While some may look at it as the consolation prize, there are a lot of players who view it as a real honor to be named to the USA Basketball Men’s Select Team. Essentially, they’re the “B” team — the team that will be training with the USA Basketball Men’s National Team in Las Vegas, Nevada. A big reason for having them there is to get them the invaluable experience that playing alongside the National Team provides.
Look at some of our overseas competitors and how they’re often a step ahead of the United States when it comes to international competition. The reason for that? They’ve cultivated their program and they’ve been working together for many years before the players actually get together to play in international matches. The United States have started to catch onto this, which is why they started this program back in 2007.
Jerry Colangelo had this to say in the official news release:
“USA Basketball’s Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline. Again this summer, as was done in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the members of the USA Select Team will play an important role in helping prepare the USA National Team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball’s National Team program in the future. In the past, current national team players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team.”
The list of players doesn’t read like a Hall-of-Fame list, but they could be dubbed the “All-Potential” stars. Here’s the full list:
- Miles Plumlee
- Mason Plumlee
- Harrison Barnes
- Trey Burke
- Jimmy Butler
- Draymond Green
- Tim Hardaway Jr.
- Tobias Harris
- Doug McDermott
- Victor Oladipo
- Marcus Smart
- Dion Waiters
- Cody Zeller
The ability to learn from guys like Kevin Durant, Paul George, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose and Kevin Love (to name a few) could make a huge difference — especially for guys like McDermott and Smart, who are still getting their NBA feet wet.
In addition to having world-class players to learn from, the coaching staff is top notch:
- Mike Krzyzewski
- Jim Boeheim
- Tom Thibodeau
- Monty Williams
The training schedule starts July 28 in Las Vegas, with the first exhibition games against other countries starting on August 16 (vs. Brazil) in Chicago, Illinois. The FIBA World Cup runs from August 30-September 14 in Spain.