The 19-man pool from which the 12-man roster for the 2014 USA Men’s National Team that will be competing at the FIBA World Cup (formerly known as the World Championship) this summer in Spain was announced this morning, and Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who drew much praise for his performance at the Team USA minicamp back in July of 2013, is included. Lillard was one of the 26 players included in the initial pool of players announced back in January, so it’s no surprise that the second-year guard out of Weber State has been invited to compete for one of those roster spots, especially after his performance during the 2013-14 NBA regular and post season.
From the USA Basketball press release …
Featuring 19 players, including two players who are new additions to the 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team roster, USA Basketball Chairman and National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo today announced this summer’s USA Basketball Men’s National Team from which the 2014 USA World Cup Team will be selected.
Added to the 2014-16 USA National Team roster and participating in the July-28-Aug. 1 USA National Team training camp in Las Vegas, Nevada, are NBA standouts DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors) and Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks).
Previously named USA National Team members who are confirmed to participate in the 2014 Las Vegas training camp include: Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Paul George (Indiana Pacers); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); James Harden (Houston Rockets); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks); Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors).
What does come as a bit of a surprise is that LaMarcus Aldridge, who was also on the initial list of potential Team USA players, is not on the roster. A source confirmed that Aldridge was initially invited, but has since withdrawn his name from consideration (USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo apparently said the same thing after the roster announcement was made).
“We can only offer an opportunity,” Colangelo said in a conference call Monday morning, “and then they can either accept or not. In Aldridge’s case, this has happened a couple of times previously. But the bottom line is he advised us that he’s not available.”
It’s not entirely clear why Aldridge decided not to make himself available for the 2014 World Cup team, though it’s possible that he’s simply opting to use the summer to rest and prepare for the Trail Blazers 2014-15 season.
On the international side, Trail Blazers Nicolas Batum and Victor Claver are expected to play for France and Spain, respectively, at the 2014 World Cup, which begins August 30.