Rookie stars among warm-up foes for US world team
July 24, 2014, 12:08 am TWN
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Orlando's Victor Oladipo and Utah's Trey Burke were among 13 players named Tuesday to a USA Select squad that will help train America's Basketball World Cup squad of NBA stars.
The Select team, featuring five NBA rookies, is a first step for young players into the USA Basketball talent pool that has produced gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and a 62-1 record since settling for bronze at the 2004 Athens Games.
NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant and three other members of the squad that won Olympic gold two years ago in London were named last week to the U.S. team that will defend the world title in Spain in September.
The Select unit that will train against them in Las Vegas during a selection camp will include NBA All-Rookie Team players Oladipo, Burke, Tim Hardaway Jnr of New York and Mason Plumlee of Brooklyn plus All-Rookie second-teammer Cody Zeller of Charlotte.
Others on the Select team include Golden State's Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, Chicago's Jimmy Butler and Doug McDermott, Orlando's Tobias Harris, Phoenix's Miles Plumlee, Boston's Marcus Smart and Cleveland's Dion Waiters.
Smart was the sixth overall selection in last month's NBA Draft while McDermott was taken 11th overall.
"USA Basketball's Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game's brightest and most promising young players experience at the U.S. national team level and getting them into our pipeline," U.S. national team director Jerry Colangelo said.
"Being chosen for the Select Team is an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball's national team program in the future. 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."