McCollum Picked To Help Team USA Train For Upcoming Olympics

by Casey Holdahl
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When asked during exit interviews about the report stating that he had been invited to play for the USA's Select Team, which helps the Men's National Team train for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum said, "I would love to be a part of Team USA basketball."

That feeling is evidently mutual, as USA Basketball officially announced on Tuesday that McCollum was one of 25 players chosen for the Select Team that will scrimmage against the Team USA roster in Las Vegas in mid-July during their preparation for the upcoming games in Rio.

"It's and honor and a privilege to be chosen to represent the USA, especially in this setting," said McCollum via text. "A step in the right direction."

Though it's unlikely that playing on the Select Team will result in a chance to compete internationally this year -- Mason Plumlee started on the Select Team that helped prepare Team USA for the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball before eventually being named to the roster for that competition -- the invitation means that McCollum is now taken the first step to potentially making the National Team in the future.

“Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and it is an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball’s National Team program in the future," said USA Basketball National Team managing director Jerry Colangelo via press release. "Current national team players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, as well as many other outstanding players, got their USA National Team start through a Select Team."

McCollum, who won the 2016 Most Improved Player award after averaging 20.8 points on 45 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent shooting from three, 4.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 34.8 minutes per game this season, joins the likes of Emmanuel Mudiay, Devin Booker, Kentavious Caldewell-Pope, Zach Lavine, Doug McDermott, Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart and Cody Zeller on the Select Team, which will be coached by Gregg Popovich, who is taking over for current Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski after the 2016 Olympics, former Trail Blazer and current Spurs assistant Ime Udoka and Villanova head coach Jay Wright.

The USA Select Team will train with Team USA from July 18-21 at the Mendenhall Center on the campus of UNLV before a friendly versus Argentina on July 22. The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro start August 5.

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