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Former NBL import selected for USA


FORMER Cairns Taipans and Brisbane Bullets NBL import playmaker Travis Trice will represent the USA this week in 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifying matches against Uruguay and Panama.

But heading off potential confusion, the USA team Trice is repping will not even resemble the side Australian basketball fans will see taking on the Boomers next year at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on August 22 and 24.

Just as the Boomers team in Doha right now for its showdown with Qatar on Thursday night in their World Cup Asian Zone qualifier mostly will be supplanted by Australian NBA and Europe-based players for the actual World Cup in China from August 31, so too will the USA team.

Both teams obviously first must qualify, which is foreign territory for the USA.

USA TODAY: Travis Trice, seventh from left, listening intently to Jeff Van Gundy.

When FIBA altered its World Cup qualification process in 2015, turning it into a two-round tournament of home-and-away round-robins over 16 months, winning the 2016 Olympic Gold Medal in Rio no longer meant automatic World Cup qualification.

The US winning the 2014 FIBA World Cup (and 2010 for that matter) counts for nothing anymore, with all national teams on their marks behind the same starting line.

The US team San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich brings to Melbourne in 11 months will be continuing on to China and selected from this multi-talented list: Harrison Barnes (Dallas Mavericks), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Jimmy Butler (Minnesota Timberwolves), Mike Conley Jr (Memphis Grizzlies), DeMarcus Cousins (Golden State Warriors), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio Spurs), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors), Paul George (Oklahoma City Thunder), Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Blake Griffin (Detroit Pistons), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Tobias Harris (Los Angeles Clippers), Gordon Hayward (Boston Celtics), Kyrie Irving (Boston Celtics), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), DeAndre Jordan (Dallas Mavericks), Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), C. J. McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers), Chris Paul (Houston Rockets), Isaiah Thomas (Denver Nuggets), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets), John Wall (Washington Wizards), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).

Currently, the USA leads the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying going into the second round with a 5-1 record. It faces Uruguay (4-2) on Friday at Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Then it is away to Panama City to play Panama (3-3) on Monday, just as the Boomers then will be in Bendigo against Kazakhstan in their Asian qualifier.

ESPN basketball commentator and former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, continues through the Americas qualifiers as US head coach, the G League Westchester Knicks head coach Mike Miller, and former Georgetown University coach John Thompson III his assistants.

The official USA roster is: Bryce Alford (Oklahoma City Blue), Dwayne Bacon (Charlotte Hornets), Henry Ellenson (Detroit Pistons), Reggie Hearn (Grand Rapids Drive), Isaiah Hicks (New York Knicks), Dakari Johnson (Free Agent), Frank Mason III (Sacramento Kings), Ben Moore (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), Chasson Randle (Capital City Go-Go), Travis Trice (Milwaukee Bucks), Jameel Warney (Texas Legends), Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).

Playmaker Trice averaged 15.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game last NBL season for the Bullets but there’s no truth in suggestions he is expecting a letter of congratulations from retired Perth star Matt Knight.

The FIBA World Cup Qualifiers will determine 31 of the 32 nations to compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, with China automatically qualified as the host nation

Five teams qualify from Africa, seven from the Americas, seven from Asia and 12 from Europe.

Australia went through its first round of Asian qualifiers with a 5-1 win-loss record, its matches with Qatar and Kazakhstan this week to be shown live on FOX SPORTS Australia.

Sep 11

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.