MIAMI (AFP) — In a surprising turn of events, the United States will enter the upcoming Basketball World Cup in August with a team led by coach Steve Kerr, but noticeably absent are any of the NBA’s marquee players.
On Thursday, the 12-man roster for the tournament, scheduled to take place from August 25 to September 10 in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, was unveiled.
Team USA comprises a mere four players who have earned the coveted title of All-Stars. The selected All-Stars include Tyrese Haliburton, the talented point guard from the Indiana Pacers, Anthony Edwards, the dynamic guard from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Brandon Ingram, the skilled forward from the New Orleans Pelicans, and Jaren Jackson Jr., the formidable power forward from the Memphis Grizzlies who was also honored as the Best Defensive Player last season. Adding to the roster is Paolo Banchero from the Orlando Magic, who secured the prestigious title of the 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Expressing his enthusiasm, Kerr, a four-time NBA championship-winning coach, stated, “My staff and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to coach such talented, team-oriented players. I’m confident this group will represent our country exceptionally well, demonstrating their dedication to teamwork, talent, and a shared commitment to victory. We eagerly look forward to competing for a gold medal in the upcoming World Cup this summer.”
To prepare for the tournament, Team USA will convene in Las Vegas on August 3, where they will engage in friendly matches against Puerto Rico. Following that, they will face formidable opponents Slovenia and Spain in Malaga on August 12 and 13, respectively. Subsequently, the team will travel to Abu Dhabi for a showdown against Greece on August 18 and Germany two days later.
In the World Cup, the United States finds themselves in Group C, alongside Greece, New Zealand, and Jordan. Although the United States has secured five World Cup titles in the past, their performance in the 2019 edition was disappointing, as they finished in seventh place after winning the previous two tournaments consecutively.
As basketball fans eagerly await the start of the tournament, the absence of top NBA stars on the Team USA roster adds an intriguing twist, leaving room for new and emerging talents to make their mark on the global stage.