As Team USA basketball begins its preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, many of its top players have backed out of participating, mainly citing their preparation for the 2019-20 regular season. With the World Cup being played in China and ending just before NBA training camps begin, most stars and even some of the role players from the team have chosen rest over the tournament.
Kyle Kuzma is not one of those players. The Los Angeles Lakers forward was invited to the Team USA training camp from the beginning and has kept his commitment. While there is no guarantee that Kuzma will be on the roster sent to China, the number of players dropping out of Team USA only increases his chances. As Kuzma told the LA Times’ Arash Markazi, he could not let that opportunity go:
While many top NBA players have chosen not to participate for Team USA in the basketball World Cup in China this month, Kuzma said “I couldn’t let this opportunity slip by.”
“I’m not going to take for granted the chance to represent my country,” he said. ” I worked hard for this moment. I wasn’t a top recruit or an All-American, so I earned this. … I’ve also heard from some players who say they come back from Team USA more confident and poised and have career years. Hopefully, I can do the same.”
Team USA basketball has often been a springboard for young NBA players, given the opportunity to train with some of the best basketball players in the world in a competitive setting. The Lakers and Kuzma will be hoping for a similar opportunity for the third-year pro coming off what was a mildly disappointing year by the high standards he set after his rookie season.