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  1. #1

    2023 Basketball World Cup

    The main portion of qualifying that includes the United States starts near the end of the month.

    USA Basketball announced a roster of ten G League guys and two free agents under the direction of Jim Boylen:
    https://www.usab.com/news-events/new...ouncement.aspx

    Croatia's preliminary squad includes Antonio Vrankovic:
    https://www.hks-cbf.hr/reprezentacij...sko-prvenstvo/

    The tournament itself will be hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, but Indonesia will need to perform well enough to get a spot as a host. To that end, they awarded citizenship to Marques Bolden over the summer for both the near and long term future. He is not currently expected to be playing with them in qualifying.

  2. #2
    The United States split their qualifying games, having a tough time with Cuba before winning 95-90 and then losing to hosts Mexico 97-88. Losses in qualifying are not unexpected after the last cycle, but the game to game improvement was not great.

    Grant Hill will have some tough decisions on whether to change the approach at all or use the same tactics for the rest of this phase in February. I have often suggested that they need to use a couple roster spots for players with club experience in Latin America who have played against these players more than guys with G League or European experience. I think the team was hurt by not having AmeriCup before qualifying as happened back in 2017, allowing for both coaches and players to get used to international play. I am sure that there will be some people who want a tweaking of the coaching staff by February.

  3. #3
    USA Basketball went with the same course option as Jim Boylen is slated to coach this bunch for the next two games:
    https://www.usab.com/news-events/new...ouncement.aspx

    Antonio Vrankovic is again in Croatia's preliminary squad:
    https://www.hks-cbf.hr/reprezentacij...e-sa-svedskom/

    Marques Bolden is healthy this time, but Indonesia is still using their other naturalized player instead.

    If Australia was using players from their league, Jack White would certainly be in their preliminary squad, but due to quarantine times, they are using players in foreign leagues or not currently playing on a team for their games and letting the local league continue play during the time when many other leagues around the world are taking a break.

  4. #4
    As always, awhom, thanks for keeping us informed.

    I still can't get over how misguided it is to have these qualifiers during regular season competition for the NBA and other domestic leagues. It ensures that teams in qualifying look nothing like the teams that will compete in the prestige tournaments.

    FIBA is learning that just changing the qualification schedule does not transform them into FIFA...

    I'm curious what will happen if the USA fails to qualify for one of these tourneys (World Cup or Olympics). USA brings star players that drive interest and revenue. Domestically people would be much more upset at not being present in the Olympics, and might not even notice Team USA's absence from the World Cup. But for the FIBA organizers it can't be good. Would they tweak the schedule? Or give USA a shot at an at-large bid (of sorts)? Because it seems like the NBA is not budging on the inclusion of international breaks during the regular season.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Truth&Justise View Post
    As always, awhom, thanks for keeping us informed.

    I still can't get over how misguided it is to have these qualifiers during regular season competition for the NBA and other domestic leagues. It ensures that teams in qualifying look nothing like the teams that will compete in the prestige tournaments.

    FIBA is learning that just changing the qualification schedule does not transform them into FIFA...

    I'm curious what will happen if the USA fails to qualify for one of these tourneys (World Cup or Olympics). USA brings star players that drive interest and revenue. Domestically people would be much more upset at not being present in the Olympics, and might not even notice Team USA's absence from the World Cup. But for the FIBA organizers it can't be good. Would they tweak the schedule? Or give USA a shot at an at-large bid (of sorts)? Because it seems like the NBA is not budging on the inclusion of international breaks during the regular season.
    If the United States were to split these two upcoming qualifiers or worse, I wonder if they would bring in NBA players for the offseason windows. In the last cycle, the team looked much better than the first two qualifying games, but we will see how changing a ton of players, but not the coaches, will change things this time.

    I was curious about how midseason qualifiers would work, but I honestly think that in the vast majority of cases it has been wildly successful and creating a system where more countries can actually host their national teams has helped grow the game. It's not perfect, but it is a positive step. My issue with the NBA and international basketball was the tendency for teams to allow the international players from commercially significant countries to play while leaning on other players to not play.

  6. #6
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    The FIBA World Cup already struggles to get attention and to bring in top tier players. By staging qualifying in a way that excludes anyone playing in the dominant league in the world, FIBA continues to make the World Cup look like an unimportant minor league mess. If you want to make your tournament and the qualifying rounds to be relevant, you have to find a way to get the attention of the players that matter.

    FIBA may be slightly less corrupt than FIFA, but it is a lot more stupid... and that is really saying something!
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by awhom111 View Post
    If the United States were to split these two upcoming qualifiers or worse, I wonder if they would bring in NBA players for the offseason windows. In the last cycle, the team looked much better than the first two qualifying games, but we will see how changing a ton of players, but not the coaches, will change things this time.

    I was curious about how midseason qualifiers would work, but I honestly think that in the vast majority of cases it has been wildly successful and creating a system where more countries can actually host their national teams has helped grow the game. It's not perfect, but it is a positive step. My issue with the NBA and international basketball was the tendency for teams to allow the international players from commercially significant countries to play while leaning on other players to not play.
    That raises a good question--what is more important for growing the game: having a showcase for the best players in the world, or levelling the playing field so more nations have a chance to compete?

