Trans. Sep 15 1:08 ET (Sep 15 1:08 ET ) By Larry Fine NEW YORK (Reuters) - A spate of late withdrawals, a serious injury to Paul George and several marquee names missing appeared to put Team USA under a cloud for the 2014 Basketball World Cup and for future international competition. Instead, a group of sharp-shooting NBA regulars were unbeaten in Spain and produced a 129-92 victory over Serbia in the final to underline the depth the U.S. Stalwarts LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul were missing from the initial training camp, with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin bowing out late in the process before Indiana forward George broke his leg in training and could now miss the NBA season.
Go shopping with powerhouse basketball player Russell Westbrook - whose colorful style has made headlines outside of sports - and you'll probably be surprised by his favorite section: the sale rack. The Oklahoma City Thunder star player roams around Barneys New York Inc. on Madison Avenue, and when I suggest a fitted dark blue leather jacket, the point guard reacts: ''No, 'cause I know it costs like $3,000.'' Westbrook says he's not going to buy the most expensive clothes just because he can afford it. ''I may look at it, see how much it costs and then decide if I'm going to get it or not.'' The Long Beach, California-born athlete said he did think about price points when collaborating with Barneys for his new line, Westbrook-XO-Barneys New York. ''But also, if it's in Barney's ... it's got to be higher than your normal (price).'' Westbrook, 25, says other companies approached him about collaborating on a fashion line, but explains, ''There's no better place than Barneys.'' It's no surprise that fashion houses want to cash in on the Westbrook brand.
Derrick Rose was named as one of the 19 players who will participate in the upcoming national team mini-camp July in Las Vegas prior to the FIBA World Cup, USA Basketball announced Monday morning.
Despite Rose previously telling Yahoo! Sports last month that he was uncertain that he would participate, it was always believed that the former league MVP would try out for the team, something bolstered by not only the comments of Bulls head coach and national-team assistant Tom Thibodeau shortly thereafter, but USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski in a conference call Monday.
“Well, we'd like to see him play like the Derrick of old, one of the best players in the world, an MVP in the NBA," Krzyzewski said. "What we've heard is he's in great shape. We'll see how he'll do in five-on-five; on the fifth day we'll do intra-squad. Hopefully he's going to be in top shape. Derrick's a great player, a great guy. I know representing his country in Istanbul as one of our starting guards was a great experience for him. Hopefully this will be a launching pad for him to have a great NBA season.”
That is what occurred in 2010, when Rose played on USA Basketball’s FIBA World Championships team that won a gold medal, in a prelude to his NBA MVP season. This time around, the point guard is coming back from his second season-ending knee surgery and will compete players at his position such as Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Portland’s Damian Lillard, all of whom became All-Stars during Rose’s last few injury-plagued campaigns.
According to reports, Washington’s John Wall could later be invited to try out, further increasing the competition between young floor generals. However, Rose’s close friend Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City declined to participate, which makes sense, given his own knee injuries, including three surgeries in the recent past.
Other players who are slated to be in Las Vegas for the opening of the training camp, which begins July 28 and concludes with an Aug. 1 intra-squad scrimmage on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, are big men DeMarcus Cousins of the Kings, Chicago native Anthony Davis of the Pelicans, Pistons center Andre Drummond, Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried, Clippers power forward Blake Griffin and Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love. Invited wing players include Washington shooting guard Bradley Beal, Toronto swingman DeMar DeRozan, reigning league MVP Kevin Durant of the Thunder, Pacers small forward Paul George, Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward, Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, newly-acquired Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons and Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson.
-- Aggrey Sam, CSNChicago.com
(Reuters) - Dynamic guard Russell Westbrook, citing rest as his top priority, has declared himself unavailable for the United States basketball team at this year's World Cup in Spain. Westbrook, 25, who won gold medals on the U.S. team at the 2010 World Championship and 2012 Olympics Games, missed almost half of last season with the National Basketball Association's Oklahoma City Thunder because of knee injuries. "I have received confirmation from Russell that he will not be participating in this summer's USA Basketball Men's National Team training and the World Cup due to his need to rest," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement Tuesday.