John Wall will attend Team USA Basketball’s training camp next week in Las Vegas after accepting an 11th-hour invitation, the Washington Wizards announced Friday. ESPN’s Marc Stein first reported the news.
The Wizards all-star guard was left off the original list of 28 invites announced in January — a pool of players that included Wizards teammate Bradley Beal, along with point guards Stephen Curry (Golden State), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Damian Lillard (Portland), Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers), Derrick Rose (Chicago), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City) and Deron Williams (Brooklyn). Paul, Westbrook and Williams, among others, ultimately elected not to compete, leaving some to wonder if Wall would be named to the training camp roster as a replacement.
Wall boosted his stock by earning a spot on the Eastern Conference all-star roster, pacing the NBA in total assists with 721 to go with a career-high scoring average of 19.3 points and leading the Wizards to their first playoff berth in six seasons. Once there, Wall played a significant role in the Wizards winning their first postseason series since 2005 by knocking off the Chicago Bulls in the first round before falling to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“I am honored to be invited back to participate with USA Basketball and to have the opportunity to represent my country,” Wall said in the Wizards press release. “I am also proud that Bradley and I will be able to represent the Wizards organization together while competing for roster spots against our peers from around the league.”
Wall’s addition means the Wizards are now one of two teams to boast multiple players at training camp along with Golden State, which is represented by Curry and Klay Thompson.
This won’t be Wall’s first experience with USA Basketball. Last year, he participated in the National Team mini-camp and scored 10 points in the USA Basketball Showcase. Wall was also a member of the 2012 USA Men’s Select Team that trained against the USA Basketball Men’s National Team that went on to win the gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
“We are excited that John is now able to participate in our training camp. He had an outstanding season with the Wizards and was a strong performer for us at last year’s National Team mini-camp,” said USA Basketball National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo. “As we’ve said in the past, we can only extend the invitations to be part of the USA team; the players have to make the fins decision and sometimes that decision changes because their circumstances have changed.”
Toronto Raptors standout DeMar DeRozan and newly signed Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons were also recently added to the group of 19 players who will open camp Monday (Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin announced Thursday that he will not participate in the camp). The pool will eventually be narrowed down to a roster of 12 that will represent the United States in FIBA’s World Cup of Basketball beginning Aug. 30 in Spain.
The news comes after the French national team announced Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin will not compete in the World Cup of Basketball after Washington elected not to let the newly re-signed post player attend following a recent minor knee operation. Seraphin underwent the arthroscopic surgery shortly before he signed a one-year qualifying offer with the Wizards for $3.89 million last week.