All Star Weekend Gets Heavy Dose of Sioux Falls Skyforce Influence
A fresh list of G League talent has been assembled for the next round of FIBA qualifying with one Sioux Falls Skyforce player going for his third USA Basketball stint and another trying to make his first.
USA Basketball made the announcement that Guard Larry Drew II and Forward Alonzo Gee were selected as part of a group of fourteen players that will eventually be whittled to a dozen following a training camp from February 15-20. Games in the upcoming qualifying round are soon to follow as Santa Cruz, California will be the host city for matchups between the United States and Cuba February 23, then the United States will meet Puerto Rico on February 26.
In the previous qualifying round, the Americans swept a pair of games against Puerto Rico and Mexico back in November putting them atop the four-team cluster in Group C. There will be one more qualifying session in the first round that begins in late June. The goal will be to finish among the top three in the group to advance to the second round.
Drew II is vying to be the only player to make the roster of USA Basketball teams to compete in the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup and the first two windows of World Cup Qualifying. This will be Gee’s first attempt to make a national team.
Another common thread through the American effort will be head coach Jeff Van Gundy who has spent the last year guiding USA Basketball from the sidelines. Assisting on the bench will be former Skyforce head coach Mo McHone along with former Georgetown University head coach John Thompson III.
As a side note, it’s not just Sioux Falls that could have two players from a G League entity to play for the American crew. Two members of the Reno Bighorns could be on the squad as well in the form of guards David Stockton and Aaron Harrison.
The team minus Semaj Christion who is not currently in the G League will compete in the International Challenge exhibition game during All-Star Weekend on Sunday February 18. One other All-Star Weekend note includes Skyforce guard Ike Nwamu who will be one of five to participate in the NBA G League Slam Dunk Contest.