On Monday, USA basketball announced that Charlotte Hornets shooting guard Dwayne Bacon will be invited to training camp for the national team. The former Florida State standout is one of 14 players that will have the chance to play for team USA in the next round of World Cup Qualifying. Only 12 can make the team, which is being led by former Houston Rockets and New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy.
Van Gundy’s team went 5-1 in the first round of qualifying which was good enough to top their group. After training camp which begins Thursday, the team will play two games this month. The first is against Uruguay in Las Vegas on September 14th and the second is an away game against Panama on September 17th. Eventually, team USA will have to play Uruguay, Panama, and Argentina twice during this round of qualifying.
Seven teams from FIBA America’s will qualify for next summers World Cup and it is widely expected that the USA will be one of those teams. However, they must play well during the next round of games and there will be stiff competition for Dwayne Bacon and his teammates. After two games this month, team USA will play their next four games during the period of this November/December and February 2019.
The Hornets traded for Bacon during the 2017 NBA Draft after he was initially drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans. He averaged 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game during his rookie season and the team is hoping for more improvement from him this season. This opportunity would help him improve as a player and get some game action in as NBA training camp approaches.
It will be interesting to see if Bacon makes the team, which is filled with a lot of G-League and young NBA players. He is likely only going to play this round of qualifying since the World Cup roster will consist of some of the best players in NBA. Nonetheless, this is an exciting opportunity for Bacon and hopefully he takes advantage of the chance to represent USA basketball.