After tremendous NBA rookie seasons, former Kentucky men’s basketball stars Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein and Julius Randle have been chosen for the USA Men’s Select Team that will train July 18-21 with the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s National Team during its training camp in Las Vegas.
The USA Men’s Select Team annually features some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players. It is often a stepping stone to making the USA Basketball Men’s National Team. DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall, who are among the 31 finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympics Men’s Basketball Team, previously played on the Select Team. Anthony Davis is also a finalist for the Olympic Team, thought he has already opted out of the Olympics because of injury.
Members of the USA Select Team will train daily with the USA National Team from July 18-21 at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center as the USA National Team preps for the Olympics in Brazil later this year.
The 2016 USA Select Team features eight players who completed their rookie NBA season in 2015-16, nine who wrapped up their second NBA season, three third-year NBA players and five players who are eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft.
Booker, who made the All-Rookie First Team last month, averaged 13.8 points, 2.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 27.7 minutes per game with the Phoenix Suns. The sharpshooter finished in third in the 3-Point Contest during the NBA’s All-Star Game festivities.
After averaging 4.5 points in November and 7.6 points in December, Booker became one of the NBA’s most explosive young scorers after the all-star break, including a fantastic month of March in which he averaged 22.4 points in 16 games. After the break, Booker logged 19.2 points, 4.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 35.4 minutes per game.
Booker was drafted 13th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2015 NBA Draft after averaging 10.0 points in his freshman season at Kentucky. En route to Southeastern Conference Sixth Man of the Year honors, Booker made 58 3-pointers, second most on the team, with a .411 3-point field-goal percentage. He was also a second-team All-SEC selection by the league’s coaches and made the SEC All-Freshman Team.
Cauley-Stein, who made the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team, showed off his immense potential with the Sacramento Kings this season, averaging 7.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 block in 66 games. Cauley-Stein’s 1.0 block per game was the sixth-highest average in the NBA among rookies.
After playing no more than 21.9 minutes per game in any one month, Cauley-Stein closed out the season by averaging 31.3 minutes per game in seven April outings, and averaged 9.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
Cauley-Stein was taken sixth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings after a banner end to his UK career. In his final season at Kentucky in 2015, in which he averaged 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks for the 38-1 Wildcats, Cauley-Stein earned consensus first-team All-America honors, first-team All-SEC honors and won SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
In Randle’s first full season in the NBA, he was one of the few players in the NBA to average a double-double, posting 11.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He ranked 15th in the NBA with 34 double-doubles and led the Los Angeles Lakers in rebounding.
After suffering a devastating leg injury the first game of his rookie season, Randle returned in 2015-16 and became one of the Lakers’ most consistent players. During a stretch from mid-January to mid-March, he scored in double figures in 20 of 22 games, including 14 double-doubles. He has previous USA Basketball experience, winning a gold medal in 2012 with the USA Basketball U18 Championship squad.
Randle was selected seventh overall by the Lakers in the 2014 NBA Draft after leading UK to the 2014 national championship game. Randle led the Wildcats in scoring (15.4 points per game) and rebounding (10.4 boards per game) in his lone season at Kentucky en route to making the Associated Press All-America Third Team.