LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Impressing Gregg Popovich is not an easy assignment. But two former local college basketball stars are pursuing that task, and early reports indicate they are doing well.
Multiple media reports from Team USA practices in Las Vegas have former Louisville star Donovan Mitchell and former Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox on the list of top performers for the 12-member American team that will compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15.
Tony Jones of The Athletic reported that Fox has been difficult to guard while Mitchell has been impressive on the defensive end of the court.
Many of the NBA’s top stars -- guys like Steph Curry, James Harden, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook -- are sitting out competition this summer. Their absences have created an opportunity for a new group of players to impress the Team USA basketball hierarchy, which is led by Popovich, the American head coach, and his top assistant, Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors.
Ben Golliver of the Washington Post predicted that Mitchell and Fox will make the final roster, which will be announced later this month. Golliver did not have former Kentucky forward Bam Adebayo, one of 16 players competing in training camp, on the final roster.
The best case scenario for Mitchell, who will start his third season with the Utah Jazz in October, and Fox, a third-year guy in Sacramento, would be to excel for this team — and then convince Popovich to keep them on the U.S. Olympic team, which will compete in Tokyo in 2020.
Golliver also predicted these 10 guys would also make the team:
- Guards — Kemba Walker, Celtics; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Jaylen Brown, Celtics.
- Forwards — Khris Middleton, Bucks; Jayson Tatum, Celtics; P.J. Tucker, Rockets; Harrison Barnes, Kings; Kyle Kuzma, Lakers.
- Centers — Myles Turner, Pacers; Brook Lopez, Bucks.
Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.