USA Basketball: Durant, Love On Board For World Cup Of Basketball 2014





LAS VEGAS – If they only had the 28 players on this week’s mini-camp roster to choose from, the decision makers at USA Basketball would have plenty of talent for next summer’s World Cup of Basketball competition in Spain.

The beauty of what’s been built under the watch of managing director Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski is that they have plenty of other NBA superstars eager to claim a spot on the roster for the summer of 2014. All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kevin Love were the first two do so, making it official at the end of Wednesday’s mini-camp practice at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

Durant and Love won gold medals in Turkey in 2010 and in London in 2012. They’re aiming to repeat that feat in Spain next summer and will do so as cornerstones of a team that won’t take complete shape until a year from now. They are the first of what could be several other returnees from London to make the commitment for next summer, though Miami Heat four-time MVP LeBron James is not expected to join them.

“I’m excited for this opportunity, to play for Coach K again and to get to play with some of these guys I’ve played with in the past,” said Durant, who suggested that Russell Westbrook and James Harden have also expressed interest in joining the crew that will play in Spain next summer. “This whole program is first class. And I want to be a part of it. We’ll see, hopefully we get some more names added to the list and some of these great young guys out here as well.”

There was a buzz in the gym from the start Wednesday with Durant and Love, two seasoned All-Stars, observing all of the 25-under mini-camp stars from seats between the two courts. Colangelo and Krzyzewski knew Tuesday night that Durant and Love were on board.

“Kevin [Durant] told us [Tuesday night], ‘Coach I wanted to come here and look you in the eye and tell you what I’m doing.’ I get chills thinking about it … a guy of his stature and his accomplishment, for these two guys to come here shows what they think of the program and the people involved. To do it face-to-face, we appreciate that very much.”

Colangelo referred to Durant as “kind of the face” of the USA Basketball program going forward, a distinction Durant will likely carry through to the 2016 Olympics as well.

“Kevin Durant coming out like he has and saying I’m going for it and I want to play, is a tremendous statement,” Colangelo said. “He’s his own man. I understand guys talk and influence one another. But Kevin is going to be the face, he’s going to be a leader going forward and I think others are going to respond because of his presence.”

That’s why the, the impact of Wednesday’s announcement, speaks to the continuation of Colangelo’s larger plan, which was to turn national team work into a privilege and a duty that all players covet and not the drag or burden it appeared to be for many members of the previous generation of stars.

“It starts with infrastructure,” Colangelo said. “You have good leadership in place and then you lay the ground work and then you ge the guys to buy in and then it starts to snowball. And right now, I mean where it was,no one really cared. So it’s totally flip-flopped to a point now where I get calls from guys during the [NBA regular] season from guys saying, ‘How am I doing? How am I playing?’ And that’s kind of neat. My job is to keep encouraging all of them.”

Peer pressure works as well. When the elite stars invest their time the way James, Durant, Love and so many others have in recent years, it becomes a movement among the players. There is a prestige involved with the program now that wasn’t there as recently as a decade ago. An invite to a mini-camp this summer could turn into a roster spot one day, if not next summer maybe in a few years.

“Listen, not everyone is going to be on our team,” Colangelo said. “That’s impossible. It’s a numbers game. But I think these guys that come through our program, at every level and certainly the Select Team, they are better players for it and better people for the experience because they are being exposed to this environment, which I think is very healthy for all of them.”

16 Comments

  1. ILLu$Trious. says:

    Rose is definitely gonna make Team USA, slow start or not.

  2. GrizzliesForLife says:

    U.S. better come prepared again! I hope Carmelo, Harden, Blake, Westbrook, Rose, George and other big names follow Durant’s and Love’s lead because that Spanish team is NOT A JOKE! Plus its gonna be played IN SPAIN so Spaniards will have home-court advantage and that’s always a factor!
    Other teams that will be fighting for the medal are Russia, Argentina, Lithuania and France!

  3. Dl-0 says:

    No matter who wins in the East ! Blazers will win all at the end of the season

  4. B Radd says:

    There’s only one ball, international rules can be a little tricky. USA did not fair very well in ’04 and ’98.

  5. Withnail says:

    Sorry*** there are some grammatical errors above. I will check next time before I submit.

  6. Withnail says:

    Is Blake Griffin there? He may only be top three, at best as a 4 in the NBA, but he is the face of the league to many outside the USA. Griffin is the best dunker in the game today and has the potential to be remembered as one of the greats at his position if keeo develop a more rounded post game, both offensively and defensively. This year is make or break with Doc Rivers, because expectations are defence is what the Clippers need, and Doc is all about that. I hope Griffin and co can make the switch, and beat down on their LA counterparts for this year at least. The west, thus far hasn’t improved much with the exception of Houston (obviously) and LAC could make an impact.

  7. #Clippers says:

    How could you forget about CP3? He’s the best PG, and yes I personally put him above France’s Parker.

  8. Paulo Mendes says:

    What about LeBron? Will he be available?

  9. […] Hang Time: Durant, Love on board for Team USA […]

  10. if they will be on the future team usa team…they might bag another gold medal

    • ac says:

      Really hope Kevin Love can stay healthy, the way he plays the game is so awesome.

    • TheStarMiddleschooler says:

      IF Durant and Westbrook and Harden are on the Team USA. We win. All of the other teams are horrible but spain. but we got Demarucs, Monroe, Drummond, and Irving starting at PG

      • hahaha other teams are horrible? dude you should really watch international basketball…there are other solid teams out there like lithuania, greece, turkey, argentina…hey…lithuania can even beat your USA team in the future, their young players are pretty skilled ;)

      • French okc fan says:

        France is almost as good as spain

      • USA Basketballer says:

        i understand D-cousins and Kyrie, and maybe Monroe, but Drummond!!!!!!
        And if KD, Westbrook, and Harden play we’ll do great….
        Wait the other teams all are horrible? USA beat Lithuania by 5 and were down with two minutes to go! France and Brazil have great teams and don’t forget about Russia?

      • Jack says:

        Yes, the four of Irving, Demarucs, Monroe and Drummond are going to dominate the PG. Its guna bee epuc!