At the end of the month, 32 countries will participate in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China. The United States is still in the process of finalizing its roster, but right now it’s looking like it will be comprised of a combination of borderline all-stars, rising up-and-comers, and veteran role players. The big name stars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and many others declined to participate for a myriad of reasons. The biggest name that has been invited to the training camp in Las Vegas is [checks notes] Kemba Walker!
Since interest in participating in the event appears to be declining among NBA players, let’s turn to the college ranks to build the roster instead. But we’re going to do it with mid-major players because, duh. Let’s roll.
This is a no-brainer. Few has done so well as a mid-major coach that it is now an insult to even call his school a mid-major. He’s familiar with the foreign game, and even has experience coaching with the USA Basketball program. Few was the head coach of the United States national team at the 2015 Pan American Games, where he led the US to a bronze medal.
Davis has one purpose on this team. That purpose is to get buckets and to do it at will. He wouldn’t have the same green light that he would have at Detroit Mercy, but maybe that would be a good thing. He’s shown that he’s a capable shooter from deep, and a roster that’s full of offensive firepower could unlock some playmaking abilities that he doesn’t get to show as often due to the offensive workload he carries for the Titans.
Speaking of bucket-getters, Aiken is one of the best. He’s lethal in just about every aspect you could hope for. He can create his own shot, hit threes at a high clip and set up his teammates for easy looks. He also has shown that he can come through in big moments, which could pay off as the tournament progresses.
Are you sensing a theme here? Riller gives us another lead guard that’s capable of getting his own shot or creating one for his teammates. He’s an efficient option with good assist and turnover rates, and he also excels at getting to the free throw line and converting at the stripe.
Are you interested in a guard that can do the following:
- Shoot above 40 percent from deep
- Has an assist rate that ranked in the top 10 nationally as a sophomore
- Draw 7.5 fouls per 40 minutes and hit 85 percent of his free throw attempts
Congrats, Colbey Ross is the guy for you! Ross might be the perfect fit to run an offense that is full of guys that like to work with the ball in their hands. Let him drive and kick and watch the magic happen.
Ford is just another guard that can hit threes at a high clip, take care of the ball, and work off the ball as a secondary option. As a sophomore, he thrived in Saint Mary’s’ balanced offense that centered around a dominant big man in Jock Landale. As a junior, he took on a greater workload and ball-handling responsibilities without sacrificing efficiency. He’ll fit in nicely with just about any lineup.
The Mountain West Player of the Year is a great do-it-all option on the wing. At 6’5, he provides good size with a versatile skillset. He shoots it well, can distribute to teammates, and is a decent rebounder for his position.
Injuries hindered his sophomore season, but there’s no denying the talent that Grady has. He provides another wing with decent size that can score all over the floor. He and Merrill would make for a tough duo to track as they navigate the floor without the ball.
Is Taylor a wing? Is he a big? Who really knows! Regardless of what position you want to classify him as, it’s hard to ignore his production. At 20 points and almost nine rebounds per game, Taylor stuffs the stat sheet all over the floor. The lefty brings a nice change of pace and could be utilized to exploit possible mismatches.
Hoover is here because he can hit a high volume of threes at a high clip. It’s that simple. Hoover hit almost 47 percent of his threes last year for Wofford. Open looks would be plentiful given the amount of offensive talent on the roster.
The sophomore big man is essentially a walking double-double that is also among the best rim protectors in the country. His size and athleticism make him a nightmare matchup for a lot of bigs, and the differences in basket interference rules in the international game could amplify his skillset around the hoop.
Lamb is one of the few players around that’s as comfortable in the post as he is on the perimeter. He possesses one of the most diverse offensive arsenals of any college player around, and his ability to have an impact on both ends would make a seamless fit with any lineup combination.
Childs brings a similar skillset to Bassey, but it’s never a bad thing to have bigs that can dominate in the paint like he can. With a blossoming face up game, Childs could provide a different look to defenses without sacrificing any leeway on the glass.
Do you have an idea for how you’d build the USA’s roster? Drop your team in the comments or let us know on Twitter!