    I'm inclined toward the former because of the outsized impact of the 1992 Olympics, where the Dream Team was the biggest story of the games and countless players from around the world have credited that with inspiring/influencing them in their career toward basketball stardom. But perhaps that was a one-off event, and the impact of having NBA players in qualifying and NBA stars in the tournament is so far from the Dream Team that you'd rather give small nations with weaker domestic leagues a better shot in these tourneys.

    Might depend on whether your goal is inspiring the star players for tomorrow (accomplished by showcasing the very best), or getting buy-in from the most basketball federations (accomplished by creating more opportunities for each nation).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth&Justise View Post
    That raises a good question--what is more important for growing the game: having a showcase for the best players in the world, or levelling the playing field so more nations have a chance to compete?

    I'm inclined toward the former because of the outsized impact of the 1992 Olympics, where the Dream Team was the biggest story of the games and countless players from around the world have credited that with inspiring/influencing them in their career toward basketball stardom. But perhaps that was a one-off event, and the impact of having NBA players in qualifying and NBA stars in the tournament is so far from the Dream Team that you'd rather give small nations with weaker domestic leagues a better shot in these tourneys.

    Might depend on whether your goal is inspiring the star players for tomorrow (accomplished by showcasing the very best), or getting buy-in from the most basketball federations (accomplished by creating more opportunities for each nation).
    From an economic standpoint -- and let's not kid ourselves about what really matters here -- getting the most attention you can from the lucrative U.S. market is priority #1 for any of these sports organizations. It is worth far more than advancing the game in a dozen or more developing basketball countries.
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  9. #9
    Despite trailing for almost the entire first half, the United States does win over Puerto Rico. A win over Mexico on Sunday would make things pretty comfortable, although the last two road games will be tricky.

    In other news, Ukraine was able to travel to Spain for their game. They had successfully petitioned for their game at home to be postponed instead of moved to another country, but it seems unlikely that the situation will be secure enough by then to not have it elsewhere. Russia hosted the Netherlands and there are no indications right now about whether any of their games will be moved or affected in any way. Great Britain had already declined to travel to Belarus, which seems like the right idea now.

    South Korea had some bad luck with timing for a virus outbreak within their men's league. Asia has had a weird schedule due to continued travel restrictions for a lot of countries so being unable to field a team safely will have the likely effect of them forfeiting all four games from this window.

  10. #10
    Luol Deng and South Sudan won their opener. I thought that he might appoint a more experienced coach eventually, but it seems to be working right now.

    Alex Murphy and his brother Erik are in the lineup for Finland in this window. They have been playing together on the club level as well in Japan's second division.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by awhom111 View Post
    Luol Deng and South Sudan won their opener. I thought that he might appoint a more experienced coach eventually, but it seems to be working right now.

    Alex Murphy and his brother Erik are in the lineup for Finland in this window. They have been playing together on the club level as well in Japan's second division.
    I'm really surprised that Deng is still playing. How old is he?

    Just looked. He is only 36.

  12. #12
    Didnt know where to ask this, but are there any Duke alum playing in the Ukraine league ?

  13. #13
    Russia and Belarus had their second games in this window postponed.

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyClark View Post
    I'm really surprised that Deng is still playing. How old is he?

    Just looked. He is only 36.
    Luol is no longer playing. He is the team's head coach. He is also the federation president, which was a factor in Lindsey Harding being named their women's team's head coach. They got an even more impressive win today so they are in good shape early.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pghdukie View Post
    Didnt know where to ask this, but are there any Duke alum playing in the Ukraine league ?
    Neah Odom was playing in Ukraine. She and one teammate left the team last week. It seems like all the American women were able to get out, including players who played on Sunday and then hastily departed on Monday. It does sound like some foreign players on the men's side did not leave before travel issues developed so there are probably still some there.

    Chloe Wells is playing in Russia. I guess it was good for Quinn Cook's time there to not really work out and end early.

    Transfer-wise, Azura Stevens is also playing in Russia.
    Last edited by awhom111; 02-27-2022 at 12:02 AM.

  14. #14
    The United States won quite decisively against Mexico so the player changes for this window ended up working pretty well.

    Luol and South Sudan won again and are in great shape at the halfway point.

  15. #15
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    Didn't know what other thread to ask this in, and I assume awhom111 will have some sort of answer. Of course anyone with good information would be most welcome. What is the status of basketball in Eastern Europe now? Obviously there can't be basketball in Ukraine and I assume Americans are not going to be playing in Russia anytime soon. What about places like Poland and Turkey and the Scandinavian countries, and others, many of whom are on alert right now about Russian intentions beyond Ukraine. Any Duke players affected? Are these leagues just going on with business as usual?

