The USA Basketball men’s national team earned a spot in the 2019 FIBA World Cup last weekend. That said, they had to do so under a new format.
In the past, winning an Olympic gold medal would automatically qualify the USA for the next World Cup. But now, all teams have to play a series of qualifying games within their continents. So the USA won the Gold Medal in the 2016 Olympics, but they still had to play a series of qualifiers to get their World Cup spot.
Long story short, but the United States made it in qualifiers with two games left to spare! They beat Uruguay 78-70 on December 2 to punch their tickets to China next year.
Team USA didn’t have their NBA stars for the qualifiers where they used a team of mostly G-League players. Capital City Go-Go guard Chasson Randle was on Team USA when he scored 15 points in the win over Uruguay. He averaged 9.3 points a game in four appearances during the qualifiers.
Randle has also been on a tear for the Go-Go where he is averaging 27.7 points and 5.7 assists. It is a sample size of three games and Randle hasn’t played for them since November 16 because of his Team USA commitments.
Though Randle played on the qualifying team, the USA’s actual World Cup squad will feature NBA stars like they have in most recent global tournaments.
The Wizards didn’t have an American player in a World Cup since 2006 when Antawn Jamison made the team and that streak will likely continue. John Wall and Bradley Beal are candidates to make the final World Cup team, but they are underdogs at best to make it.
So it’s really good to see that at least one player from the Wizards’ affiliate played a part to keep the Americans’ hopes for a third straight World Cup gold medal alive.