Taylor Braun Makes USA Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team

By Daniel Rueckert | February 22, 2018
(Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

Taylor Braun Makes USA Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team

USA Basketball announced the official 12-member USA team that will participate in the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifying first round, second-window games against Cuba on Feb. 23 and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 in Santa Cruz, California.

Including two players from the 2017 USA Basketball World Cup Qualifying Team that compiled a 2-0 record during the November first-round games, the roster features 12 active NBA G League players.

Returning to play for the USA from the November USA World Cup Qualifying Team are: Larry Drew II (Sioux Falls Skyforce) and Travis Wear (South Bay Lakers).

Rounding out the USA roster are Taylor Braun (Salt Lake City Stars); Alonzo Gee (Sioux Falls Skyforce); Aaron Harrison (Reno Bighorns); Rodney Purvis (Lakeland Magic); Xavier Silas (Northern Arizona Suns); David Stockton (Reno Bighorns); Rashawn Thomas (Oklahoma City Blue); Marcus Thornton (Canton Charge); Devin Williams (Maine Red Claws); and Derek Willis (Grand Rapids Drive).

Jeff Van Gundy, who led the USA to a 5-0 record and the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup and to a pair of wins in the FIBA World Cup Qualifying November window, returns as head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team. Veteran international coach Mo McHone and former Georgetown University coach John Thompson III will again serve as USA assistant coaches.

The USA World Cup Qualifying Team will continue its training in Santa Cruz on Feb. 21, 22, 24 and 25.

The USA will host two home games during the second window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifying first-round. The USA men will play Cuba on Feb. 23, and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 in Santa Cruz on the home court of the G League Santa Cruz Warriors – Kaiser Permanente Arena. Both games are scheduled to tip at 8 p.m. PST.

Tickets for both USA Basketball games in Santa Cruz are on sale and available by calling (831) 713-4400 or online here.

The USA currently owns a 2-0 record and sits atop of the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying first-round Group C standings after defeating Puerto Rico 85-78 on Nov. 23 and Mexico 91-55 on Nov. 26. Puerto Rico (1-1) and Mexico (1-1) currently list tied for second in the Group C standings, while Cuba (0-2) is fourth.

In the third and final first-round window of FIBA World Cup Qualifying, the USA will play two away games, at Mexico on June 28, 2018, and at Cuba on July 1, 2018.

After completion of the first round, the top three finishing teams in each of the four, Americas first-round groups advance to the second round. The three advancing teams from Group A and Group C will form Group E, while the top three finishers from Group B and Group D will form Group F.  The three second-round windows of competition will take place Sept. 13-17, 2018; Nov. 29-Dec. 3, 2018; and Feb. 21-25, 2019.

Following completion of the Americas second-round games, seven teams will qualify out of the zone for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, including the top three finishing teams from second-round Group E and Group F, and the best fourth placed team between Group E and Group F.

Under FIBA’s new competition system, a total of 80 national teams from FIBA’s four regions of Africa, Americas, Asia (which now includes Oceania) and Europe are competing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers over 15 months looking to earn a qualifying berth in the 32-team 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup competition that will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 15 in China.

The FIBA World Cup Qualifying games are being used to qualify 31 of the 32 nations that will compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. China automatically qualified as the host nation of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Five teams will qualify from Africa, seven teams from the Americas, seven teams from Asia (which now includes Oceania) and 12 European teams will also qualify.

The current two-time defending FIBA World Cup champion, the USA men have participated in 17 FIBA World Cups and have collected 12 medals – five gold medals (1954, 1986, 1994, 2010 and 2014), 3 silver medals (1950, 1959 and 1982) and four bronze medals (1974, 1990, 1998 and 2006). USA teams own an overall record of 123-27.

Results from the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 will qualify seven teams for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The top two finishing teams in the World Cup from the Americas and Europe, as well as the top finisher from Africa, Asia and Oceania will earn Olympic qualifying berths. Additionally, Olympic host, Japan, automatically qualified. The final four nations will qualify through four FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments that will be held in 2020 in advance of the Olympics. 

 

2018 USA World Cup Qualifying Team Roster

NAME POS HGT WGT AGE 2017-18 TEAM/COLLEGE 
Taylor Braun F 6-7 210 26 Salt Lake City Stars / North Dakota State
Larry Drew II G 6-2 180 27 Sioux Falls Skyforce / UCLA
 Alonzo Gee F 6-6 220 30 Sioux Falls Skyforce / Alabama
Aaron Harrison G 6-6 209 23 Reno Bighorns / Kentucky
Rodney Purvis G 6-4 205 23 Lakeland Magic / Connecticut
Xavier Silas F 6-5 198 30 Northern Arizona Suns / Northern Illinois
David Stockton G 5-11 165 26 Reno Bighorns / Gonzaga
Rashawn Thomas F 6-8 230 23 Oklahoma City Blue / Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
 Marcus Thornton  G  6-4  190  24  Canton Charge / William & Mary
 Travis Wear  F  6-10  229  27  South Bay Lakers / UCLA
Devin Williams F 6-9 255 23  Maine Red Claws / West Virginia
 Derek Willis  F  6-9  228  22  Grand Rapids Drive / Kentucky

Head Coach:  Jeff Van Gundy, USA Basketball

Assistant Coach:  Mo McHone, USA Basketball

Assistant Coach:  John Thompson III, USA Basketball

Athletic Trainer:  Ed Lacerte, ProSports Therapy, Inc. (Waltham and Westford, MA)

Team Scout:  Ken McDonald

Video Coordinator:  Brad Jones

NOTE: Ages listed for athletes are as of Feb. 26, 2018.

 

2018 USA World Cup Qualifying Team Training/Game Schedule

Thursday, February 22

11 a.m.-1 p.m. (PST)            Practice                              Kaiser Permanente Arena, Santa Cruz, CA

Friday, February 23

8 p.m. (PST)                         USA vs. Cuba                    Kaiser Permanente Arena, Santa Cruz, CA

Saturday, February 24                                                  

11 a.m.-1 p.m. (PST)            Practice                              Kaiser Permanente Arena, Santa Cruz, CA

Sunday, February 25

11 a.m.-1 p.m. (PST)            Practice                              Kaiser Permanente Arena, Santa Cruz, CA

Monday, February 26                                                   

8 p.m. (PST)                         USA vs Puerto Rico          Kaiser Permanente Arena, Santa Cruz, CA