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Don’t call them `replacements’

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Duke standout Trajan Langdon will admit it, he was a little worried when he got the call asking him to try out for the U.S. world championship team.

After all, the third-team All America has his eye on the NBA when his Blue Devils career ends next year. The last thing he wants is to offend the NBA players union by filling in for the 12 all-stars who were originally supposed to go to the world championships in Athens, Greece."I didn't want to jeopardize my future. The NBA is someplace where I'd like to play, and I didn't want to jeopardize that opportunity," Langdon said Wednesday after the end of the first session of training camp.

Langdon voiced his concerns to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who made a few phone calls. Langdon doesn't know who Krzyzewski called, but whoever it was said Langdon had nothing to worry about.

Spooked by the threat of an NBA lockout-related boycott by its latest version of the Dream Team, USA Basketball dumped its 12 NBA all-stars six weeks before the July 29 start of the world championships.

Instead of Grant Hill, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Gary Payton, the United States will be represented by current college players, CBA players and Americans playing professionally overseas.

Thirty players were invited to this week's training camp at Moody Bible Institute. One, Evan Eschmeyer of Northwestern, declined. The roster will be pared to 12 before camp ends Tuesday.

While others might see them as replacement players, the guys who are trying for a spot on the roster don't.

For many players, the lockout doesn't even mean anything. Most players at the training camp are five and six years out of college, if not older, and they know their shot at the NBA has probably passed.

But this is one more chance to impress an NBA coach like Rudy Tomjanovich, the U.S. coach for the world championships, or his assistant, Lakers coach Del Harris.