COLUMBIA — Missouri men's basketball players Marcus Denmon and Kim English sound taken with the idea of playing basketball in China.
The pair of senior Tigers guards leave this weekend for the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., to take part in a a training camp that will be used to select a team to represent the United States in the 2011 World University Games set for Aug. 13 to 23 in Shenzhen, China.
"Marcus is from Kansas City, and I'm from Baltimore, so the thought of traveling to China is kind of mind-blowing," English said in a post on the Missouri athletics website. "It's on the other side of the world. I'd look forward to a chance — hopefully."
"I always hear a lot about the places basketball can take you," Denmon said. "I have gotten to see and do a lot of things that I probably would not have done otherwise. … It would be great to use basketball to see and view different things (in China)."
The training camp will begin Friday and runs through Aug. 7. Finalists for the 12-member team are scheduled to be announced on Sunday. The official roster will be announced at the end of the camp just before the team departs for China on Aug. 8.
Denmon and English are two of 20 participants at this weekend's event.
Texas A&M leading scorer Khris Middleton is the only other Big 12 Conference player set to attend. Others on the list include Syracuse's Scoop Jardine, Northwestern's John Shruna, Kentucky's Darius Miller, Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs and Alabama's JaMychal Green, who have all had experience with other USA Basketball programs and teams.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Denmon said. "I think we all look forward to the competition and having a chance to represent our country over in China. I just want to go out there, play well and do whatever I can to make the team."
Purdue's Matt Painter will be the head coach of this year's squad, and he will be assisted by Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin and Butler coach Brad Stevens. Virginia's Tony Bennett, Arizona's Sean Miller and VCU's Shaka Smart were named as court coaches for the training camp on July 21.
The World University Games are held every other year and are organized by the International University Sports Federation.