USA Basketball announced its finalists for Team USA -- 16 players who'll compete for the 12-man roster that will try to win gold at the FIBA World Cup in Spain starting August 30. And the big surprise is that Mason Plumlee is one of them.
"It's quite an honor to be added to the National Team and to be a finalist for the World Cup roster," said Plumlee. 'I am very much looking forward to training camp in Chicago as the next step in representing our country as a member of USA Basketball."
Plumlee, 24, has been the surprise of the Team USA camp, rising from the USA Select Team practice squad to the finalists. Brian Windhorst tweeted last week that Plumlee was "likely" to make the final roster over DeMarcus Cousins, raising a great hue and cry from Sacramento and elsewhere.
"This phase of the selection process was extremely difficult and very thorough, and it’s worth again mentioning that we are looking to select the best team, which are not necessarily the best players," managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.
Later Tuesday, Coach Mike Krzyzewski praised Plumlee and hinted that it may not be Cousins who's at risk.
Coach K says Plumlee's doing "what he did his sr year at Duke, when he was rated the top big in the country." Says being around KG helped.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) August 5, 2014
"Mason made a mark during the week and did well in the second half of the scrimmage. He's under consideration no question." Coach K #Nets— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) August 5, 2014
Krzyzewski is much more effusive in his praise of Cousins than Drummond, mentions Drummond's age multiple times.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) August 5, 2014
An NBA All-Rookie First Team member in his first year out of Duke University, Plumlee appeared in 70 games (22 starts) for Brooklyn, averaging 7.4 points (8th among rookies) on 65.9% shooting (1st among rookies), 4.4 rebounds (t-4th among rookies), 0.70 steals (7th among rookies) and 0.79 blocks (t-4th among rookies) in 18.2 minutes per game.
Plumlee was also first among all qualifying rookies in player efficiency rating (19.0), win shares (4.7) and true shooting percentage (67.0%) and played more minutes per game for a team that finished the regular season over .500 than any other rookie.
- Plumlee named finalist for World Cup roster - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Breaking down the remaining Team USA roster - Marc Stein & Brian Windhorst - ESPN
- Plumlee has shot to make Team USA - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Mason Plumlee survives crucial round of Team USA cuts - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Plumlee named to USA Basketball roster - Jason Schott - Brooklyn Fans
- US men down to 16 roster finalists - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Plumlee survives round of Team USA cuts - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
Mason Plumlee Added to 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team Roster - Brooklyn Nets