If you haven’t heard the news, Team USA will be hosting a fantasy camp from July 23-25 in Las Vegas in which four teams will compete for a championship in a basketball fan’s dream-like tournament. The players in this tournament? Fans who can fork up $7,500 for the three-day experience. This event will be going on during the time when the national team will be practicing, in which head coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant coaches Jim Boeheim, Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams will be looking at possible players for the 2016 Olympic roster and the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. The minicamp for the players who were invited to fight for a spot on Team USA will run from July 22-25. Cavs fans have players fighting for a roster spot as well.
The more important news other than having your hopes of getting hands-on training with some of the best collegiate coaches after seeing the price tag is that Team USA selected a 27-man roster on Wednesday in preparation for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The 25 roster spots that are already filled on Team USA’s Select Team are listed below by position:
PG: Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Damian Lillard, Ty Lawson, Kemba Walker, Mike Conley
SG: Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward, Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, DeMar DeRozan
SF: Harrison Barnes, Kawhi Leonard, Chandler Parsons, Paul George
PF: Derrick Favors, Taj Gibson, Ryan Anderson, Kenneth Faried
C: Larry Sanders, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins, Tyler Zeller, Anthony Davis
If we rewind to last summer when the point guards on Team USA’s gold-medal roster were Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams, we can take guesses on whether or not Kyrie has a chance to make the Olympic squad for the 2014 and 2016 games. Derrick Rose, who is still recovering from that irritating ACL injury, would probably have been on the roster and Chauncey Billups were also set to be on the roster, and I can see Rose making it on the roster in 2014. As for Paul and Williams, I could see them stepping away and letting the youngsters go at it. FIBA was going to set an age restriction at 23, but they decided against it. I would say that I definitely expect Westbrook to be back on the roster, so I would bet that there is one spot left up for grabs on the roster. Kyrie can definitely outmuscle the crop of point guards laid out above if need be.
Remember what Kyrie did against the 2012 Olympic team last summer during the scrimmages with the Select Team? He made All-Stars like James Harden, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant look foolish in the matter of seconds. That gave the then reigning Rookie of the Year enough confidence to go up to Kobe and challenge him to a game of one-on-one. Although Kobe is still recovering, I’m sure the matchup has not gone forgotten. One day the $50,000 charity pickup game will happen and we will be dazzled because hopefully Kyrie’s defense will be touched up under new head coach Mike Brown. Plus, Kyrie’s relationship with Coach K at Duke and already impressive resume (All-Star, ROY, 3-point champion, clutch gene)makes him an early favorite.
However, there are rumors that after Stephen Curry’s impressive run in the playoffs this season, he may be given a spot on the roster regardless of his absence in the late July camp. I still have firm faith that we will see our very own Kyrie donning an Olympic jersey in Rio I 2016. It would be a special moment for a player so early in his career to be able to mark off another incredible performance on his ever-growing list.