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Former Los Alamos Hilltopper basketball standout and current University of New Mexico Lobo star Alex Kirk is still alive in his quest to represent the United States at the World University Games.
Kirk, the 7-foot center for the Lobos, who has had solid success with the Lobos through two years of play there, is among the final 16 players vying for a roster spot on the USA men’s team to compete in the World University Games.
The final cut, which will trim the roster down to 12 players, is scheduled to be announced Friday, prior to the team’s departure for Kazan, Russia, where the World University Games will be played.
The finalists were announced today by USA Basketball on its website.
Kirk had a big hand in helping the Lobos to a Mountain West regular season and conference title during the 2012-13 season. Kirk, returning from back surgery which made him miss the entire 2011-12 season, finished this past season with a 12.1 points per game average, third best for UNM, and led the team with 8.1 rebounds per contest.
For his efforts, Kirk was named to the second team All-Mountain West for his redshirt sophomore season.
The World University team is currently training at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Workouts there will continue through Sunday.
The remaining players still vying for a roster spot is an impressive one. Doug McDermott of Creighton was the second leading scorer in the nation with 23.2 points per game in 2012-13 and a first team All-American, and Stanford junior-to-be Chasson Randle, a veteran of international competition, are also still in the running to make the cut.
“The effort of this group was unbelievable, and it was very tough to get down,” said Jim Boeheim, head coach of Syracuse and chair of the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee on the USA Basketball website. “Usually, it’s pretty easy to get down to 16. It was not easy with this group. It was very difficult. Guys were very, very close in a two-day tryout. Another day, and it might have been a couple of different guys in there, but you have to take the guys that played the best, and those 16 played the best.”
Another Lobo trying out for the team, Kendall Williams, didn’t survive this round of cuts.
The USA men’s team has won 13 gold medals and 19 overall medals in 20 World University Games held since 1965.
Famous World University Games alumni include professional players Ray Allen, Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley and Larry Bird.
Spencer Dinwiddle, Colorado
Yogi Ferrell, Colorado
Davante Gardner, Marquette
Treveon Graham, Virginia
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Luke Hancock, Louisville
Tyler Haws, BYU
Cory Jefferson, Baylor
Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
Alex Kirk, New Mexico
Doug McDermott, Creighton
Adreian Payne, Michigan
Chasson Randle, Stanford
Will Sheehey, Indiana
Aaron White, Iowa