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Taurean Prince Named to 12 Man USA Pan Am Roster

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Baylor Senior Forward Taurean Prince will take part in this summer's Pan American Games as part of an experienced roster.

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

It's the doldrums of summer, but Baylor athletes are hard at work preparing for their upcoming seasons.

Senior forward Taurean Prince will be representing the Baylor Bears and the Big 12 conference in this summer's Pan American Games as part of a 12 man roster that is loaded with experienced players.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Congratulations to Taurean Prince on making the USA team that will compete in the Pan Am games! <a href="http://t.co/Myum3HHMFK">pic.twitter.com/Myum3HHMFK</a></p>&mdash; Scott Drew (@BUDREW) <a href="https://twitter.com/BUDREW/status/620354119379779584">July 12, 2015</a></blockquote>

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The roster is restricted to players age 20-35, ensuring that the team is constructed of talented, veteran players who understand the game and how to play selflessly.

Other notable players on the roster include Wichita State's Ron Baker, Michigan State's Denzel Valentine, Arizona's Kaleb Tarczewski, and Ryan Hollins of the Sacramento Kings.

Prince and fellow Bear Rico Gathers both participated in practice camps prior to the roster finalization. In those practices, as well as at the Nike Academy, Prince in particular stood out to a lot of onlookers.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Great training camp for Taurean Prince. Just bumped him into our first round. Guys here call him &quot;Demarre Carroll.&quot; <a href="http://t.co/gpLaEkkwXa">pic.twitter.com/gpLaEkkwXa</a></p>&mdash; Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) <a href="https://twitter.com/DraftExpress/status/619300716629209088">July 10, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Baylor&#39;s Taurean Prince having another very strong day. Guarding everyone. Making spot-3s. Using his strength in the post. Impressive at 6-8</p>&mdash; Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) <a href="https://twitter.com/DraftExpress/status/619162652648935425">July 9, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Breaking down the SF prospects from Nike Academy. High on Taurean Prince as 3 and D guy. Like Bass as long-term guy <a href="http://t.co/R7RKjjjIHE">http://t.co/R7RKjjjIHE</a></p>&mdash; Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) <a href="https://twitter.com/Mike_Schmitz/status/617071900934565888">July 3, 2015</a></blockquote>

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In that scouting report, reputable NBA prospect scout Mike Schmitz praises Prince for his defensive grit and ability (Prince locked down NBA All-Star DeMar Derozan on multiple occasions), his rebounding effort, and his shooting ability. Baylor fans who have seen Prince's steady growth over his first three college seasons should not be surprised that Prince is continuing to refine and improve his game in all aspects.

I am particularly encouraged by the praise he is receiving for his defensive effort and ability. His first two seasons, Prince was a well below average defender. Last season as a wing defender in Scott Drew's 2-3/1-3-1 hybrid zone, Prince markedly improved his defense and led the team with 1.5 steals per game. It's always a question how well players can translate defensive success from zone to man, but Prince seems to be thriving while playing against top-level competition.

Prince's summer has been good enough to move him into the first round of the early Draft Express 2016 Mock NBA Draft, where he is ranked 28th among all prospects. Don't be surprised if Prince's name starts to bubble up in Big 12 Player of the Year talks before and during the 2015-16 season.

The Pan American Games preliminary round begins July 21st, with the US tipping off against Venezuela at 8pm CT.