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JaVale McGee cut from Team USA [UPDATED]

There won't be any JaValevator sightings in Turkey -- or New York, for that matter -- this summer. Wizards center JaVale McGee was cut from Team USA on Wednesday, unable to extend his promising offseason, which saw him dominate the Las Vegas Summer league and earn a surprise invitation to try out for the squad.


JaValevator out. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

McGee was a last minute addition and had some encouraging moments, but USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Coach Mike Krzyzewski elected to keep only two traditional centers for the team in Dallas' Tyson Chandler and New Jersey's Brook Lopez. Colangelo trimmed the roster down to 15 players before the next training session begins in New York on Aug. 9. The United States will have to cut the team down to 12 players when it competes at the FIBA World Championships in Turkey from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12.

"The entire staff has been very supportive and very encouraging to him because he's very raw, he's very young. He's still a babe in terms of the game is concerned, and he has a real future," Colangelo said about McGee in a teleconference with reporters on Wednesday. "So that's really how we left it with him, to keep working on your game and you may get a call sooner rather than later, we don't know. We're playing it by ear, but he put in a good effort for us last week."

After a sluggish start, Chandler finished camp as the best big man, scoring 13 points on 6 for 6 shooting to help the white team defeat the blue team 114-96 in the USA Basketball Showcase at Thomas & Mack Center last Saturday. Krzyzewski said Chandler's previous experience with Team USA -- Chandler was a member of the gold medal-winning team in the FIBA Americas tournament in 2007 -- pushed him over the top.

"Yeah, definitely, there's no question about it. He's been out with injuries and that and started the camp rusty. But the last two days, and especially in the inter-squad scrimmage ... I thought he played really well," Krzyzewski said. "He has a very important role on the team right now because he is a shot blocker. He doesn't need the ball much and is a great teammate. He can ball screen well, and he does the things -- he does all the things necessary to complement the outstanding perimeter players that we have. So he has a chance to be a very important player for us."

McGee scored seven points with three rebounds and had a blocked shot in just over nine minutes for the blue team, with starting center Lopez only contributing two points and no rebounds in 13 minutes. Lopez was given a pass because he was recovering from a bout of mononucleosis.

"At this point we don't know how many bigs we'll end up with. Is it one, is it two? We don't know. We'll just have to wait and see," Colangelo said. "But we do want to see how Brook Lopez looks after two weeks of getting himself in shape. He knows he struggled. He's disappointed in his performance, but he wants this opportunity. And when someone has that kind of an attitude, you're going to give him a little bit of rope."

McGee joins Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans, Memphis guard O.J. Mayo and Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace on the list of roster reductions. The group that will train in New York includes Chandler, Lopez, Oklahoma City forward and District native Kevin Durant, former Georgetown star and Maryland native Jeff Green, Denver point guard Chauncey Billups, Golden State guard Stephen Curry, Memphis forward Rudy Gay, the Los Angeles Clippers' Eric Gordon, Indiana's Danny Granger, Philadelphia forward Andre Iguodala, Minnesota forward Kevin Love, Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom, Boston point guard Rajon Rondo, Chicago point guard Derrick Rose and Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook.

Ernie Grunfeld said this week that he was pleased with McGee's performance in Las Vegas, for both the Wizards and Team USA. "He's done some nice things," Grunfeld said. "He's shown his athleticism. He's shown his ability to block shots, run the floor and rebound the basketball. I think we have to feel good about the progress that he's making."

By Michael Lee  |  July 28, 2010; 3:27 PM ET
Categories:  JaVale McGee  
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Next: Josh Howard returning to the Wizards

Comments

Too bad for JMac but it's been a productive Summer for him nontheless.

I swear there are times he reminds me of #50:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6eaDzuRlLE&feature=related

Posted by: elfreako | July 28, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Didn't the same thing happen last summer and how did that turn out?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | July 28, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked. SHOCKED, I say!

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 28, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: djnnnou | July 28, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

It turned out pretty well actually bulletsfan78. McGee got burn after the trades and the medical staff figured out he had asthma.

