USA Basketball Rumors
The 29-year-old was slated to join the USA Basketball men’s team in London in 2012, but a torn meniscus in his left knee forced him to withdraw. In 2014, as the United States was preparing for the FIBA World Cup tournament in Spain, hoping to secure an automatic bid to the 2016 Olympics, Griffin pulled out in July for what he told The Athletic was a lingering knee issue that needed to be addressed. “He was very much in the mix of making a couple of teams and injuries at the very last moment took him out,” USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo said following the announcement.
Pop and the rest of the players (including Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard) are expected to attend the July 25-27 USA Men’s National Team minicamp in Las Vegas and for the newly minted head coach, he couldn’t be any more honored at the opportunity. “This is quite an honor and humbling experience to be involved with USA Basketball and this group of players,” Popovich said. “… In all honesty, from the time Jerry decided they wanted to go this route, it’s been on my mind as far as preparation is concerned. I’m sure as we meet this summer (for national team minicamp in Las Vegas), it will become more and more.”
USA Basketball Men’s National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and Team USA coach Gregg Popovich both said they picked Booker because of his youth and what he’s shown. “He’s one of the outstanding young players in the league,” Colangelo said. “We’re projecting where these players might be a year or two from now. He’s one of the young guys that we decided we want to take a real good look at.”
“He was with the team last summer that participated with the group and scrimmaged against the Olympic team and he played really well,” Popovich said. “He’s not just a talented player. He’s a heck of a competitor.”
Although no Utah Jazz players were selected among the 35 picked for Team USA, managing director Jerry Colangelo said the committee is certainly keeping their eyes on the team’s young rising star in Donovan Mitchell. “For the moment the list we submitted is the list and I said also it’s a very fluid list,” Colangelo said. “It could be some additions, but for sure we see Donovan Mitchell as someone involved in USA Basketball as we move forward.”
“Well, we had a lot of discussion about Donovan Mitchell. He’s had a terrific rookie season and another class, character guy,” Colangelo said. “So, as we move forward here, Pop and I are talking about the possibility of bringing in some young studs like him as we have in the past getting ready for different competitions to be part of it.”