Tony Mitchell (Alabama), Aaric Murray (West Virginia), Alex Oriakhi (Connecticut) and John Shurna are the other players that will participate in training camp.