San Antonio Spurs: Derrick White makes 2019 USA World Cup Team
By Ethan Farina
The United States roster for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup was finalized early Saturday morning. The decision was made after it became clear that Kyle Kuzma‘s ankle injury would hold him out of the tournament. San Antonio Spurs rising star Derrick White made the team and will be heading to China in late August.
White’s growth over the past two years has been astounding. Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich noted White’s growth in talking to the media.
“He’s had steady progress, but he is one of those guys, he started out in Division II and ended up playing on our G League team for a couple of years, and he just seemed to get better year-by-year, week-by-week. We brought him on the Select Team, just to scrimmage against the main team, and he played so well, that we moved him up. So, he’s a heck of a story.”
White’s rise over the past few years has been nothing short of stunning as he’s quietly made himself into one of the most versatile young guards in the league.
By all accounts, White seems to be a very grounded player. Still, making the World Cup team alongside established stars like Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton surely has to be a huge confidence boost for an up-and-coming talent like White.
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Other notable names on Team USA include Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. Overall, this group is one of the youngest in recent memory for the United States.
It remains to be seen how much White will actually contribute to the World Cup squad as his playing time thus far has been limited to the closing minutes of games. In any case, it’s going to be a great experience for White.
The United States consistently contends for gold medals, and winning on the world stage could be quite the catalyst for a young player on the verge of taking another leap in his career.
The 2019 World Cup begins in China a week from today on August 31st, and the United States’ first game of the tournament will be on September 1st against the Czech Republic.
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Coming off of a breakout season and now making the World Cup team, White has had himself quite the summer. His growth is an encouraging sign for Spurs fans everywhere. San Antonio will need White to continue to get better if they want to compete in the new and improved Western Conference.