Now his conditioning and confidence should be much better wouldn't you think?

Posted by: elfreako | July 28, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

wow, you all are happy?

Posted by: millineumman | July 28, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Ralph used to hang out alot here in Richmond during and after his playing days (and before his "not paying child support days."

I have only met JaVale once, but Ralph makes JaVale look "Husky"

Ralph at a lounge in town chatting up some underage (over 18, under 21) girl that was about 5'2": Knees sticking up higher than the girl's head as she was sitting. He put his arm around her and his elbow was a good foot past her head.

The girls friend looks at me and says. "Good God, his D!(& will come out her mouth."

I don't know if Ralph got any, but he set me up nicely with the girls friend who was left to her own devices.

Posted by: Blurred | July 28, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm not millineumman. It's been decades since this team has had a young center that the whole league is talking about...

Think how far he's come this calendar year alone.

Posted by: elfreako | July 28, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Funny story Blurred.

Ralph was so fluid for a guy 7' 4". He had George Gervin type moves it seemed. There are times JaVale displays that same skill set.

Posted by: elfreako | July 28, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

JaVale didn't have enough gravitas on his own team to warrant selection for an All-Star NBA team (even diminished by All-Star desertions and injuries). Still, I wish he'd had a chance to go on to training camp, to keep honing his skills.

The kid has skills and amazing athleticism. He just needs experience. But now he can rest up and get ready to come to camp pumped to play for the Wizards.

Interesting team we're going to have in the Worlds, though, with Lamar Odom and Kevin Love backing up Tyson Chandler and Brook Lopez. We'll be trying to run the other countries ragged.

Posted by: zinger1 | July 28, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully JaVale can take this as a slight and try to prove he should have been there.

Posted by: Blurred | July 28, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

yeah...I'm really shocked!

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | July 28, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Prediction:

Brook lopez is defeated By McGee during their first game against each other

Posted by: BurgwithaU | July 28, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

What was your message to JaVale McGee just in terms of how far he's come and sort of how quickly he burst into the scene this week, last couple weeks?

COLANGELO: Well, we've both -- in fact, the entire staff has been very supportive and very encouraging to him because he's very raw, he's very young. He's still a babe in terms of the game is concerned, and he has a real future. So that's really how we left it with him, to keep working on your game and you may get a call sooner rather than later, we don't know. We're playing it by ear, but he put in a good effort for us last week.

Teleconference Transcript

Posted by: djnnnou | July 28, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Mcgee has to improve his one-on-one play on all ends of the court. Right now, he's a freelancer who uses his athleticism to wow the crowd. He has to develop his fundamentals. I like his shooting form for a big man, for the most part, so I could see him POSSIBLY developing a mid-range game. If he can do that, it will help him be less one dimensional on offense.

Posted by: swishjobs | July 28, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"McGee scored seven points with three rebounds and had a blocked shot in just over nine minutes for the blue team." Anyone who does not think McGee is now and will be a force for many years to come is an idiot!

Posted by: bobilly1 | July 28, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"Hopefully JaVale can take this as a slight and try to prove he should have been there."

Until they get someone to work with him he is what he is at this point in his career.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | July 28, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

From http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/18634/observations-on-team-usa-cuts

" I tweeted this moments before checking out of my hotel room in Las Vegas last Sunday, and I'll say it again now that they've done it: Cutting JaVale McGee from Team USA was a mistake.

He brought a unique skill set to a team hurting for size, he was an insurance policy in case Tyson Chandler (who missed 68 games the past two seasons due to injuries) gets hurt or gets into foul trouble, and he was the perfect 12th man candidate in that he might only be needed for 5-6 important minutes during the entire World Championship, but those could be the very 5-6 minutes that makes or breaks this team's fortunes.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo did seem to indicate that McGee would be on-call for the rest of the summer.

"He's very raw, he's very young, he's a real babe in terms of game experience and he has a real future. So that's really how we left it with him: Keep working on your game and you may get a call sooner rather than later. You don't know. We're playing that by ear," Colangelo said. "

Posted by: wizzfanzz11 | July 28, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"Until they get someone to work with him he is what he is at this point in his career."

