Grant Hill enthusiastic about building USA team for World Cup
NEW YORK (USA) – Grant Hill expects to know the makeup of the USA roster for this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup by June or early July.
Hill, who replaced Jerry Colangelo as the national team’s general manager in 2021, has been talking to players about competing in the Philippines, where the USA will tip off their their Group Phase campaign on August 25.
Indonesia and Japan will also stage Group Phase games, while the Philippines will put on the Final Phase.
Speaking in a zoom call with reporters on Monday, Hill spoke enthusiastically about the potential makeup of the roster, and the fact that the USA will be in the Philippines, a country he has visited before.
He also stressed how difficult it will be to reach the top of the podium.
“I understood when taking this job that it would be challenging and certainly not ceremonial at all,” Hill said.
“There’s a tremendous amount respect for the international game and certainly a lot of work that that goes into giving ourselves a chance to win gold. The expectations are tremendous. Anything less than gold is looked upon as a failure. I’m aware of that. But I love the challenge.”
“PLAYERS HAVE BEEN VERY, VERY RECEPTIVE. I THINK IN RECENT WEEKS, WE’VE STARTED TO INTENSIFY THAT AND LOOKING TO REALLY GET SOME MOMENTUM THERE AND SOME COMMITMENTS.”- Grant Hill
Which players will be there?
“We’ve had some great dialogue throughout this past season, probably going back to the beginning of the season, with some players that we’ve targeted,” Hill said.
“Players have been very, very receptive. I think in recent weeks, we’ve started to intensify that and looking to really get some momentum there and some commitments, possibly, here in the stretch run going into the playoffs.
“You think about the last few cycles, you’ve had some incredible players who are now older and have been a part of USA basketball and been a part of its growth and success.
“So excitement of ushering in a new wave of younger players and in getting them into the pipeline and having an opportunity to participate in multiple cycles.”
Some players with USA experience will be involved
“There will be players with , and of course, sprinkling in some of the older veteran experienced players as well,” he said.
Hill went to the Philippines before, not long into his professional career with the Detroit Pistons.
He visited the country and he says that thousands of people showed up to see him when he was at a mall and also his hotel.
“I just think the fans and the passion and the love of the game will be on full display this upcoming summer, much like it was — or more than it was — back in the mid-1990s,” he said.
Hill, meanwhile, paid tribute to coach Jim Boylen, the other coaches and the 52 players that played in the Americas Qualifiers and reached the World Cup.
The USA are preparing to have a training camp get underway in early August, with an exhibition in Las Vegas, followed by warmup games in Malaga against hosts Spain and Slovenia August 11-13, and then the more games in Abu Dhabi against Greece and Germany on August 18 and August 20, respectively.
The draw for the FIBA Basketball World Cup, presented by Wanda, will be on April 29. The 32-team tournament tips off on August 25.
Photo credit for the main image: USA Basketball