Team USA has been named the FIBA World Cup Champions four times, the most recent coming in 2014 under the legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski. In 2019, the team took home their worst placement ever, seventh place, under similarly historic Greg Popovich. This year, they’ll look for redemption under the new regime led by Warriors head coach and former Chicago Bulls player Steve Kerr. As a nine-time NBA Champion, it’s safe to say the United States team is in capable hands. While Team USA is traditionally scattered with some of the league’s biggest stars, its majority has come from the youngest talent in the league or some players even at the collegiate level. Kerr’s latest wave of recruits includes a shocking addition from the Chicago Bulls bench.
Carushow Going Global
The Athletic’s Joe Vardon named Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Alex Caruso as Steve Kerr’s latest hopefuls to join the Team USA roster for this summer’s tournament. While the roster has not been released yet, a team mostly made up of G-League players and former NBA players was able to secure the United States position a few months prior. In late August, they’ll begin with two games against probable future Olympic opponents in Slovenia and Spain, the latter being the current top-ranked national team globally.
Caruso will certainly add defensive prowess to Team USA, but it’s a bit of a surprise seeing his name, considering it has mainly been made up of the NBA’s top talent or youngest talent, with no in-between. Being an older wing player who’s fairly one-dimensional, his value in representing the United States only shines on one end of the floor. Given the size restriction of the roster, it would be a shock if he stayed on for the Olympic games next year, assuming he even accepts this unofficial FIBA World Cup offer.
Not Kerr’s First Time Recruiting Caruso
Bulls fans have read this headline before, a few months ago, when Steve Kerr was seen speaking with Alex Caruso following a meeting between Golden State and Chicago. In a video capturing the interaction, Kerr appeared to implore Caruso to head west and play for the reigning NBA champion Warriors. According to The Athletic, Kerr recently combated these assumptions, saying he was referring to this summer’s Team USA squad when talking to Chicago’s 29-year-old guard about joining forces.
Trade talks between the two sides never gained any traction, partially because of the Bulls’ reportedly monstrous asking price for the defensive menace. Nevertheless, Gary Payton II was shipped back to Golden State to fill a similar role, while Caruso remained in the Windy City. Kerr has always been outspoken about Caruso’s IQ, defensive intensity, and leadership that he brings to any team he’s on. When we departed the Western Conference a few years ago, here’s what he had to say about the tenacious point guard.
“Caruso’s great. I was really happy to see him go to the Eastern Conference,”…”He’s an excellent defender on and off the ball — tough, smart. Great pickup for the Bulls.”Steve Kerr via CBS Sports
Whether it’s a form of tampering or simply needing perimeter defending, Kerr’s been adamant about wanting to coach Caruso and deploy him, whether it be on Team USA or the Golden State Warriors. Either way, the United States will look to be one of seven teams during this FIBA World Cup to qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics, where Zach LaVine will likely join the roster for his second-straight time representing the country. In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, played in 2021 due to the COVID pandemic, he led Team USA in three-point percentage at 47% during their run to gold and was effectively their sixth man, scoring 10.6 points per game off the bench.
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