Popovich to lead Select Team training vs US Olympic squad
Gregg Popovich will get started on his preparations for the 2020 Olympics when he oversees the Select Team of young players that will train against this year's U.S. basketball team.
USA Basketball named 25 players who will make up that roster Tuesday and said Popovich, the Spurs coach who will succeed Mike Krzyzewski as U.S. national coach after the Rio Olympics, will lead the squad.
The team, featuring a few college players expected to be high NBA draft picks, will work against the Americans during their training camp in Las Vegas from July 18-21.
Popovich has led San Antonio to five championships and is often considered the NBA's best coach. The Americans chose him last year to follow Krzyzewski, who has led the national team since 2005.
''Coach Popovich's coaching success speaks for itself and it will be great to have him be a part of this year's Las Vegas training camp,'' USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.
Popovich will be assisted by Jay Wright of national champion Villanova and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka.
The Select Team includes: D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle (Lakers), Jahlil Okafor and Jerami Grant (Philadelphia), Stanley Johnson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit), Devin Booker (Phoenix); Jabari Parker (Milwaukee); Justise Winslow (Miami), Aaron Gordon (Orlando), Marcus Smart (Boston), Zach LaVine (Minnesota), CJ McCollum (Portland), Cody Zeller (Charlotte), Myles Turner (Indiana), Doug McDermott (Chicago), Emmanuel Mudiay and Gary Harris (Denver), Willie Cauley-Stein (Sacramento) and Rodney Hood (Utah).
College players include: Brandon Ingram (Duke), Denzel Valentine (Michigan State), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia); Kris Dunn (Providence); and Brice Johnson (North Carolina).
The U.S. first trained against a select team in 2007 and being chosen for the squad has given a number of future Olympians their start in the program, such as Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and Andre Iguodala. Kyrie Irving also played for the Select Team in 2012 and two years later was the MVP of the Basketball World Cup.
''Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and it is an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball's national team program in the future,'' Colangelo said.
USA Basketball also announced Tuesday that the Americans' exhibition opener against Argentina on July 22 would be played at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The team has usually played its games on the campus of UNLV, where it will continue to train.
Online at www.usab.com/showcase .