DeRozan Heading To World Cup With USA Basketball
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
A summer of training with USA Basketball has paid off for Toronto Raptors swingman DeMar DeRozan. Despite receiving a DNP in Team USA’s 112-86 exhibition victory against Puerto Rico on Friday night, DeRozan made the final cut for the 12-man roster that will head to Spain on Saturday in preparation of the FIBA World Cup.
“I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this team,” DeRozan said. “This is what all my hard work is for and I'm glad that it has paid off.
“I look forward to continuing to put in the work and doing whatever I can to contribute to the team's success and bringing back gold.”
After DeRozan did not see game action in two of the team’s three exhibition games, he had to wait until late Friday night to find out he had survived the final round of cuts. A first-time All-Star this season, the 25-year-old DeRozan posted a line of 13 points, six assists, five rebounds and a steal to in a 105-62 exhibition victory on Wednesday. He shared leading-scorer honours with former Raptor Rudy Gay.
DeRozan also led the team in scoring in the Team USA scrimmage that was held in Las Vegas three weeks ago and his performance with the team was praised by head coach Mike Krzyzewski in advance of Friday’s contest.
“I’m excited about the 12 players selected,” Krzyzewski said. “[I] feel we have excellent versatility and the makings of a really good defensive team.”
Joining DeRozan on Team USA’s World Cup roster are Gay, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, James Harden, Kenneth Faried, Mason Plumlee, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond and Anthony Davis.
“The first thing is we are very pleased with the overall effort of every player who was a part of the process,” said Krzyzewski. “To select twelve was difficult, because our pool is so good. As we go forward, we not only go forward as twelve, we go forward as a pool for USA Basketball. As a staff we want to thank the players who are not going forward.”
Team USA will play a final exhibition game in Spain against Slovenia on Tuesday. The World Cup begins Aug. 30th.