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Team USA Basketball minicamp: Drummond has a big fan in Jim Boeheim

Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond are repping the Pistons in Team USA's minicamp.


Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond are seguing from being with the Pistons during Orlando Summer League to seeing how they stack up to considerably stiffer competition as part of Team USA basketball's minicamp held in Las Vegas.

We've already heard that Drummond isn't here just for fun, he's there to take someone's spot. While competition is fierece to play for Team USA in 2014 for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, Drummond (UConn) and Monroe (Georgetown) already has a big-time supporter in Jim Boeheim, who is familiar with their games as the coach of Big East rival Syracuse.

"Andre has got such a physical presence on the court," Boeheim said. "You forget he's still young, but he's got such a presence out there and he's going to get better. People have to remember, the Olympics is still three years away. How much better is he going to get in three years?

"Greg Monroe is a tremendous, skilled big guy. He can shoot the ball, he can pass and he's got just a great future."

Other minicamp items of note

* Who is participating, you might ask? Here is your answer.

* Who is killing it after Day 1?

According to the whispers emanating from UNLV's Mendenhall Center, Portland's Damian Lillard, Utah's Gordon Hayward and collegian Doug McDermott of Creighton were among the Day 1 standouts, with the Los Angeles Clippers' Jordan said to have made his presence felt defensively.

Don't worry Drummond and Monroe, there is still time to make your presence felt. You are both better than DeAndre freakin' Jordan.

* Watch a video of Drummond and Monroe talking about being a part of mincamp. Also, see evidence that Drummond's 50 percent mark from 3-point range last season was no fluke! I would embed the video but the Pistons haven't put it up on YouTube yet and the NBA media player only include a link.

* DeMarcus Cousins, a one-time Pistons draft crush (remember when we were disappointed that we had to "settle" for Greg Monroe) has been the most scrutinized player by far after a disastrous minicamp last offseason when organizers openly questioned the already questionable maturity level of the Sacramento big man.

Comments like this might not help:

Cousins' humility went missing when he was pressed to elaborate on his intent to "come in and try to be the best big [in camp]."

Asked to identify his competition for that unofficial title -- in a camp that also features the likes of Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Derrick Favors, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe and Larry Sanders -- Cousins shot back with a quick: "Nobody."

* We know Drummond is gunning to earn a spot on the roster but what spots are actually vulnerable? Depends on who you ask but here is one take from Ben Golliver at SI:

That's always a tough question to predict this far in advance of the events.

Looking at the rosters from the 2010 World Championship and 2012 Olympics, a number of younger players could be in a position to compete again in 2014. That list might include Golden State's Stephen Curry, New Orleans' Davis, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Toronto's Rudy Gay, Houston's James Harden, Minnesota's Kevin Love and Chicago's Derrick Rose. Even if some of those players opt out for injury reasons or because they've already claimed Olympic gold, a meaningful portion of the 2014 roster will almost certainly be filled by returnees.

As for 2016, you could potentially add 2012 Olympians Carmelo Anthony of New York, Andre Iguodala of Golden State, LeBron James of Miami, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Deron Williams of Brooklyn to the previous list. In other words, open spots in 2016 will likely be even harder to come by.

* The minicamp culminates in a scrimmage featuring all 28 players invited to the camp, so either it will be broken down into more than two teams or some players won't get much playing time. Either way, the scrimmage will be broadcast on NBA TV at 9 p.m. ET on July 25.