COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — BYU swingman Tyler Haws is off to Russia.
The 6-foot-5 junior survived two cuts over five days to be named a member of USA Basketball's Men's World University Games team. The team will compete against top international competition beginning Sunday.
The team is coached by Bob McKillop, who had high praise for Haws.
"He has progressed practice by practice, gotten better and better," McKillop told KSL on Thursday. "If you would have asked him how he performed in his first day here, he would have shaken his head and said, 'No way I have a chance to be a part of this.' But he has gotten better and better."
After departing with the team on Monday, the USA will practice Wednesday through Saturday in Kazan, Russia, including scrimmages on Thursday against Russian basketball club UNICS and on Friday against the Russia World University Games team before beginning World University Games play on Sunday.
The Team USA 12-man roster includes Haws, Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado/Woodland Hills, Calif.); Yogi Ferrell (Indiana/Indianapolis); Treveon Graham (Virginia Commonwealth/Temple Hills, Md.); Luke Hancock (Louisville/ Roanoke, Va.); Cory Jefferson (Baylor/ Killeen, Texas); Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati/Yonkers, N.Y.); Alex Kirk (New Mexico/Los Alamos, N.M.); Doug McDermott (Creighton/Ames, Iowa); Adreian Payne (Michigan State/Dayton, Ohio); Will Sheehey (Indiana/Stuart, Fla.); and Aaron White (Iowa/Strongsville, Ohio).
"Clearly versatility, we have guys that can play more than one position, that’s one of the great strengths we have," McKillop (Davidson College) said. "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."
The USA has drawn preliminary round Group C, along with Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Sweden and United Arab Emirates. Playing in Group A are Estonia, Germany, Oman, Russia, Ukraine and South Korea. Playing in Group B are Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Philippines, Romania and Serbia. Group D includes Brazil, Chile, China, Finland, Lithuania and Norway.
The USA will take on UAE at 6:30 p.m. (times listed are local; Kazan, Russia, is 10 hours ahead of MDT) on Sunday; followed by Czech Republic at 1 p.m. on July 8; and Sweden at 9 p.m. on July 10; Australia at 6:30 p.m. on July 11; and Canada at 1 p.m. on July 12.