Fresh off a second consecutive loss in the 2019 FIBA World Cup that will ensure USA finishes no better than seventh – the worst finish ever by an American men’s team in a major tournament – Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reports that USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo won’t forget those who backed out of commitments to play in the World Cup this summer when the time comes to start assembling the 2020 Tokyo Olympics roster.
“I can only say, you can’t help but notice and remember who you thought you were going to war with and who didn’t show up.” Colangelo said. “The players (we have) did everything they can do… But we went in with higher expectations in terms of roster and it didn’t kind of happen the way we were hopeful and anticipating and expecting. That, to me, was a big disappointment.”
As Reynolds notes, of the 35 players originally selected for the U.S. player pool, only four are in China for the World Cup. Many pullouts cited schedule concerns and lingering injuries, but it appears Colangelo isn’t satisfied with some of the players’ excuses.
“Going forward for USA Basketball, we’re going to need the cooperation of teams, agents and then there has to be communication with players 1-on-1 to solidify those commitments,” Colangelo said. “I am going to be anxious to see how many players reach out early to indicate that they wish and want and desire to play (in the 2020 Olympics)… But I’ll make this statement: It’s as much about maybe who we don’t want as much as who we want.”