Former University of Kentucky standouts DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis and ex-Morehead State star Kenneth Faried were among 28 NBA players named Thursday to try out for Team USA.
Players will be selected from this group to play in the World Cup of Basketball this summer in Spain and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Cousins, who helped lead the Cats to the NCAA Elite Eight in his one year at Kentucky in 2009-10, is averaging 22.6 points and 11.6 rebounds per game this season for the Sacramento Kings.
Davis, who led the Wildcats to the 2012 national championship in his only season at Kentucky, is averaging 20.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Faried, the Herald-Leader's 2011 Kentucky Sportsman of the Year, is averaging 10.1 points and 7.7 rebounds this season for the Denver Nuggets.
Former UK point guard John Wall, who is averaging career highs of 20 points and 8.5 assists for the Washington Wizards, was not invited. Wall took part in a Team USA minicamp last July in Las Vegas but appears to have fallen victim to a glut of quality point guards.
Traditional point guards Derrick Rose of Chicago, Chris Paul of the Clippers, Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City, Deron Williams of Brooklyn, Damian Lillard of Portland and Kyrie Irving of Cleveland were among the 28 players chosen, as were several players who at times command the ball like point guards such as Miami's LeBron James, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Houston's James Harden, Golden State's Stephen Curry and Indiana's Paul George.
The Americans will have to trim the roster to 12 before heading to Spain. If they defend their world title, they will automatically clinch a spot for Rio. If not, they would have to play in an Olympic qualifying tournament in 2015.
James and 10 others from the 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball team have remained in the national team pool.
Carmelo Anthony was also chosen, giving him and James a chance to play in a fourth Olympics and win a third gold medal.
Also selected from the 2012 gold medalists were: Durant, Paul, Harden, Westbrook, Williams, Davis, Minnesota's Kevin Love, New York's Tyson Chandler and Golden State's Andre Iguodala.
Only Kobe Bryant, who has said he is finished with international competition, wasn't selected.
Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski is back to lead the Americans, as he has done since 2005.
The other players picked were: Houston's Dwight Howard, the Clippers' Blake Griffin, David Lee and Klay Thompson of Golden State; Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge; San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard; Washington's Bradley Beal; Atlanta's Kyle Korver; Detroit's Andre Drummond; and Utah's Gordon Hayward.
It's an experienced, star-filled group — it includes the NBA's top 10 scorers — and the Americans stressed it will be "fluid," meaning more players could be added over the next three years.
"This roster is extremely talented, deep and versatile," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.
"Continuity and familiarity with international basketball are critical parts in our success, and between our coaching staff and these 28 players we certainly have that. Every one of the selected players has been involved in USA Basketball previously and that speaks to how well our pipeline is working."
Half of the 28 players have already won gold in either the Olympics or world basketball championships, which was renamed for this year's event. James, Anthony, Paul and Williams all have played on the last two Olympic gold medal winners.
Howard missed his chance to join them when he had to pull out of the 2012 London Games because of injury. So did Rose and Griffin — the latter after he had made the final 12-man roster.
Durant and Love were the first to announce their return last summer. They, along with Iguodala, Westbrook and Chandler, won gold in both 2010 and 2012.
As in 2010, when they won the worlds for the first time since 1994, the Americans will likely feature a younger roster. If the Olympic veterans decide to play again, they are expected to wait until 2016. Anthony already said Wednesday he would not play this summer.
But the U.S. would be loaded even without them, with the potential to bring players such as Aldridge, George and Cousins, who have been among the NBA's best this season.
2014-16 USA Men's National Team Roster
Player Ht Pos. NBA team
LaMarcus Aldridge 6-11 F Portland
Carmelo Anthony 6-8 F New York
Bradley Beal 6-5 G Washington
Stephen Curry 6-3 G Golden State
Tyson Chandler 7-1 C New York
DeMarcus Cousins 6-11 C Sacramento
Anthony Davis 6-10 F/C New Orleans
Andre Drummond 6-10 C Detroit
Kevin Durant 6-9 G Oklahoma City
Kenneth Faried 6-8 F Denver
Paul George 6-8 G Indiana
Blake Griffin 6-10 F L.A. Clippers
James Harden 6-5 G Houston
Gordon Hayward 6-8 F Utah
Dwight Howard 6-11 F/C Houston
Andre Iguodala 6-6 G/F Golden State
Kyrie Irving 6-3 G Cleveland
LeBron James 6-8 F Miami
Kyle Korver 6-7 G/F Atlanta
David Lee 6-9 F Golden State
Kawhi Leonard 6-7 F/G San Antonio
Damian Lillard 6-3 G Portland
Kevin Love 6-10 F Minnesota
Chris Paul 6-0 G L.A. Clippers
Derrick Rose 6-3 G Chicago
Klay Thompson 6-7 G Golden State
Russell Westbrook 6-3 G Oklahoma City
Deron Williams 6-3 G Brooklyn
Managing director: Jerry Colangelo
Head coach: Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
Assistant coach: Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
Assistant coach: Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
Assistant coach: Monty Williams, New Orleans Pelicans