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By LARRY VAUGHT

Future Kentucky teammates Marquis Teague and Mike Gilchrist both helped the United States win the 17 and under World Championship with a perfect 8-0 mark last summer. However, both insist they want to win Saturday’s Nike Hoop Summit against a world select team in Portland every bit as much as they did the world championship.

“If the jersey says USA, then I want to win,” said Gilchrist, a forward from Philadelphia who averaged 15 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in the world championship play last summer. “Every chance I have, I want to represent my country well. I am having fun with everybody on the team because they are all good guys, but I want to win.

“I always play to win. I don’t like losing. I always want to win, but especially for my country and that is what this is. That is why I try to do everything I can on the floor to win. I score, rebound, defend, pass or whatever. Winning is what it is about.”

Teague, who averaged 7.1 points and a team-best 6.0 assists per game in the world championship, calls it a “big deal” to play for his country.

“You want to take advantage of this opportunity and play well. We have a lot of talent on this team. We are unselfish and know how to play together,” Teague, a point guard from Indianapolis, said. “You are going to see us defending the whole game, playing hard and being unselfish. We are going to give an all-out effort to win because it is important to win.”

Another future Cat, center/forward Anthony Davis of Chicago, will be playing in his first international competition. He averaged 32 points, 22 rebounds and seven blocked shots per game as a senior.

“This is a big, big deal representing my country and playing against the world team,” Davis said. “Going against elite players is special. I am also blessed to have such talented guys on my team. I am kind of new to this scene, but the other guys are teaching me a lot and we are all making each other better.”

Gilchrist and Teague both insist they are better players than they were last summer.

“I am always working on my game, so I should be better,” Gilchrist said. “I am just having fun on the court. I don’t know a lot about the world team other than (future Wildcat) Kyle (Wiltjer) is a very good player and I wasn’t surprised when he won the McDonald’s (All-American Game) 3-point contest. We just have to play the game the way I know we can.”

Gilchrist had 16 points in the McDonald’s game to earn co-MVP honors himself.

“That wasn’t that important. It was just an all-star game,” Gilchrist said. “I was just having fun with all of this, but those type honors don’t matter. Winning does.”

Teague said his senior season “went well” even though his team lost four games compared to only one that Gilchrist’s powerhouse team lost.

“I played better defense and did a better job leading my team,” Teague said. “I learned how to be a better leader in every respect because I know my main thing at Kentucky will be to lead the team. I know more about what to do in time and situations. I know more about who to get the ball to and win, and that makes me able to play even quicker.”

Davis had a more difficult senior season because he was often double- or triple-teamed because of the lack of quality players on his team.

“I just had to work through it, and we did,” Davis said. “But that is why playing in a game like this with so many talented teammates is so much fun for me. I never grew up thinking about the Olympics or anything like that, but to represent my country and win, which I think we can do, would be great.”

Teague and Davis both say a summer of AAU play followed by a high school season and now all-star games can by hard physically, but neither is complaining.

“My mind is not tired because is what I want to do,” Teague said.

“Your body gets tired, but you just suck it up and keep playing,” Davis said. “It’s nice to travel and see different places. It’s a great experience. I don’t see how anybody could complain about getting to do the things I am.”

3 Responses to Future Cats proud to represent USA in World Championships

  • Jackie says:

    I can’t wait either!!! I feel like we need to add a meaty player down low, Davis and Wiltjer are great players but they are more finesse than power. We need a strong, cornfed guy like Harrellson or Cousins to push people around when necessary.

  • larryvaught says:

    True, but if not having Davis and Wiltjer can still work very well

  • Rick says:

    Davis is a beast. Wiltjer is one of those hard working guys that somehow always ends up where the ball is. All the incoming guys are extremely hard working = #8 & #9.

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