- POSTED: 15 Jul 2014 03:12
NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant and three other members of the 2012 Olympic championship team were named in the 19-man US training camp for the Basketball World Cup.
WASHINGTON: NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant and three other members of the 2012 Olympic championship team were named on Monday in the 19-man US training camp for the Basketball World Cup.
Oklahoma City Thunder star and NBA Most Valuable Player Durant, Minnesota big man Kevin Love, Houston guard James Harden and New Orleans standout Anthony Davis were among those on the London squad which captured gold.
The Americans will try to defend their title at the Basketball World Cup in Spain from August 30-September 14. They join New Zealand, Turkey, Finland, Ukraine and Dominican Republic in Group C in the first round of the 24-nation event.
Durant and Love will also be reunited with two of their teammates from the 2010 world champion squad - Golden State's Steph Curry and Chicago's Derrick Rose.
"We're going to have to lean heavily on the leadership of the guys who have been there the past two times, especially Kevin Durant and Kevin Love. We're going to rely a lot on those two guys," US coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Rose has played little over the past two seasons because of injuries to both knees but Krzyzewski hopes he will be at peak form in September.
"We'd like to see him play like the Derrick of old," he said. "What we've heard is he's in great shape. Hopefully this would be a launching pad for him to have a great NBA season."
Notably absent from the squad are four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, who last week announced he would leave the Miami Heat to return to Cleveland, plus Los Angeles Clippers playmaker Chris Paul and New York's Carmelo Anthony.
"We never really expected any of those players to participate in this competition," said USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo. "That was kind of a foreknown conclusion in conversations with them, that they would not.
"To maintain the continuity, we need turnover in every competition so players who aspire to represent the USA will have the opportunity.
"They certainly will be under consideration for the 2016 Olympics."
Only the World Cup winners qualify automatically for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
If the Americans fail to defend their crown, they will have to seek an Olympic berth at next year's Tournament of the Americas.
Toronto's DeMar DeRozan and Chandler Parsons, who has signed with Dallas after playing last season for Houston, were named as newcomers to the USA Basketball talent pool starting with this world selection camp.
Others attending include Washington's Bradley Beal, Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins, Detroit's Andre Drummond, Denver's Kenneth Faried, Indiana's Paul George, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, Utah's Gordon Hayward, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, Atlanta's Kyle Korver, Portland's Damian Lillard and Golden State's Klay Thompson.
The NBA players will take part in the camp from July 28-August 1 in Las Vegas, concluding with an inter-squad scrimmage, after which the roster will likely be trimmed to 15 players.
Those selected will gather August 14-15 in Chicago and play exhibition games against Brazil in Chicago on August 16, Dominican Republic on August 20 in New York and Puerto Rico two days later in New York before a final cut to 12 men.
The Americans will stage a training camp in Spain concluding with a match against Slovenia on August 26.
The United States is 62-1 since settling for bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics and launching the current national team program.
"What we've learned over the years is be flexible, be adaptable," Krzyzewski said.
"We know the neighbourhood a lot better that we're living in. Before that, the NBA would try to impose the neighbourhood they were living in and it wasn't working. We're just much more familiar with everything and that has helped us."