HoopsHype Team USA rumors

August 26, 2014 Updates

It certainly wasn't a defense and not even an explanation, but in an interview with a North Carolina newspaper, Mike Krzyzewski talks about why he chose his former center for Team USA ... and how USA Basketball only decided at the last minute to choose a select team to practice against the senior team. "We weren't even sure we were going to have a Select team for the training in Las Vegas, so that was a last-minute addition, just having a Select team," Krzyzewski told Bret Stretlow of The Fayetteville Observer. "The Select team did a terrific job, and Mason all of a sudden came to the forefront and made us say, 'Shouldn't we look at this guy? We have the perimeter, but what about the bigs?' NetsDaily

August 25, 2014 Updates

Kyrie Irving will start opposite Goran Dragic at point guard Tuesday night when Team USA plays Slovenia in its final tuneup game leading into the FIBA World Cup. But Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, in tabbing Irving as his starter against the Dragic-led Slovenians, told ESPN.com that one option under consideration is letting Irving and Derrick Rose trade ‎off as the starter throughout the tournament, which opens Saturday in Bilbao with the Yanks facing Finland. "We'll see as thing goes on," Krzyzewski said after Monday's two-hour practice. "We might alternate 'em. Both of them are going to play significant minutes." ESPN.com

Krzyzewski says he can also envision Irving and Rose playing together once the tournament starts as Rose continues to acclimate himself to full-speed basketball after two major knee injuries limited him to just 10 games over the last two seasons with the Chicago Bulls. "I asked him today and he said, 'I feel great,' " Krzyzewski said of Rose. "He did everything. He's full go. I think there's a part of him that's like: 'Quit asking me how I feel. I'm good.' So I'm not going to ask him any more." ESPN.com

August 24, 2014 Updates

Thompson said he isn’t worried about playing for Team USA leaving him tired for the long season the Warriors are expecting. He’s a heavy minute guy with a big task. Conventional wisdom says he will need rest to prepare for the grueling task of chasing point guards and being a key cog to the offense. The way he sees it, this experience will help him. “I’m 24. I’m young. I shouldn’t be tired,” Thompson said. “I’m not playing 40 minutes. I’m playing 15 minutes, 20 minutes. It’s even better than working out at home. I would never get this competition working at home. And it’s a different style of basketball so I’ll be learning somethings i can add to my game. I’ll be in great shape when I come into camp and be ready to go. “I played at 220 last year,” he added. “That was too heavy. I cut down to 215. I can feel the difference already. I have more energy. I’ve got to be in optimal shape. I’ve got to be able to move really fluidly on both sides of the ball. It’s a tall task. Man, I’m young. If I take care of my body and eat right, I’ll be able to do it. I did it last year so I’m sure I can do it this year.” San Jose Mercury-News

August 23, 2014 Updates
August 22, 2014 Updates

For the second time in three games, Andre Drummond didn't play in one of Team USA's exhibitions. That might not bode well for Drummond's chances of making the team that will travel to Spain for the upcoming World Cup. The Detroit Pistons center is battling for the No. 3 center's job behind Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings. And despite scoring 12 points in a rout over the Dominican Republic, he didn't get off the bench in Friday's 112-86 victory over Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden. Booth Newspapers

That count stretches to only nine if you include two players USAB sources say have emerged as Krzyzewski favorites -- Golden State's Klay Thompson and Brooklyn's Mason Plumlee -- and then presume Rose and DeMarcus Cousins (bruised knee) will be healthy enough to fulfill their planned roles. "I'm not going to do assumptions," Krzyzewski said of Rose. "I think he's ready. I'm thinking about him playing and being there [in Spain]." ESPN.com

The date previously known in basketball circles as the first day No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins is eligible to be dealt by Cleveland to Minnesota in a Love swap, will also be when we learn the identities of the players Team USA is leaving behind when it travels to Spain in advance of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN.com that team officials, after initially weighing the prospect of announcing some roster moves before Thursday's practice, will huddle late into the night after Friday evening's exhibition against Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden to finalize the roster decisions that can be delayed no longer. ESPN.com

And we say twosome, trio or quartet because Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski are still deciding whether to take 12, 13 or even 14 of the 16 players currently in camp to Spain to buy an extra week of evaluation time, since the roster doesn't have to be officially sliced to 12 for the World Cup until Aug. 29. "Like in anything, whatever we decide, we'll be questioned," Krzyzewski acknowledged after Thursday's non-contact practice at the New York Athletic Club. ESPN.com

Faried appears to be in good position to make the 12-man squad that will represent the United States at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. While not taking anything for granted, he is looking forward to the next step in the journey. “My anticipation level is high,” he said. “I’m excited about this whole experience. I’m excited to wake up every day and play the game I love, especially at this level. I’m very anxious to go out there and win this gold and come back home and say I’m one of the lucky few that was able to play for a gold medal for this team.” Self-confidence has never been a problem for Faried, who was selected by the Nuggets 22nd overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. It also has served him well while training under Hall of Fame coach Krzyzewski. “Coach said to be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not,” Faried said. NBA.com

For the record: Sources say that, in Team USA staff meetings, deciding how many bigs to carry is the issue that has been generating the most discussion. Even more, in other words, than Rose's situation. Coach K, though, was only prepared to confirm that sending players home is indeed "the worst thing" about the USA Basketball experience he has come to cherish since adding this job to his Duke duties in 2005. ESPN.com

August 21, 2014 Updates

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