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G League’s Travis Trice benefits from time with USA Basketball

Updated December 20, 2018 - 9:55 pm

Wisconsin Herd guard Travis Trice wants to prove to NBA personnel that he’s indeed a true point guard, capable of creating for his teammates and scoring.

When necessary.

He’s already proved as much to USA Basketball.

Trice, a 25-year-old G League veteran, played four games this year for the men’s national team and helped the Americans clinch a berth in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 in China. The 6-foot-1-inch former Michigan State standout hadn’t played with USA Basketball at any level but was contacted this summer through his agent and invited to try out for the qualifying team.

He played two games in September and left the Herd to play two more in November and December, averaging 12.5 points and 3.0 assists with two starts.

“I think it was a great opportunity for Travis. Anytime you have the opportunity to represent your country at that level, it’s a really special thing,” Herd coach Jordan Brady said Thursday after his team played in the G League Winter Showcase at Mandalay Bay Convention Center. “For Travis, he’s one of the guys we look to for leadership on our team.

”He’s one of our more veteran players, and he’s always open and willing to share perspective. I think it was a good thing for him.”

Trice wasn’t highly recruited and committed to Michigan State in 2010 as the country’s 37th-ranked point guard, per ESPN. He became an All-Big Ten point guard in 2014-15, averaging 15.3 points and 5.1 assists while leading the Spartans to the Final Four.

He was undrafted in 2015 and spent time with the G League’s Westchester Knicks, along with clubs in Australia and Lebanon. He was playing in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with the Milwaukee Bucks in July when the men’s national team reached out.

“For something that I never thought was possible for me, I got a chance to represent my country,” Trice said. “My thing was live in the moment, be appreciative and try to do as best as I can.”

Trice and the Americans were 2-0 in September during qualifying play in Las Vegas and 1-1 in November and December in South America to secure their spot in the tournament. He said he tried to learn as much as possible from qualifying team coach Jeff Van Gundy, who has coached the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets.

“It definitely prepared me (for the G League season),” Trice said. “They play at a different level over there, and Van Gundy holds you to a different level. I definitely came in (to the season) in shape and ready to go.”

Trice is averaging 14.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 12 games for the Herd, and Brady said he’s pleased with the way Trice is running the team. The point guard hopes others at the Showcase take notice, too.

“I can get other people involved and score. I can mix it up,” Trice said. “Coming out of Michigan State, I was more of a scorer. Now, it’s more of a complete game.”

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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