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Kirk survives final cut, earns spot on USA Basketball roster

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — University of New Mexico center Alex Kirk has earned a spot on the 12-man roster for USA Basketball’s World University Games team.

The 7-footer was one of 27 players invited (26 attended) the weeklong training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., starting Monday. Lobo teammate Kendall Williams was also invited to camp, but didn’t make it through the initial cuts on Wednesday.

(CLICK HERE for for the fully updated article on Kirk’s inclusion on the World University Games roster that published in Sunday’s Journal)

Kirk and the rest of the team will leave Monday for Kazan, Russia, where the 2013 World University Games tournament will take place July 7-16.

“I love his physicality,” Elon University coach Matt Matheny, a camp coach who has worked directly with Kirk, told the Journal earlier this week in Colorado Springs. “But he also has not only physicality but he’s got good skill. He scores it very well inside but can also knock down a perimeter jumper, which in international play could be very important.”


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Kirk is the first Lobo to earn a spot on the World University Games roster since Kenny Thomas in 1997.

The final 12 player roster for the USA Basketball World University Games team includes (name, position, height, school):

    • Spencer Dinwiddie, G, 6-6, Colorado
    • Yogi Ferrell, G, 6-0, Indiana
    • Tyler Haws, G, 6-5, BYU
    • Sean Kilpatrick, G, 6-4, Cincinnati
    • Treveon Graham, F, 6-5, Virginia Commonwealth
    • Luke Hancock, F, 6-6, Louisville
    • Doug McDermott, F, 6-8, Creighton
    • Will Sheehey, F, 6-7, Indiana
    • Adreian Payne, F, 6-10, Michigan State
    • Cory Jefferson, C, 6-9, Baylor
    • Aaron White, C, 6-8, Iowa
    • Alex Kirk, C, 7-0, New Mexico

“Clearly versatility, we have guys that can play more than one position, that’s one of the great strengths we have,” said USA head coach Bob McKillop, who coaches at Davidson and saw Kirk in person last fall in the Pit in a season-opening loss to the Lobos. “I think we shoot the ball particularly well from a number of positions, and we’ve got guys who want to be teammates. Those two things, to me, are the biggest advantages that we have, or the biggest strengths for our team.”

Check back online later today or in Sunday’s Journal for more on Kirk making the team.