Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell could be joining USA Basketball in their quest for FIBA World Cup gold later this summer.
With the Utah Jazz boasting one of the NBA’s most international rosters, the team’s player presence at FIBA events like the Olympics and EuroBasket has been substantial. Most recently, Joe Ingles officially re-joined the Aussie Boomers; he’ll be with them later this summer as they vie for FIBA World Cup gold.
Meanwhile, Rudy Gobert will lead Les Bleus (France) into battle and, according to a report over the weekend, another Jazzman could become the team’s first representative for USA Basketball at a major FIBA event since Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer won Olympic gold with the Redeem Team at the 2008 Olympics.
Per the New York Times’ Marc Stein, Donovan Mitchell is gaining traction as a possible new addition to Team USA for their own World Cup championship bid.
World Cup action will tip-off on August 31 in China, with play extending through mid-September. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will lead the red, white and blue on the sidelines after Jeff Van Gundy ran the show during qualifiers.
Van Gundy’s squads were largely comprised of G-League players; now, the big guns will re-join the national team for its latest quest for gold.
Mitchell’s involvement with USA Basketball is really a no-brainer. After averaging 24 points, four board and four assists per game last season, he established himself as a bona fide star in the Association. However, at just 22 years old, he’s also a player that the Americans can incorporate into the core of their national team and build around for years to come.
Ingles publicly endorsed his teammate for a spot on the squad in an interview with ESPN last month —
His Boomers will take on Team USA in a two-game exhibition set ahead of World Cup play on August 22 and 24.
The last time a Jazzman was in consideration for a spot with Team USA was in 2016 when Gordon Hayward was offered the chance to play at the Rio Olympics. Ultimately (and understandably), he declined his invitation over concerns with the Zika virus outbreak.