USA fly out for FIBA World Cup with an extra man and Olympic qualification in mind

Warm-up games in Australia will decide which of the 13 players will miss out on a trip to tournament in China

By James Pratt

The USA men's national basketball team boarded a flight out of America late on Saturday (17th August) at the start of their trip to the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The two-time defending champions are travelling a squad of 13 players for training and warm-up games in Australia.

A final 12-man roster will be chosen to fly on to China for the tournament (31st August to 15 September), which acts as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Sacramento Kings NBA star De’Aaron Fox wasn't on the plane after withdrawing from the team following victory over Spain on Friday in Anaheim.

The 13 players selected by coach Gregg Popovic to travel to Australia are:

  • Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings)
  • Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
  • Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets)
  • Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers)
  • Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks)
  • Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
  • Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
  • Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets)
  • Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)
  • Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
  • Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
  • Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)
  • Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
USA head coach Gregg Popovich (R) speaks with his predecessor Mike Krzyzewski

The U.S. won the last two editions of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, in 2010 (Turkey) and 2014 (Spain), and are five-time champions of the event.

Their opening game will be against Czech Republic on 1st September. They also face Turkey and Japan in Group E, with the two best teams advancing to a second round of group matches.

Also at stake in China are seven qualification spots for the Tokyo 2020 Games, where USA hope to win a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal.

Find out more about the FIBA World Cup in our full preview here.