Saturday, June 15, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Being included in the USA Basketball Men’s National Team mini-camp next month in Las Vegas is something Golden State guard Harrison Barnes doesn’t take lightly.
USA Basketball on Wednesday announced 27 players who accepted invitations to the camp, selecting a group of rising stars in the NBA for three days of training at the Mendenhall Center on the UNLV campus.
Barnes just finished his rookie season with Golden State, blossoming late to average 9.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game and help the Warriors advance to the Western Conference semifinals. He scored more than 19 points in six of 12 playoff games, including 26 points and 10 rebounds May 12 against San Antonio.
Barnes’ childhood room in Iowa was flooded with basketball memorabilia, including bobbleheads of his favorite NBA players. Most played for Team USA — a fact not lost on the 21-year-old.
“It was always fun watching those Olympics,” Barnes said. “Everyone has seen those highlights of the Dream Team and Redeem Team and all those USA Basketball teams that accomplished so much. Just to be considered for a spot on the world team or Olympics is such an honor. I’m just thankful to be included.”
Barnes was the seventh overall pick in last year’s draft out of North Carolina. He played 25 minutes per game this season and was named to the NBA’s all-Rookie team.
Continuing his progression with the red, white and blue is the perfect reward for the stellar rookie campaign.
“It took me a really long time to get comfortable out there and comfortable with my game,” Barnes said of his rookie season. “But coach (Mark) Jackson never lost confidence in me and gave me big minutes.”
The group is preparing for two international events: the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup next summer in Spain and the 2016 Olympics.
“It’s a privilege and blessing to be part of this,” Barnes said.
Other players accepting camp invites include: Ryan Anderson (New Orleans Pelicans); Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz); Paul George (Indiana Pacers); Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz); Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers); Ty Lawson (Denver Nuggets); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs); Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons); Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets); Larry Sanders (Milwaukee Bucks); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors); Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats); John Wall (Washington Wizards); and Tyler Zeller (Cleveland Cavaliers).
“The group of players we have assembled for the mini-camp are extremely talented and very versatile. This is an important opportunity for each one of them because we will be evaluating which players will continue to be involved in future USA National Team training camps and teams,” USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statment. “Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger and Andre Iguodala were all guys who played in our 2009 mini-camp and went on to play for the 2010 USA World Championship and 2012 U.S. Olympic teams that won gold. I’m sure it will not be much different this time around, and some of the players involved in this mini-camp will be members of upcoming USA National teams."
The mini-camp concludes at 6 p.m. July 25 with the 2013 USA Basketball Showcase, an intra-squad game. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased by calling 702-739-FANS or at www.UNLVtickets.com.