Duke’s Marques Bolden cut from USA Basketball U19 national team tryouts

Duke sophomore center Marques Bolden
Duke sophomore center Marques Bolden USA Basketball

Marques Bolden won’t get experience against international competition this summer as he aims to improve his game.

The Duke sophomore center was among the first cuts made by USA Basketball’s U19 coaching staff, led by Kentucky’s John Calipari, on Tuesday.

The 6-11 Bolden was among 27 players who began practicing at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Sunday. Nine of those players were cut following Tuesday morning’s practice as the team was pared to 18. The roster of 12 players which will compete in the FIBA World Cup in Cairo, Egypt, July1-9, will be finalized on Thursday.

The hope around Duke was the 6-11 Bolden, who struggled through an injury-plagued freshman season with the Blue Devils, would use the experience playing against high-level competition to improve his game.

But Bolden left practice Monday night with what Calipari told reporters was a hip injury. Duke assistant coaches Jeff Capel and Jon Scheyer were at USA Basketball’s practices but have since returned to Durham.

Capel told Duke officials that Bolden walked off the practice court. Bolden was treated by USA Basketball’s medical staff.

The U19 team is comprised of players with one year of college experience, incoming freshmen and high school seniors.

Calipari and his staff, which also includes Colorado head coach Tad Boyle and Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning, retained a pair of California high school senior centers -- 7-1 Bol Bol and 6-11 Jordan Brown -- on the group of finalists. The other centers are 6-11 Brandon McCoy of UNLV, 6-11 Mitchell Robinson of Western Kentucky and 6-9 Austin Wiley of Auburn.

Bolden played in 24 games with one start for Duke last season after suffering a left lower leg injury in November. He averaged just 6.5 minutes per game, scoring 1.5 points and grabbing 1.1 rebounds.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he plans to use Bolden and 6-11 freshman Wendell Carter together in some sets to give the Blue Devils a big lineup option this season. Carter enters Duke after being rated as the No. 1 power forward in the Class of 2017.

Steve Wiseman: 919-419-6671, @stevewisemanNC