LAS VEGAS -- With the sweltering summer heat trapped outside where it belongs, Team USA kicked off training camp Monday morning at the Mendenhall Center on the campus of UNLV.
Kings assistant coaches Jesse Mermuys and Bobby Jackson are in attendance, working as support staff for the Select Team. They’ll get some time with second-year forward Marvin Bagley, who is getting his first taste of the national team program.
Harrison Barnes is vying for a spot on the traveling roster that will compete in the World Cup in China during the coming weeks and he picked up a new potential teammate early Monday morning when point guard De’Aaron Fox was added to the training camp roster for Team USA.
Nothing is set in stone, but both Barnes and Fox have a legitimate shot at making the squad that will face off against the Czech Republic for Game 1 of the World Cup tournament.
Barnes, one of the few remaining holdovers from the 2016 gold medal Olympic team, has plenty of competition at the wing. His experience with the national team program and his ability to play multiple positions plays in his favor and he has a very good chance of playing in China.
While Fox is a late addition to the Team USA training camp roster, he becomes just the second healthy point guard at the camp, joining veteran Kemba Walker. Kyle Lowry is on the roster as well, but he’s coming off thumb surgery and isn’t available during the first week of camp.
The training camp last Aug. 5-9 and will be capped off with an inter-squad battle Friday evening in Las Vegas.
Following the week in Vegas, the camp reduces in size and heads to Los Angeles where the group will prepare for a friendly matchup against Spain on Aug. 16 at the Honda Center.
By that point, we should have a better idea of who will make the traveling team that heads first to Melbourne, Australia for another three days of training, building up to a matchup against Australia on Aug. 22.
The team will stick around Melbourne until Aug. 28, playing another tuneup game against Canada on Aug. 26. On Aug. 29, the team is expected in Shanghai for three more days of training building up to the first round of games.
Team USA will start with the Czech Republic on Sept.1. They’ll face off against Turkey on Sept. 3 and then Japan on Sept. 5. If all goes well, the second round starts on Sept. 6, with periodic games building up to the World Cup final on Sept. 15.
It’s a whirlwind of action that ends less than two weeks before Kings training camp is scheduled to open in late September.
Barnes, Bagley and Fox aren’t the only Kings players going through World Cup training camp this summer. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica are both parts of a very good Serbian National team and rookie Isaiah Pineiro is scheduled to compete for a spot with Puerto Rico.
With all of these players competing for their international teams, Kings fans will get ample opportunity to watch some of their own compete on the world stage.