Not if he takes some initiative. Kobe didn't wait for someone from the Lakers to suggest he workout with Hakeem to pick up some post tips. Deron Williams didn't wait for Jerry Sloan to take him by the hand (after his rookie year) and spend the summer working out with Stockton.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 28, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Good in one regard- getting cut saves his knees. Every ballplayer that competes over the summer for USA Basketball loses 2 years off his career with injuries.

Posted by: ArmchairGM | July 28, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I can just see JaVale telling his Mother and Grandmother that he didn't make the team.

JaVale: "I didn't make the team because Jerry Colangelo and Coach K said that I didn't have enough equity."

JaVale's Grandma (sounding like Hattie McDaniel in Gone with the Wind): "Equity? Whatcha talkin' about equity? WTF is equity?"

Posted by: randysbailin | July 28, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Probably not very patriotic of me, but I'm never sorry to see my club's young star not make a national team. I think the limited benefit they get from playing is offset by the toll it takes on them physically. Rather see them work out with the guys they'll actually start the regular season with.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 28, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Good. He'll have the legs he needs to step up to the next level this season.

Posted by: SammyT1 | July 28, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

"Prediction:

Brook lopez is defeated By McGee during their first game against each other

Posted by: BurgwithaU | July 28, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse "

Are they going to play one on one. I thought it was a team game.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | July 28, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

The next three will be brook lopez, Gorden and Love.It is a mistake to cut G. Wallace, he should have been kept as an energy man for the team.

Posted by: gtefferra | July 29, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Getting cut is probably good for McGee and the Wizards. Save his energy and his legs. Plus he really needs to spend his time working with the guys that he is going to play with.

Posted by: oakiedokie | July 29, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Bobilly1, you can call me an idiot.

The only, and say only, reason McGee was at that camp is b/c he was already in Vegas and he's 7 feet. Basta. That's it. I think McGee has a better chance making an international competition in the high jump, long jump, or triple jump than he has in making a USA National Basketball Team.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | July 29, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Zardsfan1 - okay, we will wait and see. You seem to be in the minority with your oversimple assesment of McGee's ability.

Posted by: bobilly1 | July 29, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I hope McGee learned all he can being in the presence of a Hall of Fame coach and top 30 young talent players. McGee learned from better defensive type centers like Chandler and Lopez. This was a good experience

Posted by: jefferu | July 29, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Jeff Green???? Was that to keep Durant happy?

Posted by: fearturtle44 | July 29, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The problem is not that he was cut. The problem for USA basketball is that he was even in camp. Seriously, we can't beat Cuba with him playing, let alone anyone decent. He plays for the BULLETS! He should never be on the national team.

Posted by: Mstreicker | July 29, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Didn't the same thing happen last summer and how did that turn out?

Posted by: bulletsfan78

Well, you were a loser fan last summer too. Has anything improved on your end?

Posted by: ged0386 | July 29, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"Are they going to play one on one. I thought it was a team game."

Someone should tell McGee that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 29, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The problem is not that he was cut. The problem for USA basketball is that he was even in camp. Seriously, we can't beat Cuba with him playing, let alone anyone decent. He plays for the BULLETS! He should never be on the national team.


The web blog, a haters paradise.

Posted by: ged0386 | July 29, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"COLANGELO: Well, the entire staff has been very supportive and very encouraging to him because he's VERY RAW, he's very young. HE'S STILL A BABE in terms of the game is concerned, and he has a real future. So that's really how we left it with him, to KEEP WORKING ON YOUR GAME...

TRANSLATION: will somebody please TEACH THIS KID HOW TO PLAY BASKETBALL!!!

Posted by: dcjazzman | July 29, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse


Hopefully McGee can take this as a learning experience or motivation when coming into training camp and regular season. Because the competition the Wizards will have is tough. Heat, Magic and Hawks all 4 times will be a REAL test for the Wizards.

Posted by: rcnasa | August 2, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

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