Ranking the top 10 UK players in the NBA during the John Calipari era at Kentucky
Former University of Kentucky star De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings has made the surprise decision to withdraw from USA Basketball’s national team, meaning the Americans now have 13 candidates for the 12-man World Cup roster.
Fox told USA Basketball of his choice Saturday, a few hours before the team would board a plane for Australia and final preparations for the World Cup that starts in China this month. Fox was in the team’s plans for the Australia trip, and it was believed that he would have been a very strong candidate for the World Cup squad.
But Fox played a team-low six minutes with two points and one assist in the Americans’ 90-81 win over Spain in a pre-World Cup exhibition at Anaheim, Calif., on Friday night. After the game, he gave no indication he was thinking about leaving the team.
After the game, he gave no indication he was thinking about leaving the team.
“It’s playing for your country and at the highest level,” Fox told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s us growing together as we try and take the next step in our careers.”
Hours later, Fox was headed in a different direction.
Fox was picked last month to be on USA Basketball’s select team – the young players brought in to scrimmage during training camp in Las Vegas against the national-team candidates, with the understanding that any of the select squad members could be elevated to the varsity.
Fox never even made it to the select team. He was pulled into practice with the national team from the outset of camp, and had 12 points, three rebounds and three assists in the intrasquad scrimmage Aug. 9.
“He has incredible speed,” USA Basketball Coach Gregg Popovich said during training camp. “I’m thinking and hoping that people have a hard time staying in front of him. He’s got a high intelligence level, he shoots it well enough and he wanted to be here. So all those things came together in us inviting him and he’s played well.”
Then Fox changed ultimately changed his mind, and became the latest player to pull out of World Cup consideration.
The USA’s remaining World Cup finalists 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); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).