Mike Tisdale Back From USA Tryouts

Mike Tisdale (Holly Smith)

Mike Tisdale returned to campus after a tryout for the USA basketball team in Colorado Springs. He will not be participating in the World University Games this summer, but the experience was valuable for him nonetheless. He can use that experience to improve his game and help his Illini team have a good upcoming season.

Illinois coach Bruce Weber is on the committee that helps decide the roster for the USA teams. Speaking on WDWS radio Saturday, he said Mike Tisdale was competing against a talented group of frontliners.

"Actually, he played really well. I think what happened was the other big men were really good. The World University team is a very good team."

Weber described the frontline talent assembled for the team.

"(Trevor) Booker at Clemson we played against. Jarvis Varnado, who led the country in shot blocks at five a game, got Mike a few times. And then the (Craig) Brackins kid from Iowa State is a pretty good player. A lot of people thought he was gonna go to the pros.

"And then Deon Thompson started for North Carolina and averaged about 10 points a game. So that front line's good, and Robbie Hummel can rotate, and (Lazar) Hayward from Marquette can kind of go to the four. So a good bunch of big guys. Even JaJuan Johnson (Purdue) didn't make it. And he was pretty good in our league.

Regardless, Weber is convinced Tisdale benefitted from the opportunity.

"It was a great experience for Mike, a great opportunity. It opened up his eyes and got him some nice exposure. Hopefully, it's gonna help him down the road."

There was more difficulty getting top guards to the camp than big men. Looking back, Weber thinks perhaps Demetri McCamey should have been invited.

"The ironic thing, I'm on the national selection committee. When we met at the Final Four, there were a lot of guards that were pretty good. And so many guys cancelled.

"I really think Demetri would have had a great chance of making it. (Corey) Fisher from Villanova and then Talor Battle are the two point guards, but I think Demetri could have made a nice run."

Weber loves the idea of being involved with USA teams. But modern players are not all as drawn to it as used to be.

"Kids have agents, they have workout guys, everybody's giving them direction. It's tough to get guys to make that commitment. Jerry Colangelo, who's the head of USA basketball, was out there. It's a great thing, but it's an almost four week commitment to make.

"Even as a coaching staff, it's a tough thing to be away from your family, program and recruiting. But it also might be a once-in-a-lifetime thing to represent your country."

Tisdale replaced teammate Mike Davis at the tryouts. Weber described Davis' injury and the recovery time.

"He broke his ankle. At first, we thought it was a sprained ankle. Just a typical thing, jump up for a rebound and come down on somebody's foot. He said he felt something pop. It was a clean fracture, a clean break.

"He's been in a walking boot and getting therapy. Probably in a week or so, he'll start doing some stuff while staying in the boot so we don't take any chances. I'd say probably mid July he'll be out shooting and working out. And hopefully August, back on the court playing."

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