USA Basketball and the NBA G League Santa Cruz Warriors today announced that Kaiser Permanente Arena, home of the Santa Cruz Warriors, will host two USA 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 in Santa Cruz. . Both games are scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. PST.
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.
Tickets for both USA Basketball games in Santa Cruz are scheduled to go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, December 19, 2:00 p.m. (PST). For information on accessing tickets before the public on sale, call (831) 713-4400. Full details on tickets can be found at www.santacruzbasketball.com.
“With our first two World Cup Qualifying games now behind us and looking ahead to our two February home games, USA Basketball is excited about the opportunity to partner with the Santa Cruz Warriors for these important games versus Cuba and Puerto Rico,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO. “With outstanding coaching from USA head coach Jeff Van Gundy and his staff, and incredible passion and team play from the G League players who accepted the challenge of representing the United States in these qualifying games, we’re looking forward to playing some exciting basketball in front of a home crowd.”
“In the six seasons since the arrival of the Warriors, Santa Cruz has become synonymous with passionate basketball fandom and the best home court advantage in the NBA G League,” said Santa Cruz Warriors President Chris Murphy. “We’re excited to showcase the incredible talent the G League and USA Basketball has to offer to our fans on February 23 and 26, from the world-class players on the court to the decorated coaching staff on the sidelines.”
Former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, who directed the USA men to wins in their first two World Cup Qualifying games, will continue to serve as head coach of the USA Basketball men’s national teams. Veteran international coach Mo McHone and former Georgetown University coach John Thompson III will again serve as USA assistant coaches.
Players selected to represent the USA in the World Cup Qualifying games are again expected to primarily be from the NBA G League, the NBA’s official minor league, and will be selected by the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team Committee.
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, 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.
Following completion of the Americas second-round games, seven teams will qualify out of the zone for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, including the top three finishing teams from second-round Group E and Group F, and the best fourth placed team between Group E and Group F.
Under FIBA’s new competition system, a total of 80 national teams from FIBA’s four regions of Africa, Americas, Asia (which now includes Oceania) and Europe are competing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers over 15 months looking to earn a qualifying berth in the 32-team 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup competition that will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 15 in China.
The FIBA World Cup Qualifying games are being used to qualify 31 of the 32 nations that will compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. China automatically qualified as the host nation of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Five teams will qualify from Africa, seven teams from the Americas, seven teams from Asia (which now includes Oceania) and 12 European teams will qualify.
The current two-time defending World Cup champion USA men have participated in 17 FIBA World Cups and have collected 12 medals – 5 gold medals (1954, 1986, 1994, 2010 and 2014), 3 silver medals (1950, 1959 and 1982) and 4 bronze medals (1974, 1990, 1998 and 2006). USA teams own an overall record of 123-27.
Results from the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 will qualify seven teams for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Additionally, Olympic host, Japan, automatically qualified, and the final four nations will qualify through four FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments that will be held in 2020 in advance of the Olympics.
Members of the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Committee include: Chair Sean Ford (USA Basketball), Trajan Langdon (NBA G League), Adam Simon (NBA G League), Gersson Rosas (At-Large), Brad Walker (NBA G League) and Damien Wilkins (Athlete Representative).
About USA Basketball
Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA Basketball, chaired by ret. General Martin E. Dempsey, is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions, and for the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety.
For further information about USA Basketball, go to the official website of USA Basketball at www.usab.com and connect with us on facebook.com/usabasketball, twitter.com/usabasketball, instagram.com/usabasketball and youtube.com/usab.
About the NBA G League
The NBA’s official minor league, the NBA G League prepares players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 26 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchises for the 2017-18 season, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. An all-time high 44 percent of all NBA players at the end of the 2016-17 season boasted NBA G League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA Cares programs. NBA G League games are available on ESPN’s family of networks and NBA TV.