The United States traveled to Recife, Brazil, with the intention of continuing to enlarge its legacy in the history of basketball. Although he dispensed with his main figures and did not present a squad with basketball players who currently play in the best league on the planet, those commanded by Alexander Young Jensen (member of the technical staff of the Utah Jazz) promise to give battle to the Argentine team, another of the main contenders for the title. Among its 12 teams are athletes with a past in the NBA and in European teams.
“Like us, The United States comes from low to high in the tournament, with players we know from Europe and others with a past in the NBA. They are talented and athletic, we will have to give 100 percent. It will be a spicy match that will be defined in the details”, warned Facundo Campazzo, star albicelestein the run-up to the semifinal clash.
After a poor performance at the 2019 World Cup in China, where they finished in seventh place, the USA Team revived by winning their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020. In addition, without their main figures, they maintained a firm step in the FIBA Americas qualification for the 2023 Basketball World Cup by winning five of their six appearances within Group D. They then started their way to the next round with a comfortable victory against Uruguay by 105 to 71.
In the AmeriCup, a competition that has him as the last champion by winning in 2017 in the final against Argentina by 81 to 76, it started in a somewhat irregular way when falling by 67 to 73 against Mexico. However, they later recovered by winning against Panama (88 to 58) and Venezuela (101 to 49). In the quarterfinals, they had to sweat more than necessary to narrowly eliminate Puerto Rico (85 to 84).
The number one in the FIBA world ranking is playing for the tenth time this tournament, which he won seven times (followed by Brazil, with four golds). It is worth noting that in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 they did not participate and returned triumphantly in the 2017 edition.
The North Americans, as they have been doing for several years for this type of event, arrived in Brazil with a rather alternative squad. For example, they went to Tokyo with names like Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Damian Lillar, Jayson Tatum and to the World Cup in China with Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Khris Middleton and Marcus Smart. Already in the windows heading to the World Cup, the aforementioned level decreased, by summoning promises from the G-League alternating with some more recognized ones such as Jordan Bell and Isaiah Thomas.
One of the most prominent names on the current squad is Norris Cole, an experienced 33-year-old guard who won two NBA rings with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. He also defended the jerseys of the New Orleans Pelicans and the Oklahoma City Thunders. His last steps in Europe were ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne, Unicaja Málaga and JL Bourg.
He is currently the team’s top scorer, with an average of 15 points (sixth top scorer in the tournament -table led by Argentine Gabriel Deck-) and a 59.1 percent effectiveness rate in triples. He also contributes 2.3 rebounds and 4 assists (tenth in this section) per game. Cole also scored a key double in the victory against Puerto Rico.
Patrick McCaw, The 26-year-old, 7-foot shooting guard is another one of Jensen’s guys who knows what it’s like to have a championship ring in his house. The Missouri native He was part of the Golden Sate (2017 and 2018) and Toronto (2019) teams when they conquered the NBA. He has barely contributed so far with an average of 3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2 assists.
The other NBA champion on the team is one of the more experienced shooting guards. Jodie Meeks (35 years old). She made history by doing her bit to win over the Toronto Raptors in 2019. The athlete, who has been averaging 8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2 assists, has also defended the jerseys of the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.
The second best scorer in the United States is Jeremy Pargo with 11.3 goals on average. He is also the team’s assist leader, with 5.3 (fourth in the tournament, category led by Facundo Campazzo). The 36-year-old shooting guard, who defends the colors of the Windy City Bulls in the G-League today, played for Napoli in Italy and has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors.
It is also to assess the task of Craig Sworda 28-year-old point guard who, after not being selected in the Draft and passing through Poland, Mexico and the G-League, had a brief stint with the Washington Wizards last season. The basketball player, who also played in the current qualifiers with Team USA, is averaging 10.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
The 2.11 meter giant Stephen Zimmerman He is one of the defensive pillars of the United States in this AmeriCup with an average of 8.8 rebounds (the second best of the tournament, only surpassed by Ángel Delgado, from the Dominican Republic). The one chosen in 2016 by the Orlando Magics went through the G-League and Australia.
The roster is completed by point guard Frank Mason (former Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magics), shooting guard Elijah Pemberton, power forward Will Davis, forward Anthony Lamb (former Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs), forward Zylan Cheatham (New Orleans Pelicans) and power forward Gary Clark (Houston Rockets, Orlando Magics, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans).
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