Featuring seven players boasting of previous FIBA World Cup Qualifying game experience and all 12 athletes possessing NBA G League experience, USA Basketball announced today after four practices the official 12-man roster for the USA World Cup Qualifying Team that will compete in the third window of FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying. The U.S. will face Mexico (2-2) on June 28 in Mexico City and play Cuba (0-4) on July 1 in Havana.
Named to the USA World Cup Qualifying Team were Taylor Braun (Salt Lake City Stars), Alex Caruso (Los Angeles Lakers), Reggie Hearn (Grand Rapids Drive), Jonathan Holmes (Maine Red Claws), Amile Jefferson (Iowa Wolves), Kevin Jones (Baskonia, Spain), Nick Johnson (Austin Spurs), Trey McKinney-Jones (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), Xavier Munford (Wisconsin Herd), David Stockton (Stockton Kings), Rashawn Thomas (Oklahoma City Blue) and Marcus Thornton (Canton Charge).
“They’re together,” said USA World Cup Qualifying Team head coach Jeff Van Gundywhen asked what he liked about his 12-member squad. “This is a good group of committed athletes that I think are going to represent us well. That doesn’t mean that we’ll win, but they’ll represent us well and they’re going to work hard and compete for each other and for the country, and that’s all you can ask.
“It’s a brutally hard decision and all 14 of the players here were deserving. It came down to keeping an extra point guard versus an extra wing and those aren’t easy decisions.”
Returning from the November 2017 USA World Cup Qualifying Team that finished 2-0 are: Hearn, Holmes, Jefferson and Munford
Back after leading the USA to a 2-0 record during the February 2018USA World Cup Qualifying second window are Braun, Stockton and Thomas.
McKinney Jones and Thornton were selected to the roster after previously having to withdraw from the February USA World Cup Qualifying Team training camp due to signing 10-day contracts with NBA teams.
Hearn, Holmes and Munford also represented the USA at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup and helped lead the U.S. to the gold medal with a perfect 5-0 record.
Van Gundy, who led the USA to a 5-0 record and the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup and has led the USA to a 4-0 record in the first two windows of the World Cup Qualifiers, will be assisted by NBA G League Erie Bayhawks head coach Josh Longstaffand former Georgetown University coach John Thompson III.
Standing 4-0 and atop of the Group C first-round standings, the USA is already assured of being one of the three teams from its group to advance to the FIBA World Cup Qualifying second round.
The full Americas World Cup Qualifying schedule is available at usab.com/mens/wc-qualifying/schedule.aspx.
2017-18 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers
Featuring 16 national teams from North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, the FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament for the Americas zone features four preliminary round groups, and each group consists of four teams.
The USA was drawn into Group C and is joined by Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Group A consists of Argentina, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay; Group B is made up by Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela; and Group D consist of Bahamas, Canada, Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Under FIBA’s new competition system, a total of 80 national teams from FIBA’s four regions of Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe are competing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers over 15 months, looking to earn a qualifying berth into 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. 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 USA currently owns a 4-0 record and sits atop of the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying first-round, Group C standings. Puerto Rico (2-2) and Mexico (2-2) currently list tied for second, while Cuba (0-4) 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.
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.
The current two-time defending FIBA World Cup champion, the USA men have participated in 17 FIBA World Cups and have collected 12 medals – five gold medals (1954, 1986, 1994, 2010 and 2014), three silver medals (1950, 1959 and 1982) and four bronze medals (1974, 1990, 1998 and 2006). USA men’s world cup 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. The top two finishing teams in the World Cup from the Americas and Europe, as well as the top finisher from Africa, Asia and Oceania will earn Olympic qualifying berths. 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.