LAS VEGAS (AP) — The first order of enterprise for USA Basketball on Friday evening was thanking its followers, so Donovan Mitchell grabbed a microphone to ship the pregame message.
He obtained proper to the purpose.
“We look forward to going out to China, representing the USA, and winning the gold,” Mitchell mentioned.
And now, step one of preparing for an unprecedented third straight Basketball World Cup title is full.
USA Basketball held its Blue-White recreation to wrap up every week of coaching camp in Las Vegas, and the Blue squad — the nationwide staff candidates, for essentially the most half — had little hassle in beating the White squad composed principally of younger up-and-coming NBA gamers, 97-78. Jayson Tatum scored 17 factors for the Blue, which obtained 14 from Kemba Walker and 12 from De’Aaron Fox.
Everybody who was speculated to play did, new U.S. coach Gregg Popovich obtained to tinker with a whole lot of combos and nobody obtained significantly damage — fortunately, there was no reprise of the scene just like the one 5 years in the past throughout a USA Basketball exhibition recreation in Las Vegas, when Paul George suffered a horrible decrease leg harm.
In brief, that made the evening a hit. Everything else was simply particulars.
“It’s the beginning, a new tournament, another World Cup and I think our guys are making progress,” Popovich mentioned. “They haven’t played together before. Showing great effort, doing a good job in a lot of different ways, just trying to get used to each other and form a team. We’re still in those early stages of trying to get together, figure out how we want to play and learn about each other.”
Next up: Week 2 of camp, beginning Tuesday on the Los Angeles Lakers’ apply facility in El Segundo, California. Miami’s Bam Adebayo and Chicago’s Thaddeus Young had been reduce from the nationwide staff Friday evening, with Derrick White and Marvin Bagley III transferring up from the White squad for subsequent week’s camp.
Those strikes depart the listing of candidates for the 12-man nationwide staff at 17, counting injured gamers Kyle Lowry and Marcus Smart — each of whom stay within the combine.
“I keep saying, ‘We’re going to be OK,’” USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo mentioned. “We’re going to be OK.”
White — who performs for Popovich in San Antonio, and was getting coached up by him a bit throughout Friday’s scrimmage as nicely — completed with 12 factors and 7 assists for the White staff, coached by Jeff Van Gundy. John Collins additionally scored 12 and Jonathan Isaac added 11 factors for the White squad.
Popovich and his employees could have about two extra weeks to determine which 12 gamers will probably be in China on the World Cup roster. The event begins Aug. 31 and the Americans open group play on Sept. 1 towards the Czech Republic in Shanghai.
Popovich began Mitchell, Walker, Jaylen Brown, Myles Turner and Khris Middleton, although he cautioned about studying a lot into that. The subsequent 5 into the sport was Tatum, Fox, Brook Lopez, Joe Harris and Kyle Kuzma.
From there, Harrison Barnes, P.J. Tucker, Mason Plumlee, Adebayo and Young finally obtained labored in.
“I think it’s incumbent on the staff to figure out the best combinations as far as roles are concerned,” Popovich mentioned.
The Blue led by as many as 30.
Lowry, the purpose guard for the NBA champion Toronto Raptors instructed NBA TV throughout the recreation that he’ll meet along with his surgeon, Dr. Michelle Carlson from the Hospital for Special Surgery, on Monday — at which period he might know when he can return to motion. Lowry, who had surgical procedure final month to restore a torn tendon in his left thumb, is hoping to take part in nationwide staff exercises subsequent week. “Hopefully she gives me some good news,” Lowry mentioned. He’s been in a splint for about 4 weeks.
Former USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and his spouse Mickie had been courtside. Krzyzewski led the Americans to an 88-1 file and 5 gold medals — three Olympics, two World Cups — in his 12 years on the helm earlier than being succeeded by Popovich for this Olympic cycle. Also in attendance was Vegas common Floyd Mayweather, a giant basketball fan, together with U.S. Olympic basketball gold medalists Sam Perkins and Chris Mullin.
After practices subsequent week, the U.S. will play Spain in an exhibition at Anaheim, California on Aug. 16 earlier than flying to Australia the subsequent day.