USA Basketball's four-day, talent-assessment mini-camp got underway Monday in Las Vegas with New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, a 20-year-old coming off his rookie season, as the only player with game experience with the team.
"This is a good experience to come back and play USA basketball once again," Davis told The Times-Picayune following Monday's practice. "I had a fun time last year with those guys, and it's only going to get better. Me and USA Basketball have a bond now. We're friends and family. Now, I'm just trying to come back here and hopefully make the team for the 2014 World Cup."
Davis, one of 28 players taking part in the mini-camp that also includes fellow former University of Kentucky stars DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, averaged 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 64.7 percent from the field for the 2012 Olympics gold medal winners.
This summer, Davis told the newspaper, he's more comfortable than he was a year ago as the newbie trying to blend in with the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
"Going in, the first time last year, I hadn't played an NBA game yet and I'm stepping on the floor with LeBron, Kobe, Kevin (Love) and Chris (Paul)," Davis said. "Now, you're on your heels because you don't want to make a mistake. You want to be perfect around those guys. Especially your first time."
Pelicans Coach Monty Williams, an assistant with Team USA said he's pleased with Davis' work in the off-season.
"He looks really good," Williams told The Times-Picayune. "He's stepped his work ethic up in so may ways. He was already a good worker, and now it's just so diligent about being in the gym and doing all the stuff that we ask him to do and then some.
"He hasn't put on 20 or 30 pounds like everybody wanted him to do, but we didn't want him to do that. But if you look at his body now, you see a noticeable difference because he's been in the weight room, he's been on the floor. We're at the point now where we think after (this camp) we're just going to tell him he has to take a break for a couple weeks. He's been really going after it."