Jordan Crawford, Henry Ellenson headline Team USA for next round of World Cup qualifying
It’s been a strange qualifying process for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, thanks to FIBA idiotically putting qualifying windows during the traditional basketball season and hoping to eventually encourage league-wide breaks as is seen in soccer. Good luck with that. All it did was weaken the talent pool for teams.
Even with this next qualifying window right before NBA training camps open, most players are not taking part. There are a handful of NBA players expected to suit up for their countries in the September FIBA World Cup Qualifying window. For example, Sacramento’s Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic are expected to play for Serbia, then there’s Tristan Thompson for Canada and Cedi Osman for Turkey, but they are the exception to the rule.
The USA is sticking with its plan of sending a team made of free agents and G-League players coached by Jeff Van Gundy — who have gone 5-1 so far in qualifying — and on Monday announced the 14 players who are coming to USA Basketball training camp, 12 of whom will be on the team that will face Uraguay and Panama next month. The players are:
• Bryce Alford (Oklahoma City Blue)
• Dwayne Bacon (Charlotte Hornets)
• V.J. Beachem (Free Agent)
• Jordan Crawford (New Orleans Pelicans)
• Henry Ellenson (Detroit Pistons)
• Isaiah Hicks (New York Knicks)
• Reggie Hearn (Grand Rapids Drive)
• Dakari Johnson (Free Agent)
• Frank Mason III (Sacramento Kings)
• Ben Moore (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
• Chasson Randle (Capital City Go-Go)
• Travis Trice (Milwaukee Bucks)
• Jameel Warney (Texas Legends)
• Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs)
“With our September second-round games marking the start of the most critical part of the World Cup Qualifying, I think it is imperative for us to look for players who possess mental fortitude, who are tough, and who have experience,” said Van Gundy. “All of our second-round games are going to very, very difficult and competitive battles. Argentina, Panama and Uruguay are all really good and well coached.
“It’s good to have Reggie (Hearn) and Jameel (Warney) back, they’ve already experienced how tough these games are. And by looking to players who have played in the NBA and internationally, I’m hoping we have the experience required to win and qualify the United States for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.”
The U.S. will host Uruguay on Sept. 14 (7 p.m. Pacific Time) at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion, then travels to take on Panama on Sept. 17 in Panama City.