Tisdale to replace Davis at World University Games tryout

Illinois head coach Bruce Weber will still be joined by one of his big men by the name of “Mike” when he flies out to Colorado Springs, Colo., on Tuesday as a member of the Junior National Team committee overseeing the 2009 USA Men’s World University Games Team Trials. It just won’t be the frontcourt “Mike” he originally thought it would be.

Illinois center Mike Tisdale will replace injured teammate Mike Davis at the USA team tryouts, which start Tuesday and run through Thursday. Davis broke his ankle last week during a voluntary workout, giving Tisdale a shot to make a team that will travel to Belgrade, Serbia, for about three weeks to compete against 25 other national squads in the World University Games from July 2-11.

“Coach was saying ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’ So I think it’ll be a good chance for me. Unfortunately, Mike (Davis) got hurt, but some things happen,” Tisdale said.

Weber said Tisdale was “on the board” when the five-member committee met at the Final Four in April to discuss who would be invited for tryouts. So when Davis went down, it was only natural for Weber to vouch for Tisdale to get his chance.

“I guess it’s one advantage of being on the committee … (USA Basketball has) had a little bit of trouble getting guys. It’s a big commitment, guys are in summer school. Some don’t want to go. So I just kind of said, ‘Hey, you still need a big guy?’ and it got OK’d.”

Tisdale won’t have much time to prove himself at the tryouts. Weber said the USA team will hold about four practices over the course of three days, and the 17 players invited will be trimmed to 12 — or possibly 13 if it’s “close,” Weber said — by the end of Thursday.

If Tisdale does earn a spot, he will stay in Colorado Springs for more training and will get a chance to play for Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, who is famous for running a swing offense, which often calls for big men to knock down open jumpers. With Tisdale more than capable of doing just that, it would seem that he’d be a good fit for such a system.

“(Ryan) likes to have a big guy that can shoot,” Tisdale said. “Maybe that’s my chance to fit in. Hopefully I can get over there and show some leadership, kind of fit into the system he wants to run.”

However, Weber cautioned that Ryan might not run the swing offense all too often because of the international shot clock, which is 24 seconds instead of the 35 in the NCAA men’s game.

“I think he’ll probably use it as maybe a secondary break, for some quick hitters,” Weber said. “It’s a little different. You can’t run the clock and wear people out.”

Tisdale will be joined by several familiar faces on the team. Also representing the Big Ten will be Purdue’s Robbie Hummel and JaJuan Johnson, Ohio State’s Evan Turner and Penn State’s Talor Battle. The big men Tisdale will be competing against include Johnson, North Carolina’s Deon Thompson, Clemson’s Trevor Booker and Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado.

“He’s got to do what he does well — shooting, being some kind of threat inside,” Weber said of what it will take for Tisdale to make the team. “If you try to do things you don’t do, I think that’s the worst thing.”