Having previously attended the 2013 USA Basketball Men's National Team mini camp, Paul George has now officially been announced by USA Basketball as one of the 19 players that will be vying for a roster spot on the 2014 World Cup Team. Overall, 19 players representing 18 different NBA teams have been selected to participate at the USA Men's National Team Training Camp to be held in Las Vegas at the end of July. Included amongst the names announced are former Olympic Gold Medalists and World Champions along with a slate of new-comers:
Guards: Chicago's Derrick Rose, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, Portland's Damian Lillard, Washington's Bradley Beal, Golden State's Stephen Curry, Houston's James Harden, and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan
Wings: Indiana's Paul George, Utah's Gordon Hayward, Atlanta's Kyle Korver, Dallas' Chandler Parsons, and Golden State's Klay Thompson
Centers: Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans' Anthony Davis, and Detroit's Andre Drummond
Ever since attending USA Basketball's mini camp, George has routinely expressed his desire to be able to represent his country in international competition as well as compete both with and against the best players in the world:
While participating in a charity softball game for Indiana's Children's Wish Fund co-hosted by Roy Hibbert at Victory Field, Paul George explained to the Indy Star how preparing for the opportunity to compete in Spain has completely altered his offseason approach:
"(The World Cup of Basketball) has changed my whole summer. I've been completely healthy with what I've been eating. My whole diet has shifted and it's paying off. I've had so much energy during my workouts."
Choosing to take minimal time off as well as hiring a personal chef, the Palmdale product is likely hoping that all of his hard work will translate into a roster spot and, perhaps, even a Gold Medal. In order to take the next step toward one of his goals, George will have to continue to make a strong impression on the selection committee at the Men's National Training Camp.
Of the 19 names selected, George is the only player listed to be named as both an NBA All-Star and NBA All-Defender. As such, if the team is in search of a lock-down perimeter defender, PG is probably their man. During the 2013-2014 NBA season, George ranked 5th in the league in steals with 1.8 per game and was the league's only player to record at least 20 blocks, 150 steals, and 470 defensive rebounds.
Listed by USA Basketball as a wing, George is seemingly not in direct competition with any members of the 2010 World Championship Team or 2012 Olympic Team. Though not as consistent from three-point range as some of his competitors, Paul is capable of boasting the highest scoring average of the wings named and is arguably the most versatile given his ability to guard multiple positions.
If George is able to successfully catch the eye of the selection committee and is indeed chosen to represent the United States in Spain this summer, expect him to grow immensely from the experience of being surrounded by numerous talented players and coaches.
According to USA Basketball, the Las Vegas training camp will take place from July 28-August 1. Following the Men's National training, will be a USA Blue versus USA White exhibition game. At that point in time, the 12 team finalists will be given time off before playing in various exhibition games at the United Center and Madison Square Garden. The 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball will then commence on August 30.