USA Basketball picks team for initial 2 World Cup qualifiers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — USA Basketball has picked its initial team for the opening games of qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.

Jordan Bell, who won a title with Golden State in 2018, was among the 12 players announced Monday as the team that will represent the U.S. when qualifying starts in Mexico later this month with games against Cuba and Mexico. Most of the players on the roster have NBA experience and will be coming to the U.S. team from current stints in the G League.

Frank Mason III and Chasson Randle have been part of World Cup qualifying teams before for the U.S. and were picked for this roster. Also selected along with Bell, Mason and Randle: Brian Bowen II, Josh Gray, Shaq Harrison, DaQuan Jeffries, BJ Johnson, Orlando Johnson, Luke Kornet, Zavier Simpson and Emanuel Terry.

Combined, they’ve made nearly 900 regular-season NBA appearances for 17 teams.

Jim Boylen will coach the U.S. team, assisted by Othella Harrington and Ty Ellis. The Americans will train in Houston for about a week, starting Saturday, before traveling to Chihuahua, Mexico to play Cuba on Nov. 28 and Mexico on Nov. 29.

Those are the first two of six first-round games for the U.S. The Americans are also scheduled to play Puerto Rico on Feb. 24, Mexico on Feb. 27, Puerto Rico on July 1 and Cuba on July 4 in the opening qualifying round.

There are four teams in four groups of qualifying out of the FIBA Americas region. The top three teams in each group move onto the second round of qualifying, which starts in August and runs through February 2023.

The U.S. was drawn into Group D for the first round of qualifying from the Americas region, joined by Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Group A consists of Argentina, Panama, Paraguay and Venezuela. Group B is made up of Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay. Group C consists of Bahamas, Canada, the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The World Cup — where teams can directly qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics — runs from Aug. 25-Sept. 10, 2023.

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