Basketball update

DREAM TEAM:

   He coached the 1983 Pan American Games crew, starring a couple of guys named Jordan and Mullin. He led the 1995 World University Games bunch to the gold medal, with a little help from Tim Duncan and Allan Iverson. But the United States contingent Lon Kruger will help coach next summer in Athens, Greece, may be the best yet. Kruger will assist Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich on the USA World Championship Team, which was announced Thursday. The roster: Vin Baker, Terrell Brandon, Kevin Garnett, Tom Gugliotta, Grant Hill, Allan Houston, Christian Laettner, Gary Payton, Glen Rice and Chris Webber. Two members will be added in the spring. "It''s got a chance," Kruger said. "A lot of young, outstandings players in there. It looks to be a super group." The U.S. has won three gold medals in 12 World Championships tries, Don Nelson''s guys rolling in 1994. "The gap is closing between us and the rest of the world," Hill said. "Slowly, but it''s closing."

POLLING PLACE:

   Still no Illinois State on the slate, but Illinois will face two of the top four teams in the Missouri Valley Conference this winter. In a preseason poll of MVC media, Bradley (Nov. 17) was picked third and Wichita State (Nov. 27) fourth. Kevin Stallings'' Redbirds, featuring MVC preseason player of the year Rico Hill and all-conference forward Dan Muller, were picked to repeat as conference champs.

GARRIS UPDATE:

   Kiwane Garris, let go by the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this week, was expected to report to the Grand Rapids Hoops either today or Friday. Garris on Thursday opted to try out with the Continental Basketball Association club, which spent a second-round draft pick on him last month, rather than go overseas like former UI teammate Chris Gandy. "It''s his best opportunity to get back in the NBA," said his agent, Mark Bartelstein.

RECRUITING NEWS:

   Iowa, still in the hunt for Galesburg gunner Joey Range, is one oral commitment away from wrapping up recruiting for 1997. Jack Crane, a 6-foot-101/2, 250-pound center at Iowa''s Marshalltown Community College, is the fourth, and latest, prospect to promise Tom Davis he''ll sign with Iowa next month. If the University of South Dakota transfer follows through, he''ll become the fourth junior college player in Davis'' 12 years to sign with the Hawkeyes. Kruger picked up his fourth junior college commitment this week when Southern Union (Ala.) State guard Cleotis Brown picked the UI over West Virginia and San Francisco.

    By Jeff D''Alessio

ILLINI PROFILE: CARVELL AMMONS

   Year/Age: Redshirt freshman/20

   Hometown/School: Champaign/Centennial. Northwestern transfer is sitting out this season

   Major: Accounting

   Favorite athlete: Scottie Pippen

   Favorite movie: A Time To Kill

   Favorite TV show: In The Heat of The Night

   Favorite book: Jurassic Park

   Favorite campus hangout: The movie theater

   Favorite professor: Jennifer Drost, Speech Communications

   Hobbies: Shooting pool, bowling

   Career Highlight: An 18-point, six-rebound, five-assist effort against Maurice Taylor at Michigan last season

   Toughest player I''ve ever faced: Kevin Garnett.

   If I could meet one person, it would be ... My late grandfather, Moses Ammons

   What people don''t know about me ... I''m very independent and very hard-working

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