USA Basketball clinched a spot in the 2023 FIBA World Cup with an 88-77 win over Uruguay on Thursday, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes. Longtime NBA guard Langston Galloway played a key role in Team USA’s comeback victory, scoring 11 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to help secure the win.
“Couldn’t be more proud about the group of guys that we have here,” Galloway said. “Just thankful for the opportunity. I’m getting to play and represent with the United States across my chest, and all the guys who have been part of this journey with me. … We accomplished the task at hand, which was qualifying for the World Cup.”
Team USA entered this month’s qualifiers needing to win one of two games to secure one of seven World Cup berths available to teams in the FIBA Americas region. Canada and the U.S. have now locked up two of those spots, but five remain up for grabs heading into the final day of qualifying matches on Sunday.
Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Brazil all have records of either 8-3 or 7-4 in qualifying so far and are battling to claim those five slots available in the FIBA Americas region — one of those six teams will be the odd man out after this weekend’s games and won’t compete in the World Cup later this year.
Here’s more on the World Cup:
- Joe Vardon of The Athletic takes a closer look at the players and coaches (led by former Bulls head coach Jim Boylen) who did the dirty work of qualifying for a tournament that they won’t actually get to participate in. Steve Kerr will coach a Team USA roster made up of NBA players at the actual World Cup in August and September. “Nobody’s really gonna say, ‘Oh, congrats to so-and-so for doing this for us,'” said former NBA guard John Jenkins, who was part of the U.S. roster during qualifiers. “I don’t do it for recognition from the world. I just do it because I feel an obligation for my country and for a lot of the guys that are gonna play in the World Cup. They are my friends or I’ve played against them for a while.”
- Within that same story, Vardon provides new context for a viral clip of Kerr telling Bulls guard Alex Caruso, “We’d love to have you” in December. According to Vardon, Kerr was actually talking to Caruso about Team USA’s World Cup roster, rather than trying recruit the veteran guard to the Warriors.
- Veteran forward Carmelo Anthony, who won three Olympic gold medals with USA Basketball, has been named a global ambassador for this year’s World Cup, according to a FIBA press release. “I’ve proudly represented the USA on the world’s largest stages, and the World Cup is the toughest competition in international basketball,” Anthony said in a statement. “It’s all about striking a perfect balance of personnel, talent and having that great chemistry. I’m looking forward to supporting all the players at the World Cup this year and celebrating the sport on a global scale.” Argentina’s Luis Scola and Spain’s Pau Gasol are also serving as global ambassadors who will help promote the event.