Later this month, when Kevin Durant and Kevin Love lead 20 players into a Las Vegas training camp trying to make the Team USA squad for the FIBA World Cup in Spain in August, they practice against some of the best young players in the game.
Names of who will be on that USA Select team of young stars started to leak out Friday.
Marcus Smart, Doug McDermott, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, and both Miles and Mason Plumlee received invites, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Michael Carter-Williams got an invite but had to turn it down after a recent shoulder surgery, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. Other players certainly have been invited but we do not yet have the full list.
It’s an interesting group of names so far. McDermott has excelled at the Summer League in Las Vegas with a game that could do well in international play — he can certainly shoot with range, but he can also put the ball on the floor and has good court vision and IQ. Defense… well, he’s a rookie still with things to work on. Oladipo had a good rookie season, and the Plumlee brothers both provide size and mobility.
They are all about to get invaluable experience.
They are going to work out with and go up against the best players in the world — to see how they train, their mental focus, their understanding of the game. They will see what it takes to reach the highest levels.
For Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Team USA, it’s a chance to start evaluating young players who may be future parts of USA Basketball squads. Guys such as Kyrie Irving and DeMarcus Cousins, who are expected to be on the USA roster for Spain, started on this USA Select team.