June 16, 2013
By Matt Winkeljohn
As Georgia Tech’s Robert Carter, Jr. took time to speak by phone Sunday evening as he waited to catch a flight from Colorado to Atlanta, there was good news, bad news and weird news from the USA Basketball training camp.
Carter Jr.’s Tech teammate, Marcus Georges-Hunt survived Sunday’s cut from 26 to 16 players, as Florida coach Billy Donovan and his staff continued shaping a team of Under-19 players who will compete in a couple weeks in the FIBA world championships.
That’s why Carter was at the airport while Georges-Hunt and 15 other candidates were at an evening workout at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
The roster will be pared Monday to a final 12. Carter by then will be visiting a doctor.
He began to feel ill Saturday, as the players went through their second and third workout sessions.
“I kind of got sick. I wasn’t feeling well, and I was fatigued and dehydrated,” Carter said. “I was playing pretty well, but . . . I have this thing under my arm, and it got infected. I got it in Atlanta before we left, and I didn’t think anything of it. It started to take something out of me.”
Carter said that medical officials in Colorado Springs put him on antibiotics. He’ll learn more about his situation upon returning to Atlanta.
He’s excited for Georges-Hunt, the 6-foot-6 rising sophomore forward whose versatile skill set is serving him well. He’s been playing shooting guard and small forward.
“I told him to keep working and make the team,” Carter said. “Keep competing. He’s playing well, making assists, hitting shots, doing the little things.”
Donovan issued a statement after the roster was trimmed by 10.
“We had 26 really, really good players and all of the guys made the selection very, very difficult,” he said. “I think the things that stand out about this team are just the athleticism; the speed and quickness; the ability to defend and put pressure on people; and offensive rebound.
“We’ll learn a lot more in the next three practices; we’ll see how well guys pick up certain things; how the chemistry is; the way they bond, the way they connect . . . We have a lot of versatile players; guys that can move to different positions; I think we have a lot of size and strength on this team; I think we have guards that can defend and have good quickness and speed,”
Carter, who was invited to Colorado Springs for the second straight season, said he took something away from this year’s training camp even if it came to a bit of an odd ending.
“I think it was a good experience,” he said. “I was playing well, and I think I would have made the team if I hadn’t gotten sick. I’m not too worried about not making the team because I think I was playing well before that.”
If Georges-Hunt makes the team, he’ll be busy for the next few weeks.
The squad will work some in Washington, at the practice facility typically used by the NBA’s Wizards, before the Worlds are played from June 24-July 6 in Prague, Czech Republic.
“We worked hard to get here,” Carter said, “and Marcus is playing like a guy who wants to make the team.”
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