Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is among the 16 finalists who will compete for a roster spot on the 12-man U.S. national basketball team that will compete in the FIBA World Cup.
Cousins was expected to make the cut given his strong showing at the Team USA training camp last week in Las Vegas.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo announced the initial cuts early Tuesday.
“All the coaches were really pleased with DeMarcus and how he played,” Krzyzewski said Tuesday during a teleconference. “Look, his attitude is tremendous because he would not keep coming back if it did not mean something to him. We recognized that. He was committed, ready to go, in good shape. He was talking on defense, was our leading rebounder, and gives our team a little different look, and can pass out of the post. He make a huge impact on all of us.”
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Washington Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal and Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap were cut from the 20-man roster that already was down a player following the gruesome season-ending knee injury Paul George suffered in Friday’s scrimmage in Las Vegas.
The 16 players will resume training sessions Aug. 14-16 in Chicago and play exhibition games against the Dominican Repubic and Brazil. Another training camp will be Aug. 18-22 in New York. The final roster must be submitted the day before the World Cup Tournament in Spain begins Aug. 30.
Cousins, 23, is competing against Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn) and Andre Drummond (Detroit) for one of two possible center vacancies.
The other finalists are Steph Curry and Klay Thompson (Golden State), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Derrick Rose (Chicago), Anthony Davis (New Orleans), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Kenneth Faried (Denver), Gordon Hayward (Utah), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Kyle Korver (Atlanta), Damian Lillard (Portland) and Chandler Parsons (Dallas).