Harris and Oladipo Invited to USA Basketball's Select Team
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By John Denton
July 18, 2014 (Updated: July 22, 2014)
ORLANDO -- Tobias Harris was a member of USA Basketball’s gold medal-winning Under-18 squad in 2010, but he was unable to play because of a foot injury suffered in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Now, Harris will get a second shot at contributing to USA Basketball.
Harris and Orlando Magic teammate Victor Oladipo were announced as members of USA Basketball’s Select Team on Tuesday. The 13-player Men’s Select Team will train from July 28-31 with the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s National Team during its training camp in Las Vegas.
The Select Team’s primary job will be to help prepare the National Team for the FIBA Basketball World Cup, which will be held in Spain from August 30-Sept. 14. Superstars Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose and Damian Lillard are the leaders of the National Team.
Harris, 22, can’t wait to take part in the training camp along with some of the world’s best basketball players.
``It’s going to be a lot of fun being on that squad and playing with Victor,’’ Harris said. ``Our main thing is just helping the guys on the team and getting them ready. Our team will just try to give (Team USA) a taste of what they will see. More than anything, for me it’s about going out there and learning and picking people’s brains about basketball. You’re playing against the best players, so it’s going to really help me. I can’t wait and I think it’s going to be a great time.’’
Harris and Oladipo were standout players for the Magic last season. Harris, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward, averaged 14.6 points and 7.0 rebounds a game, had 12 20-point scoring games and one 20-point, 20-rebound effort. Oladipo, who split time as a point guard and a shooting guard, finished second in the Rookie of the Year balloting after averaging 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.6 steals a game.
Joining Harris and Oladipo on the 2014 USA Basketball Select squad are: Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors); Trey Burke (Utah Jazz); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York Knicks); Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls); Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets); Miles Plumlee (Phoenix Suns); Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers); and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets).
In addition to having a chance to grow their games against some of the best competition in the NBA, Oladipo and Harris will be in the USA Basketball system and could be considered as replacements for the 2016 Olympics if players drop out because of injuries, NBA contractual matters or prior commitments.
``USA Basketball’s Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline,’’ Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team managing director, said in a release. ``Again this summer, as was done in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the members of the USA Select Team will play an important role in helping prepare the USA National Team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
``Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball’s National Team program in the future,’’ Colangelo added. ``In the past, current national team players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team.’’
A finalist for the National Player of the Year award as a high school senior, Harris was invited to play for the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team in 2010. He was kept out of action because of a foot/ankle injury suffered in the McDonald's All-America Game – a similar injury to the one that slowed his start to the past season with the Magic.
Harris’ injury four years ago kept him from playing for Team USA in the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, but he still gained some valuable experience from being around some of the best basketball talent in the country. He is hoping for the same results later this month when he plays for the Select Team.
Harris said his ultimate goal is to develop his game to the point that he is chosen to play for the National Team in future Olympics. He said he hopes there is a time when he and Oladipo lead the Magic to great success and go on to represent USA in the Olympics.
``Being chosen for the Select Team is a complete honor,’’ Harris said. ``All of USA Basketball has a first-class staff and they run it to the best of their abilities. It’s an honor to be a part of such a good organization.
``(Competing in the Olympics) ultimately would be the goal for me, and if it ever happened it would be a blessing and an honor,’’ he added. ``I just want to take full advantage of all of my opportunities. Being able to play for the Select Team coming up is going to be a great experience. I just want to use this to grow my game.’’