USA Basketball selected 28 players to be in a pool with a chance to go to the World Cup of Basketball in Spain this summer and the Rio Olympics in 2016 on Thursday.
Eleven players from the 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball team remain in the national team pool. Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Kevin Love, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, Anthony Davis, Tyson Chandler, and Andre Iguodala are the player from the 2012 Olympic team that were selected. Other players that were selected are Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose, Houston’s Dwight Howard, Clipper’s Blake Griffin, Indiana’s Paul George, Stephen Curry, David Lee, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Atlanta’s Kyle Korver, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Denver’s Kenneth Faried, and Utah’s Gordon Hayward, according to the Associated Press. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is back as coach of the American team.
The group includes the NBA’s top ten scorers. Half of the players have won gold at the Olympic or the world basketball championships. James, Anthony, Paul, and Williams all played on the last two Olympic gold medal winning teams. The roster for the 2014 World Cup will be made from this group of players.
“The roster itself is the strongest roster we’ve ever had,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told USA Today. “The excitement for coach and me is how we’ve brought these players through our infrastructure through the years.”
The U.S. team will have to cut the roster down to 12 before the World Cup in Spain. If the U.S. wins the World Cup, they will automatically qualify for the Rio Olympics. If they don’t win the world title, then they will have to play in an Olympic qualifying tournament next year.
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