Davis, Harden, Lowry headline 20-strong USA preliminary squad for World Cup
USA Basketball Chairman and National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo announced on Monday the 20 players that will attend a training camp (August 5-9) in Las Vegas and contend for the 12 spots on the American roster for this summer’s FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
The USA are going for an unprecedented third consecutive title in the competition.
“We’re pleased with the players who will be attending the 2019 USA Basketball National Team Training Camp, and we feel we will be able to select a strong team for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup,” said Colangelo.
“The majority of these players possess prior USA Basketball experience, and we know all of them are committed to representing their country and doing so in the manner expected by USA Basketball.”
Fourteen of the players come from the 35-man USA national team roster that was announced in 2018 for the cycle running through the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The six who were added include Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Paul Millsap, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and PJ Tucker.
“Like past national team training camps, this group, too, possesses outstanding individual talents, while also boasting excellent versatility and athleticism,” Colangelo said.
“We’ve been watching a lot of players during the NBA season and the six players we’ve added to the national team roster we feel are deserving of being part of our national team program.”
Eighteen of the 20 players have already worn the USA jersey at the senior or junior level, including five who have already stood atop a World Cup podium. Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond and James Harden were part of the gold medalist 2014 USA World Cup Team while Eric Gordon and Kevin Love were members of the gold medalist 2010 USA World Cup Team.
The group also includes five players who are Olympic gold medalists including Harrison Barnes (2016), Davis (2012), Harden (2012), Love (2012) and Kyle Lowry (2016).
Lowry is competing in the NBA Finals with the Toronto Raptors, who have a 3-1 lead over the Golden State Warriors.
This would be the first opportunity for Kuzma and Mitchell to represent their country in international play.
This will be the first USA team helmed by San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
Mike Krzyzewski coached the team at the previous three World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014) and three Olympics (2008, 2012, 2016).
Jeff Van Gundy coached the USA to the top of the podium at the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 in Argentina and also led them during their 10-win, 2-defeat Americas Qualifiers campaign for the World Cup.
“I am excited about getting to training camp in August and working with all of the players that have been selected to attend the USA national team training camp in Las Vegas,” said Popovich.
“We’ve got an excellent cross-section of veteran USA Basketball and NBA players, as well as some exciting younger players who possess amazing versatility.”
Serving as USA assistant coaches are Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce and Villanova University coach Jay Wright.
The 20 NBA players represent 16 NBA teams, with Houston featuring three players (Gordon, Harden and Tucker), while Milwaukee (Lopez and Middleton) and Portland (Lillard and McCollum) have two players each.
Offensive firepower won’t be an issue. The roster includes 11 of the NBA’s top 50 scorers during the 2018-19 Regular Season – Harden (1st-36.1 ppg.); Davis (10th- 25.9 ppg.); Lillard (11th – 25.8 ppg.); Bradley Beal (tied 12th – 25.6 ppg.); Walker (tied 12th – 25.6 ppg.); Mitchell (tied 16th – 23.8 ppg.); McCollum (28th – 21.0 ppg.); Harris (tied 32nd – 20.0 ppg.); Kuzma (tied 37th – 18.7 ppg.); Middleton (39th – 18.3 ppg.); and Drummond (tied 45th – 17.3 ppg.).
Seven were selected as 2019 NBA All-Stars (Beal, Davis, Harden, Lillard, Lowry, Middleton and Walker). In total, 11 players have been selected as an NBA All-Star a total of 40 times during their careers.
More recently, Harden was named 2018-19 All-NBA First Team, with Lillard was a Second Team selection and Walker was All-NBA Third Team.
Following the Las Vegas camp, which concludes with a USA Blue vs. White exhibition game on August 9, the selected team finalists will reassemble in Los Angeles and train August 13-15, then play an exhibition versus Spain in Anaheim on August 16. The official 12-member roster for the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Team will be announced on August 17.
On the way to China, the USA will continue their World Cup preparations in Melbourne, Australia with training and a pair of exhibition games versus Australia on August 22 and 24, and a game against Canada on August 26.
The No. 1 world-ranked team, the USA was drawn into Group E and will play their First Round games in Shanghai. The USA will open play against the Czech Republic on September 1, with Turkey on September 3 and Japan on September 5.
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