Kevin Durant celebrates with teammates in the second half against Nigeria during the men's basketball preliminary round match at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on Aug. 2, 2012 in London.
Olympic gold medalists Kevin Love and Kevin Durant lead a preliminary 19-man roster that will gather in Las Vegas on Friday for training camp in preparation for the United States’ defense of its FIBA World Cup basketball title.
Love, a forward with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Durant, a guard with the Oklahoma City Thunder are the only two invitees who played on both of the United States’ past two title-winning teams at the 2010 World Championship and the London 2012 Olympic Games. New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis and Houston Rockets guard James Harden also return from the 2012 Olympic Team.
The roster, which was announced Monday and will be whittled to 12 for the FIBA World Cup — formerly the FIBA World Championships — in Spain from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14, was noticeable for its omissions, players such as two-time Olympic gold medalist LeBron James.
“We never really expected (some) players to take part in this competition,” USA Basketball Men’s National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo said. “That was a foreknown conclusion in conversations with them, that they would not.
“In every case, when you ask about players who are not here, you have to go the source, the teams or the players themselves. We can only offer the opportunity, and then they accept or not.”
USA Basketball announced a 28-man roster for the 2014-16 cycle in January and chose 17 from that list while adding Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and forward Chandler Parsons, who on Sunday moved across Texas from the Houston Rockets to the Dallas Mavericks.
Eighteen different NBA teams are represented on the preliminary rosters, with only the Golden State Warriors sending more than one: guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has guided the U.S. men’s national team since 2005, also selected guards Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.
Joining Love, Durant and Davis at forward are Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz and Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks.
Centers DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons completed the roster.
Like Curry, Durrant and Love, Rose also was a member of the United States’ 2010 team that won the World Championship, the country’s fourth title in the competition but first since 1994.
“The idea Jerry (Colangelo) had when he took over, the first couple of years, was to develop a pool of players, and it’s proven to be a brilliant one,” Krzyzewski said. “We’re going to lean heavily on the leadership of guys like Durant and Love. They’ve been members of our gold-medal teams in Istanbul and London, and we’ll rely a lot on those two guys.”
The team will gather in Las Vegas and train for five days before taking a two-week break. The team will regroup in Chicago for two days of practice Aug. 14-15 and face Brazil at the United Center for an exhibition game Aug. 16.
It will move to West Point, New York, two days later for training, head to New York City a day after that and then play another exhibition at Madison Square Garden against the Dominican Republic Aug. 20.
Another day of practice will be followed with a second exhibition game at Madison Square Garden on Aug. 22 against Puerto Rico before the team leaves for the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco.
The United States will have two more days of practice Aug. 24-25 before a final exhibition against Slovenia Aug. 26.
It opens defense of its World Cup title Aug. 30 against Finland in Group C in Barakaldo, Spain, where it also will face the Dominican Republic, Turkey, New Zealand and Ukraine.Brian Trusdell is a writer from New Jersey. He has covered four FIFA World Cups and six Olympic Games during his more than 30 years as a sportswriter, mostly with the Associated Press and Bloomberg News. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.