Getty Images

Jazz’s Hayward Named Finalist for 2014 USA Men’s World Cup Team

USA National Team to resume training for FIBA World Cup on Aug. 14 in Chicago

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (August 5, 2014) – USA Basketball today announced that Utah Jazz guard/forward Gordon Hayward is among the 16 players selected as finalists for the 2014 USA Men’s World Cup Team roster.  The USA National Team is scheduled to resume its 2014 preparations for the FIBA Basketball World Cup on Aug. 14 in Chicago.

Hayward recorded seven points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in 15 minutes of action for the USA Blue Team in the abbreviated 2014 USA Basketball Showcase in Las Vegas last Friday.  Hayward’s previous USA Basketball experience includes participating in the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s National team mini-camp, as well as playing for the 2012 USA Select Team that trained against the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.  Hayward also helped lead Team USA to a 9-0 record and a gold medal in the 2009 U19 World Championship in New Zealand.  He ranked second on that team in rebounding (5.7) and third in scoring (10.0), adding 1.8 assists, 1.1 blocks, 1.4 steals and shooting 41.4 percent (12-29) from 3-point range en route to being selected to the U19 World Championship’s “Best of the Best Team.”

Hayward (6-8, 220, Butler) appeared in 77 games (all starts) for the Jazz in 2013-14, averaging career-highs of 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.4 steals in 36.4 minutes (10th in NBA) to become just the second player in Jazz history to average at least 16 points, with five-or-more rebounds and assists in a season (Pete Maravich in 1974-75 and 1976-77).  He led the Jazz in scoring and minutes played, ranked second in assists and third in rebounds last season while posting career highs in nearly every major statistical category.  Hayward registered nine double-doubles on the season (seven points/rebounds, two points/assists), tallying seven double-digit rebound performances, and six games with 10+ assists.  He scored in double figures 63 times, reaching 20-plus points on 22 occasions.  He also recorded single-game career highs of 37 points (Jan. 7 vs. Oklahoma City), 13 rebounds (Dec. 13 at Denver) and 12 assists (Nov. 25 vs. Chicago).

The 24-year-old career Jazzman was originally selected by Utah in the first round (ninth overall selection) of the 2010 NBA Draft, and has appeared in 287 career games (179 starts) and owns averages of 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 28.4 minutes. 

Joining Hayward in Chicago will be DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento); Stephen Curry (Golden State); Anthony Davis (New Orleans); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto); Andre Drummond (Detroit); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City); Kenneth Faried (Denver); James Harden (Houston); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland); Kyle Korver (Atlanta); Damian Lillard (Portland); Chandler Parsons (Dallas); Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn); Derrick Rose (Chicago); and Klay Thompson (Golden State).

“The ending to our Las Vegas training camp with the injury to Paul George was very emotional for everyone involved in USA Basketball,” USA Basketball National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo said. “I very much appreciate the outpouring of support Paul and USA Basketball has received the past couple of days from the basketball world. Past Olympic coaches and some of our past Olympic and World Championship players have reached out offering their continued support and that’s very important. Paul’s injury was an extremely unfortunate occurrence; it was truly a freak accident. We’re all very pleased that his recovery is going well.

“We have always approached representing our country as a privilege, a tremendous honor, and USA Basketball is very appreciative of the willingness of our players to play for the United States and in their own patriotic way give back to their country. Historically, the players involved in USA Basketball have become better players because of their experience. They have treasured their USA Basketball experience, as well as the incredible opportunity and honor it has been for them to demonstrate their patriotism and represent their country.

“Their willingness to represent the United States says a lot about our players' patriotism and their willingness to sacrifice their time to this commitment. Not every American has the opportunity to represent their country and our players have embraced each opportunity to do it. They have worn the USA jersey with respect and honor, and by their commitment they have made all Americans extremely proud.”

While training in Chicago, the 16 selected finalists will be actively involved in the 2014 World Basketball Festival that is being held Aug. 13-17, and which is being hosted by NIKE, Jordan Brand and USA Basketball.

“We had an excellent training camp in Las Vegas and each player gave a great effort and deserves recognition and thanks for his commitment and hard work,” Colangelo said. “We’ve said all along that we would be proud to have any of the players who were in Las Vegas represent USA Basketball and the United States. This phase of the selection process was extremely difficult and very thorough, and it’s worth again mentioning that we are looking to select the best team, which are not necessarily the best players. We’re pleased with where we are at this point of our training and we’re looking forward to getting back on the court and continuing our preparations to represent the United States at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. 

The 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team coaching staff features USA head coach and Duke University’s Naismith Hall of Fame mentor Mike Krzyzewski. Serving as assistant coaches are USA Basketball and Syracuse University and Naismith Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams.

The USA finalists will practice Aug. 14-15 at the Quest Multisport Complex, Chicago, and play an exhibition contest versus Brazil at the United Center on Aug. 16 (7 p.m. MDT).

“We’re excited about where the team is headed,” Krzyzewski said. “Really all 16 guys have a chance to make to the team, which usually does not happen in a training camp, and it shows that all of the guys thus far have done an excellent job. Then it’s just a matter of finding what chemistry that we can develop with the entire group and I don’t think we’ll know that until we play some exhibition games. The 16 guys give us a chance to look at a way of playing in a number of different ways and we just have to figure out what those ways are and then the 12 who will fit best.”

The American squad will continue its World Cup preparations Aug. 18-22 in New York, and play a pair of exhibition games at Madison Square Garden, Aug. 20 against Dominican Republic, and Aug. 22 versus Puerto Rico. The USA will complete its pre-World Cup exhibition tour on the island of Gran Canaria, Spain. Training Aug. 24-25, the U.S. will close out its exhibition tour on Aug. 26 facing Slovenia at Gran Canaria Arena. Conducting a basketball clinic for youth on Aug. 27 in Dakar, Senegal, the USA team will complete its training for the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Basketball World Cup Aug. 28-29 in Bilbao, Spain, the site of its World Cup preliminary round games.

The 2014 World Cup, featuring a total of 24 national teams, is scheduled to be held Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain. The USA will play its preliminary round games in Bilbao, after being drawn into Group C along with teams from the Dominican Republic, Finland, New Zealand, Turkey and Ukraine.

The USA opens the 2014 World Cup on Aug. 30 against Finland, and then faces Turkey on Aug. 31 in a rematch of the 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal game, a contest in which the USA claimed an 81-64 victory. Following a day off on Sept. 1, the USA resumes play Sept. 2 facing New Zealand. The U.S. will go against the Dominican Republic on Sept. 3, and will conclude its preliminary play on Sept. 4 facing Ukraine.

Each team at the 2014 World Cup will play the other teams in its preliminary group, and the top four finishing teams from each of the four preliminary round groups will then qualify for the round of 16. Winners of the round of 16 games will advance to the quarterfinals, while losers are eliminated. Winners of the quarterfinals games will advance to the medal round semifinals, while the quarterfinals losers are eliminated from the competition. Winners of the semifinals will advance to the Sept. 14 gold medal game, while semifinals losers will meet in the bronze medal game on Sept. 13. The games from the round of 16 to the semifinals will be played in Barcelona and Madrid, and the bronze and gold medal games will be held in Madrid.