YahooSports’ Marc Spears reported this last night on his twitter, and now USA Basketball and the Washington Wizards have both sent out notices that JaVale McGee has been added to the list of participants for this week’s USA Basketball mini-camp in Las Vegas.
McGee got the invite after Portland’s Jerryd Bayless withdrew from the camp after suffering a wrist injury during summer league play.
The camp, which will feature practice sessions on July 23 and 24 before capping with an intrasquad showcase scrimmage at 8 p.m. on July 25, is designed to help USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo identify the next wave of talent and the pieces needed to surround the core group of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Deron Williams.
I got in touch with McGee just a bit ago, and he said of the invite: “I was totally surprised. My agent called me yesterday and said he had some news, that I had gotten the invite.”
McGee will join D.J. Augustin, Ronnie Brewer, kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, jeff Green, Blake Griffin, Devin Harris, Andre Iguodala, Kyle Korver, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, Paul Millsap, Greg Oden, Anthony Randolph, Derrick Rose, Josh Smith, Russell Westbrook and Thaddeus Young.
“It’s a big honor and I’m proud to participate and compete against the best up and coming players in the league,” McGee said.
Whether or not he makes the squad, which will compete in the 2010 World Championship, McGee believes he can benefit from being a part of the USA Basketball program.
“It will help my game drastically, just to work with this type of talent and these guys,” said McGee, who had already arrived in Las Vegas. “It gives me more incentive to work on my game and continue to get better.”
McGee is coming off of a strong summer league campaign, which saw him average 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and a league-leading 4.0 blocks per game. He ended the week on a high note, recording 31 points, and eight rebounds in the Wizards’ 89-84 victory over the New York Knicks on July 19.
Of McGee’s honor, Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said in a press release: “This is an honor for a young player like JaVale to be selected by USA Basketball. He has shown a steady improvement, and participating in this mini-camp will be a great way for him to continue that growth.”