Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried optimistic about Team USA chances

by Aaron Lopez

During his week with USA Basketball in Las Vegas, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried did what he does best.

Rebound, run and play with relentless energy.

He will soon find out whether it was enough to continue on the road to the FIBA World Cup in Spain.

“I’m very high on my chances,” Faried said Monday.

“I believe I left a lasting impression for the coaches to like me and make me part of the team, so I can help the U.S. bring home gold this year.”

Faried, who averaged 19.8 points and 10.8 rebounds over the final 25 games of 2013-14, will learn Tuesday whether he will be invited to USA Basketball’s next training camp that starts Aug. 14 in Chicago.

Nineteen players remain in the selection pool after Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George fractured his right leg during an intrasquad scrimmage on Friday. Twelve will be chosen to compete in Spain from Aug. 30-Sept. 14.

“This is a big goal for me,” Faried said. “I knew that I had to come in, play hard and do whatever I needed to do to help my team. I’m happy I’ve made it this far. Hopefully I’ll make it even further.”

Faried and his fellow American teammates were understandably shaken by George’s injury. Faried tweeted his well-wishes to George afterward and believes it will serve as added motivation and inspiration to perform well at the World Cup.

“I want to show that we can win the gold even though they’re saying our best players aren’t competing,” he said.

“We truly believe that with this group of guys we have now – with their energy and enthusiasm – we are going to win the gold. We do believe that.”

George’s injury brought a somber end to what had been a memorable week for Faried. He called it an “amazing experience” that served as an encore to his mini-camp with USA Basketball last summer.

“I knew this year meant a lot more,” he said. “It’s a chance to compete with the national team and a chance to represent the country and be a part of something great.”