COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Feb. 8, 2018) — Including three players from the 2017 USA Basketball World Cup Qualifying Team that compiled a 2-0 record during the November first-round games, and featuring the 13 players selected for the Feb. 18 G League International Challenge, USA Basketball today announced the 14 players who will participate in the USA World Cup Qualifying Team training camp Feb. 15-20. The training will be used to select the 12-man team for the USA’s World Cup Qualifying first round, second-window games including Cuba on Feb. 23 and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 in Santa Cruz, California. The player selections were made by the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team Committee.
Rounding out the USA training camp roster are Taylor Braun (Salt Lake City Stars); Alonzo Gee (Sioux Falls Skyforce); Aaron Harrison (Reno Bighorns); Terrence Jones (Santa Cruz Warriors); Trey McKinney-Jones (Fort Wayne Mad Ants); Rodney Purvis (Lakeland Magic); Xavier Silas (Northern Arizona Suns); David Stockton (Reno Bighorns); Rashawn Thomas (Oklahoma City Blue); Marcus Thornton (Canton Charge); and Devin Williams (Maine Red Claws).
Jeff Van Gundy, who led the USA to a 5-0 record and the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup and to a pair of wins in the FIBA World Cup Qualifying November window, returns as head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team. Veteran international coach Mo McHone and former Georgetown University coach John Thompson III will again serve as USA assistant coaches.
“The USA team for the February FIBA World Cup Qualifying games will have some new faces,” said Van Gundy. “A lot of the players involved in the November World Cup Qualifying games were unavailable because of call-ups to the NBA. We’re really excited for those players, but it does make our job of putting together another team more difficult.
“The USA Basketball World Cup Qualifying Team Committee has assembled for our February training and games a versatile group that has a nice mix of youth and experience, that is highlighted by our three returning players from the November USA World Cup Qualifying Team.
“We’ll need to quickly come together for our games against Cuba and Puerto Rico in Santa Cruz. We persevered to win a very difficult game against Puerto Rico in November, and Cuba is also very talented and hungry for a win. We will face significant challenges in both of the upcoming games and I’m hoping that playing in Santa Cruz will give us a strong home court advantage. I know each and every one of us is excited and honored to represent the United States and we’re excited to play Puerto Rico and Cuba.”
The USA official, 12-member USA team is expected to be announced following the Feb. 20 evening practice. The USA World Cup Qualifying Team will continue its training in Santa Cruz on Feb. 21, 22, 24 and 25.
The USA will host two home games during the second window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifying first-round. The USA men will play Cuba on Feb. 23, and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 in Santa Cruz on the home court of the G League Santa Cruz Warriors – Kaiser Permanente Arena. Both games are scheduled to tip at 8 p.m. PST.
Tickets for both USA Basketball games in Santa Cruz are on sale and available by calling (831) 713-4400 or online at http://bit.ly/USABsantacruz.
Thirteen of the USA players and the USA coaching staff have been named to the NBA G League USA team that will participate in the G League International Challenge. The Challenge is an exhibition game featuring the USA G League players versus the Mexican National Team. The game is scheduled for Feb. 18, 1 p.m. PST, during the NBA All-Star Weekend and will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
- Six players have prior USA Basketball experience: Christon (2017 USA World Cup Qualifying Team-November); Drew (2017 USA World Cup Qualifying Team-November and 2017 USA AmeriCup Team); Harrison (2013 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team); Jones (2015 USA Basketball Showcase White Team, and 2010 Nike Hoop Summit Team); Purvis (2012 USA U18 National Team); and Wear (2017 USA World Cup Qualifying Team-November and 2008 USA U18 National Team).
- Eight of the 14 USA players possess NBA experience, including: Christon (64 games); Drew (15 games); Gee (417); Harrison (26 games); Jones (232 games); Silas (two games); Stockton (three games); and Wear (51 games).
- All 14 selected players boast of NBA G League playing experience; and 13 – Braun, Drew, Gee, Harrison, Jones, McKinney-Jones, Purvis, Silas, Stockton, Thomas, Thornton, Wear and Williams – are currently active in the G League.
- Ten of the players have played professionally overseas: Braun, Christon, Drew, Gee, Jones, Silas, Stockton, Thornton, Wear and Williams.
The USA currently owns a 2-0 record and sits atop of the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying first-round Group C standings after defeating Puerto Rico 85-78 on Nov. 23 and Mexico 91-55 on Nov. 26. Puerto Rico (1-1) and Mexico (1-1) currently list tied for second in the Group C standings, while Cuba (0-2) is fourth.
In the third and final first-round window of the World Cup Qualifying, the USA will play two away games, at Mexico on June 28, 2018, and at Cuba on July 1, 2018.
After completion of the first round, the top three finishing teams in each of the four, Americas first-round groups advance to the second round. The three advancing teams from Group A and Group C will form Group E, while the top three finishers from Group B and Group D will form Group F. The three second-round windows of competition will take place Sept. 13-17, 2018; Nov. 29-Dec. 3, 2018; and Feb. 21-25, 2019.