Former University of Kentucky star De’Aaron Fox scored 12 points and had three assists in USA Basketball’s Blue-White scrimmage in Las Vegas on Friday night.
That performance was rewarded with the Sacramento Kings point guard now one of 17 players under consideration for 12 spots on the Americans’ Basketball World Cup squad.
However, Bam Adebayo, the school’s other former player in camp, already knows he won’t be headed to China.
The Miami Heat center, who had three points, two rebounds, one assist and two steals in 10-plus minutes on Friday night was informed after the game that he had been cut from the team along with Chicago Bulls forward Thaddeus Young.
The Blue squad – the national team candidates, for the most part – had little trouble defeating the White squad, composed mostly of young up-and-coming NBA players, 97-78, in the scrimmage.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum scored 17 points for the Blue, which also got 14 from his future Celtics teammate Kemba Walker.
“It’s the beginning, a new tournament, another World Cup and I think our guys are making progress,” U.S. Coach Gregg Popovich said. “They haven’t played together before. Showing great effort, doing a good job in a lot of different ways, just trying to get used to each other and form a team. We’re still in those early stages of trying to get together, figure out how we want to play and learn about each other.”
Next up: Week 2 of camp, starting Tuesday at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, Calif.
Popovich and his staff will have about two more weeks to figure out which 12 players will be in China on the World Cup roster. The tournament starts Aug. 31 and the Americans open group play on Sept. 1 against the Czech Republic in Shanghai.
“There’s some things we like about every one of the players but how do we come to 12?” said Jerry Colangelo, the USA Men’s National Team’s managing director. “We don’t have to make the decision now and we want to give everyone a real shot.”
Popovich started Donovan Mitchell, Walker, Jaylen Brown, Myles Turner and Khris Middleton, though he cautioned against reading much into that. The next five into the game were Tatum, Fox, Brook Lopez, Joe Harris and Kyle Kuzma. Kyle Lowry and Marcus Smart missed the game with injuries.
“I think it’s incumbent on the staff to figure out the best combinations as far as roles are concerned,” Popovich said.