The qualifiers are now complete for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, and the field of 32 teams has been set. In addition to tournament host China, the list of countries (or regions) participating in the event includes 12 teams from Europe’s qualifiers, seven from Asia’s, seven from the Americas group, and five from Africa.
Here’s the full list of teams set to participate in basketball’s 2019 World Cup:
- Cote d’Ivoire
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- New Zealand
- Puerto Rico
The 2019 FIBA World Cup is scheduled to take place later this year, from August 31 to September 15, in China. While Team USA was coached by Jeff Van Gundy during the qualifiers, Gregg Popovich will take over for the event itself in the fall. As Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press details, Popovich had nothing but praise for Van Gundy for his work with teams made up primarily of G Leaguers during the qualifiers.
“He was remarkable. Spectacular. Off the charts what he did to qualify the USA for the world championships,” Popovich said of JVG. “He put together about five different teams, mostly different players each time in a short amount of time they had to get them ready. If they didn’t do well, U.S. doesn’t go and he deserves a lot of credit for doing that on his own and really grateful to him.”
Team USA will set its roster for the World Cup closer to the event itself, but USA Basketball announced a 35-player pool of potential participants last spring. That list, which is headed by stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry, will be trimmed down for a training camp this summer before being reduced to 12 players for the World Cup.
For his part, Popovich said he isn’t planning on trying to recruit certain players to participate in the event when he sees them during Spurs games during the rest of the 2018/19 season, as Mahoney relays.
“I just think that would be inappropriate for me before games to go up to one or two guys on each team and say, ‘Hey, are you going to play for us this summer? I’d really like to have you,'” Popovich said. “(People would think), ‘He’s there to try to whip. He’s got a different priority that night,’ and I think it would be inappropriate for me try to do that.”