Former Illini guard Head earns spot with USA Select Team

By Jeremy Werner

Former Illini Luther Head was one of 10 NBA players chosen to the 2008 USA Basketball Men’s Select Team. The current Houston Rockets guard will practice against the USA Olympic team to help them prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“It’s a great opportunity for Luther,” Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. “One, just to be a part of that, it’s good. But also he’s in a contract year and didn’t have maybe quite the finish he’d like to, so now it’s a chance for him to play well against the best of the world and maybe get the attention of the Rockets or some other team and hopefully give him some longevity in the NBA.”

Head started his career off promising after being drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft by the Rockets in 2005. He averaged 8.8 points per game as a rookie and 10.9 points in his second season.

But the former Illini saw his playing time drop by almost 10 minutes a game this season and played only 44 minutes in the Rockets five playoff games. Rumors circulated that Head could be traded during the offseason.

Head will be joined on the USA Basketball Select Team by LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Jeff Green (Oklahoma City), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers), Kevin Martin (Sacramento Kings), O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies), Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) and Rodney Stuckey (Detroit Pistons). Two more players will be added to the roster next week.

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As part of the USA Team Select, Head will practice in Las Vegas against former Illini teammate Deron Williams, who was selected to the Olympic Team last month,

Teammate Dee Brown will also be in Las Vegas this week to participate in the NBA Summer League with the Washington Wizards. Brown recently signed a two-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Wizards.

“Next week, we’ll have Dee, Luther and Deron all out in Vegas at the same time, obviously each one with a different opportunity,” Weber said. “But it’ll be a nice reunion for those three.”