Although Jaylen Brown wasn’t among USA Basketball’s first choices, he still has a chance to play for his country.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo revealed to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn last week the Boston Celtics guard remains on the national team’s radar, despite his omission from Team USA or its Select Team in 2019. USA Basketball will begin its preparations for the 2019 FIBA World Cup next month, with around 20 NBA stars competing for 12 roster spots. Colangelo explained why Brown wasn’t picked this year and also insists USA Basketball might call the 22-year-old into future camps.
“We didn’t think, as far as the Select Team, we didn’t think that would be appropriate,” Colangelo said. “This is his third year coming up. It’s basically for first-year guys and maybe a couple of second-year guys. At least that’s in theory what it is. I’m looking at the number of people we had at the position. That’s the only thing. It has nothing to do with talent. I like him. I think he’s a heck of a player.
USA’s training camp will take place between Aug. 5 and 8 in Las Vegas, where head coach Gregg Popovich and his staff will put test the players’ readiness for top-level international competition. USA Basketball will name finalists for the World Cup squad, and that group will have another camp between Aug. 13 and 15. Popovich will announce his final World Cup squad Aug. 17.
Five players on USA Basketball’s original training-camp roster have withdrawn from World Cup consideration. Brown is among the players USA Basketball considers standby options.
“First of all, we don’t even know what’s going to happen for sure,” Colangelo said. “Are we going to have more fallout? Are we going to have more people who are not going to be there? He could always be. He’s on a shortlist, let me put it that way.
“You’ve just got to go about your business and, if the phone rings, be ready to go. But we have a lot of respect for him as a player. It didn’t fit this time, that’s all.”
Celtics stars Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum are among USA’s World Cup hopefuls. Should Brown receive the phone call summoning him to Las Vegas, he’ll find at least a couple familiar faces there.
The World Cup will take place between Aug. 31 and Sept. 15 in China. USA is seeking its third consecutive world championship.