USA Basketball named second-year Virginia standouts Adam Hall and Chris Williams to its Men's Junior World Championship team, competing for the FIBA Men's Junior Championship in Lisbon, Portugal from July 15-25. Williams, the 1999 ACC Rookie of the Year, has started the first two games at small forward.
Cav recruit Travis Watson of Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., made the first cut but opted to forgo the trip in favor of spending time with his mother before going to school.
The first cut for the squad was made at the end of May. The 16 finalists were selected from a pool of 55 at the end of three days of trials at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Arizona State Coach Rob Evans is the head coach of the team. Penn State's Jerry Dunn and Wake Forest's Dave Odom assist him.
Only one other ACC basketball member was among the 16 finalists. Maryland recruit Steve Blake, Watson's high school teammate at Oak Hill, missed the second cut. Georgia Tech's Tony Akins, incoming Cav freshman Majestic Mapp and North Carolina recruit Jason Parker did not make the first cut.
Hall is playing for USA Basketball for the second straight year. He played for the Junior World Championship Qualifying Team last summer that won the gold medal in the Dominican Republic.
"It's much better competition overall this year," Hall said before the final cuts were made. "There is a different coach and a different style of play."
Williams made the team for the first time in his career. Williams said the trials and USA Basketball provides tough competition and valuable experience.
"It's exciting to go out there and play with good talent," he said during the final round of cuts. "You know that you're playing against the best talent."
As a first year for the Cavaliers, Williams posted averages of 16.8 ppg and 7.5 rebounds-per-game. He led the team in field-goal percentage at 51.2 percent. The Birmingham, Ala., native started all but two of Virginia's games last season.
The experience the trio gained by trying out for USA Basketball should benefit the Virginia program whether they made the 12-man roster or not. By competing against the nation's most talented players, they will improve their skills regardless.
"Doing well against the best talent gives you the confidence that you can play against talented people," Williams said.
He led the American squad to a 119-59 defeat of China in its first game July 15. Williams, nicknamed "Big Smooth" for his silky play, scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, both team-highs. He sank seven-of-eight shots, and was perfect both inside the arc and at the foul line.