U.S. men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has one more game to sort through and decide which players were “not selected” — as Coach K referred to it on Wednesday night — to travel with the team for the FIBA World Cup in Spain at the end of the month.
When he does make those final decisions, don’t necessarily expect the roster to be a truly star-studded, All-Star lineup.
“It’s not about whose stats were better in the NBA and what they did last year,” Krzyzewski told reporters following Thursday’s practice at the New York Athletic Club in midtown. “It’s what they’re doing right now and how they mesh with one another.”
Team USA, which will face Puerto Rico on Friday night at the Garden, can carry 12 players on its roster for the World Cup, formerly known as the FIBA World Championship. As of now, 16 players make up the roster. Reportedly, it’s possible the team will take 13 to Spain before making a final decision on who won’t be available for pool play and the tournament, but at least three won’t be with the team after this weekend.
Coach K said the coaching staff is “close” to picking the core eight or nine players. The last three or four won’t necessarily be the next best players on the current roster.
“They’re three guys that may not play, or when they play for two or three minutes, they play with everything for those two or three minutes,” Krzyzewski said. “And I think that’s that best way to do it. So, there might be a guy who doesn’t make it who has better stats than someone else, and that will be that way, probably.”