From Summer League to USA Select to Team USA. Mason Plumlee has had himself one improbable summer.
Team USA announced the final roster of 12 players Saturday morning and the 7'1" Nets center is going to Spain. USA Basketball announced the roster in a series of tweets before the official announcement.
Plumlee, 24, is the first Net to make a Team USA since Deron Williams won his second gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. He joins two other Nets in the FIBA World Cup, which begins on August 30 in Spain. Bojan Bogdanovic will play for Croatia and Jorge Gutierrez for Mexico. In addition, his teammate from last year, Andray Blatche, is playing for the Philippines. Joe Wolf, the Nets new big man coach, is assisting Mike Fratello on the Ukraine roster.
Two other Nets, Mirza Teletovic and Sergey Karasev, are also playing for their national teams in the FIBA Europe Qualifying Tournament, now underway.
Plumlee, the most improbable member of the unit, signaled his gratitude with a tweet.
On behalf of the Nets, Billy King issued a statement later Saturday morning...
"We are very excited that Mason will represent Brooklyn on Team USA in the World Cup. There is no greater honor than to represent your country, and Mason has worked very hard the last two months to earn his place on the team."
Plumlee began the summer as a member of the Nets Summer League roster, then was selected to the USA Select team, the practice squad for Team USA, in a bit of a surprise. In his first practice, Plumlee played so well that Coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball Managing Director Jerry Colangelo elevated him to Team USA, where he joined 17 others trying out for the team. Kevin Durant dropped out and Paul George was injured. It was Plumlee's vocal defense that won him final consideration and then the roster spot.
"It’s been a great experience, and whatever happens, I’m grateful for the opportunity to work out with the team," Plumlee said after Team USA’s 112-86 exhibition victory over Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden.
There has a great deal of criticism and simple disbelief that Plumlee, who averaged only 7.4. points and 4.4 in 18 minutes as a rookie, would make the team, with some suggesting the Duke graduate was Krzyzewski's "teacher's pet." Still, despite his limited individual accomplishments, the Nets were 16-6 with him as a starter last season.
As John Schuhmann writes, Plumlee was not the only surprise on the final roster...
Two players – DeMar DeRozan and Andre Drummond – who didn’t play on Friday made the final roster. Drummond is the fourth center on the team, while DeRozan made the cut over Chandler Parsons and Kyle Korver. He offers more playmaking and explosive scoring ability than the other two.