LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — NBA scoring champion James Harden and star center Anthony Davis were among 20 players named Monday by USA Basketball to its national team camp for this year’s Basketball World Cup.
The two-time defending champion Americans seek a third consecutive crown and a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the global showdown August 31-September 15 in China.
Harden averaged 36.1 points a game for the Houston Rockets last season while Davis netted 25.9 points a game, second among those who will attend the camp August 5-9 at Las Vegas.
The session, which concludes with a scrimmage August 9, will help decide which 12 players will be named to the US squad on August 17, one day after a US-Spain exhibition game at Anaheim.
US coach Gregg Popovich, who guides the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, will welcome 12 other members of the previous national team roster and six newcomers to that list.
Other returning NBA players to the US program are Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Houston’s Eric Gordon, Portland’s Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Indiana’s Myles Turner, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris, Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton and Kyle Lowry, who has helped the Toronto Raptors reach the NBA Finals.
Newcomers to the team include Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Houston’s P.J. Tucker, Denver’s Paul Millsap, Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Harden, Davis, Barnes, Love and Lowry were all members of the US 2016 Rio Olympics gold medal squad.
Davis, Harden and Drummond helped the US win the 2014 World Cup while Love and Gordon were on the US 2010 World Cup championship squad.
“We’re pleased with the players who will be attending,” USA Basketball chairman and national team managing director Jerry Colangelo said.
“The majority of these players possess prior USA Basketball experience and we know all of them are committed to representing their country and doing so in the manner expected by USA Basketball.
“Like past national team training camps, this group too possesses outstanding individual talents, while also boasting of excellent versatility and athleticism.”
US national team assistant coaches include Steve Kerr, whose Golden State Warriors are playing Toronto in the NBA Finals, plus Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce and Villanova University coach Jay Wright.
“I’m excited about getting to training camp in August and working with all of the players,” Popovich said. “We’ve got an excellent cross-section of veteran USA Basketball and NBA players, as well as some exciting younger players who possess amazing versatility.”
Since the US national team program was founded in the wake of a bronze medal disappointment at the 2004 Athens Olympics, US national teams have gone 88-1 overall.
© Agence France-Presse