PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – USA Basketball announced Thursday that Northern Arizona Suns guard Xavier Silas is one of 14 players who accepted an invitation to its World Cup Qualifying Team training camp.
Of the 14 players attending the training camp in Los Angeles from Feb. 15-20, 12 will make the team to compete in Team USA’s World Cup Qualifying first round, second-window games against Cuba on Feb. 23 and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 in Santa Cruz, California.
The 14 players selected to attend the training camp will also compete for NBA G League USA in the inaugural NBA G League International Challenge on Feb. 18. The NBA G League International Challenge replaces the traditional NBA G League All-Star Game, which debuted at NBA All-Star 2007 in Las Vegas. NBA G League USA will face off against the Mexican National Team at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb. 18 at 2:30 p.m. MT.
This season, Silas is averaging a career-high 19.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting 40.1 percent from beyond the arc. He leads the entire NBA G League in three-point makes on the year (123) and averages the second most three-pointers made per game (4.0). In his NBA G League career, he sits in eighth all-time on the three-point makes list (378) and 28th on the all-time scoring list (2,495 points).
At the training camp, Silas will be joined by Taylor Braun (Salt Lake City Stars), Semaj Christon (free agent), Larry Drew II (Sioux Falls Skyforce), Alonzo Gee (Sioux Falls Skyforce), Aaron Harrison (Reno Bighorns), Terrence Jones (Santa Cruz Warriors), Trey McKinney Jones (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), Rodney Purvis (Lakeland Magic), David Stockton (Reno Bighorns), Rashawn Thomas (Oklahoma City Blue), Marcus Thornton (Canton Charge), Travis Wear (South Bay Lakers) and Devin Williams (Maine Red Claws).
The 2017 USA Basketball World Cup Qualifying Team went 2-0 during the November first-round games. The FIBA World Cup Qualifying games are used to qualify 31 of the 32 nations that will compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. China is already qualified as the host nation. Games in November were part of the first round of qualifying. The round continues with games in February, June and July of 2018. There are three rounds of qualifiers to get to the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Jeff Van Gundy, who led the USA to a 5-0 record and the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup and to a pair of wins in the FIBA World Cup Qualifying November window, returns as head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team. Veteran international coach Mo McHone and former Georgetown University coach John Thompson III will again serve as USA assistant coaches.
“The USA team for the February FIBA World Cup Qualifying games will have some new faces,” said Van Gundy. “A lot of the players involved in the November World Cup Qualifying games were unavailable because of call-ups to the NBA. We’re really excited for those players, but it does make our job of putting together another team more difficult.
“The USA Basketball World Cup Qualifying Team Committee has assembled for our February training and games a versatile group that has a nice mix of youth and experience, that is highlighted by our three returning players from the November USA World Cup Qualifying Team.
“We’ll need to quickly come together for our games against Cuba and Puerto Rico in Santa Cruz. We persevered to win a very difficult game against Puerto Rico in November, and Cuba is also very talented and hungry for a win. We will face significant challenges in both of the upcoming games and I’m hoping that playing in Santa Cruz will give us a strong home court advantage. I know each and every one of us is excited and honored to represent the United States and we’re excited to play Puerto Rico and Cuba.”
The 12-member USA team is expected to be announced following the Feb. 20 evening practice. The USA World Cup Qualifying Team will continue its training in Santa Cruz on Feb. 21, 22, 24 and 25. Team USA will play Cuba on Feb. 23, and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 in Santa Cruz at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Both games are scheduled to tip at 9 p.m. MT.