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USA Basketball Finalizes Men’s Roster For FIBA World Cup Title Defense

By Paul D. Bowker | Aug. 24, 2019, 12:19 p.m. (ET)

Jayson Tatum dunks the ball in an exhibition game against Australia on Aug. 24, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.


Jayson Tatum, a rising star in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, has won two world championships and a FIBA Americas gold medal at various age levels while playing for Team USA.

In September, he’ll go after his first FIBA World Cup gold medal with the USA Basketball men’s national team.

Tatum, a 6-foot-8 forward from Duke University who was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Team after his first pro season in 2017-18, was one of 12 NBA players named to the World Cup team by head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Jerry Colangelo, Team USA managing director. The team was finalized Saturday when the 13-player squad dropped to a final 12 due to Kyle Kuzma’s left ankle injury.

Tatum, the second-leading scorer for the Celtics last season behind Kyrie Irving, was one of four Celtics players named to the team, including Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker.

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The roster is also highlighted by 2016 Olympic gold medalist Harrison Barnes of the Sacramento Kings and 2014 world champion Mason Plumlee of the Denver Nuggets. Barnes, a 6-foot-8 forward from the University of North Carolina, played in four games at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 the year after he helped the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship.

Team USA, which is seeking a third consecutive FIBA world title, begins play in the World Cup on Sept. 1 against the Czech Republic in Shanghai, with the medal round on Sept. 15. The tournament consists of 32 teams. The U.S. was placed into Group E, along with Czech Republic, Turkey and Japan.

The U.S. is ranked No. 1 in the world and has reached the podium at the last three World Cups with two gold medals and a bronze. Team USA leads the all-time medal count with 12.

Also named to the team were Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks, Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets, Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers and Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs.

The team, which on Saturday suffered its first loss in 13 years – snapping a 78-game winning streak that included three Olympic gold medals, will face Canada in its final pre-World Cup exhibition on Aug. 26 in Sydney.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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