ESPN today announced that it will be televising two FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifier games in February showcasing the USA Basketball men’s national team. USA is in Group C of the Americas Qualifiers along with teams from Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
This Friday, Feb. 23, USA, currently first in Group C with a 2-0 record, will start the second window of the first round by taking on Cuba at 11 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Then, on Monday, Feb. 26, USA hosts the group’s second place team, Puerto Rico at 11 p.m. on ESPN2. ESPN play-by-play commentator Marc Kestecher will have the call for both games with analyst P.J. Carlesimo. The two matchups will be played at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz, Calif.
The February 2018 USA World Cup Qualifying Team is comprised of 12 players from the NBA G League. Representing the USA are: Taylor Braun (Salt Lake City Stars); Larry Drew II (Sioux Falls Skyforce); Alonzo Gee (Sioux Falls Skyforce); Aaron Harrison (Reno Bighorns); Rodney Purvis (Lakeland Magic); Xavier Silas (Northern Arizona Suns); David Stockton (Reno Bighorns); Rashawn Thomas (Oklahoma City Blue); Marcus Thornton (Canton Charge); Travis Wear (South Bay Lakers); Devin Williams (Maine Red Claws); and Derek Willis (Grand Rapids Drive).
ESPN analyst and former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, who led the USA to a 5-0 record and the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup and to a pair of wins in the FIBA World Cup Qualifying November window, returns as head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team. Veteran international coach Mo McHone and former Georgetown University coach John Thompson III will again serve as USA assistant coaches.
The USA started off the first window of qualifying, Nov. 23-27, with an 85-78 win over Puerto Rico on Nov. 23 and a 91-55 win over Mexico on Nov. 26. The final window of round one will begin June 28 and continue through July 2.
After the completion of all three schedule windows in round one, the top three teams in the group will move on to the second round with the eventual goal of qualifying for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China. FIBA’s full qualification process is explained here.