John Wall has been invited to participate with the Team USA select team that will scrimmage with the Olympic team this summer, USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo confirmed on Thursday.
The Wizards switched to red, white and blue this season, but Wall has long stated that one of his goals is wearing those colors while representing the United States in international competition. Being a part of the select team is an important step in being part of the U.S. men’s national team pool, since many have already used it as a springboard.
The full roster has yet to be announced, but Wall’s former teammate at Kentucky, DeMarcus Cousins, and 2011 No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers are also expected to be on the team for up-and-comers. Wall averaged 16.5 points, 8.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds last season and said he would take a different approach to his offseason training. He participated in several summer league exhibitions last summer, but said he is “cool on that. That was just because of the lockout it was too much time.”
Scrimmaging with the select team will provide Wall with a great opportunity to battle some of the best players at his position – all-star point guards Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams are currently in the Olympic pool – and leave an impression with Colangelo for future opportunities with USA Basketball. Colangelo often likes to use the phrase “equity” to describe the need for player to pay their dues within the program.
Before claiming the gold medal in 2008, the U.S. trained against a 14-man select team that featured Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Andre Iguodala and Westbrook. Those five went on to lead the United States to a gold medal in the world championships in Turkey two years later. Wizards rookies Shelvin Mack and Chris Singleton were part of the select team of college players in 2010, but they are not under consideration for this summer.
Wall could be in the pool for the 2014 world championships in Spain. Unfortunately for Wall, he may have already missed out on his chance of playing in the Olympics. In an interview with ESPN radio this week, NBA commissioner David Stern said that he is considering limiting the Olympic team to players “23 and under.” The 21-year-old Wall would be 25 for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Colangelo said earlier this week that he would likely have to expand the pool for the Olympic team roster given recent injuries to Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups and Lamarcus Aldridge. The remaining list of healthy finalists for the 2012 Olympic team include Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Durant, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, Deron Williams, Blake Griffin, Tyson Chandler, Westbrook, Love, Iguodala, Rudy Gay and Eric Gordon.
The deadline to submit the final 12-man roster plus six alternatives is June 18, but the United States is expected to make an announcement much sooner.
Team USA will train in Las Vegas July 6-11, then play an exhibition against the Dominican Republic on July 12. The U.S. team will also train for two days in Washington before hosting Brazil in an exhibition game on July 16. WTOP’s Dave Johnson first reported the news.