    Thanks for your always informative posts.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by tommy View Post
    Didn't know what other thread to ask this in, and I assume awhom111 will have some sort of answer. Of course anyone with good information would be most welcome. What is the status of basketball in Eastern Europe now? Obviously there can't be basketball in Ukraine and I assume Americans are not going to be playing in Russia anytime soon. What about places like Poland and Turkey and the Scandinavian countries, and others, many of whom are on alert right now about Russian intentions beyond Ukraine. Any Duke players affected? Are these leagues just going on with business as usual?

    Thanks for your always informative posts.
    To keep it on-thread first, Russia and Belarus are still not participating in FIBA competition with Russia's women's team out of the upcoming World Cup.

    Other than Ukraine, basketball is business as usual pretty much everywhere else and I am not aware of any Americans leaving countries other than Ukraine, Belarus, or Russia with safety as an explicit concern. Even though their teams were kicked out of FIBA club competitions, Belarus and Russia have continued to administer their leagues as if nothing changed. In Belarus, some foreigners left and others stayed. Russia does not have a top division men's competition, but instead is open to teams from other countries as well. There were four non-Russian teams this season and the teams from Poland and Estonia withdrew. The teams from Belarus and Kazakhstan remained and the Kazakh team's Americans only played home games and did not travel to their road games in Russia and I am not sure if any other foreigners left their domestic league for safety reasons. Not only may Americans play in Russia soon as in next season, plenty of them are still playing right now. In fact, Eric Buckner, who just finished his season in South Korea, which pays quite well, decided to earn even more cash and play for Zenit St. Petersburg, which is Putin's home club. Some foreigners had left Russia for a while, but ended up returning. Some of the familiar names include O.J. Mayo, Alex Poythress, Jordan Mickey, Billy Baron, Johnathan Motley, Errick McCollum (C.J.'s brother), Casper Ware, Will Clyburn, Allerik Freeman, Nikola Milutinov, Lorenzo Brown, Tonye Jekiri, and Mario Hezonja. Jonas Jerebko signed for CSKA Moscow (historically the army club) after the invasion and the Swedish Federation told him that they would never call him up to the national team again. There are also a number of Americans who remained in Russia's second division, which is not very high paying.

    Obviously the big news has been on the women's side. All the American players did eventually leave as well as some of the other foreigners. Three stayed with their teams until the end of the season and those were Eva Lisec from Slovenia and Kyara Linskens and Hind Ben Abdelkader from Belgium. There were also a number of players from Belarus who continued playing. Remember that Griner's teammates, including some big name players, would have already been aware of her detention before the invasion since she missed practices and games before any information was available to the public. On both the men's and women's side, some players were allowed to go home without their contracts being terminated so some players that subsequently signed elsewhere had buyouts paid to their Russian teams.

    There are no new Duke players affected, but as posted above, there were three in the area and all left relatively quickly.

  17. #17
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    Great info. Thanks awhom, as usual.

  18. #18
    A few international tidbits:

    Marques Bolden is part of Indonesia's roster for an international competition for the first time since being given citizenship. This is for the Southeast Asian Games, which is not a FIBA competition and he has been unavailable due to injury. They definitely want to find out if he can help them at the Asia Cup later.

    Jahlil Okafor, Oderah Chidom, Elizabeth Balogun and others with Duke ties who have been involved with Nigeria's national teams may not be playing for them for a while. The national government withdrew the country from international competition for two years due to continuing issues with the national federation, but FIBA has not had any public position.

    USA Basketball is trying a new approach on the men's side of 3x3, appointing Fran Fraschilla as coach for now and bringing in a group of G League players to train in the format.

  19. #19
    A few more tidbits:

    RJ Barrett is one of fourteen players who has committed to be a part of Canada's team in games that do not interfere with the NBA calendar. I suppose it would have been a little embarrassing for him not to be since it was his father doing the recruiting, but this is part of their latest effort to not fall flat on their faces when it comes to the big events.
    https://www.basketball.ca/news/athle...-core-revealed

    Marques was healthy enough to play for Indonesia in their last two games at the Southeast Asian Games and was their leader in the game that got them their first Gold Medal in the event. Again, this was not a FIBA event, but it is good experience when they head to the FIBA Asia Cup to try to earn their spot in the World Cup.

    FIBA sent Nigeria a letter asking them if they were sure that they wanted to withdraw from international competition and reminded them of the consequences of doing so.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by awhom111 View Post
    RJ Barrett is one of fourteen players who has committed to be a part of Canada's team in games that do not interfere with the NBA calendar. I suppose it would have been a little embarrassing for him not to be since it was his father doing the recruiting, but this is part of their latest effort to not fall flat on their faces when it comes to the big events.
    https://www.basketball.ca/news/athle...-core-revealed
    These 14 players are going to work out together in the summers and play in competitions together. This should be easily one of the top 5 teams in the world...

    Nickeil Alexander-Walker - 10.6ppg for NO and Utah last season
    RJ Barrett - 20ppg for Knicks
    Khem Birch - part-time starting C for Toronto
    Oshae Brissett - 9.1ppg for Pacers
    Dillon Brooks - 18.4ppg for Memphis
    Luguentz Dort - 17.2ppg for OKC
    Zach Edey - 7-4 center for Purdue, 14.4ppg
    Melvin Ejim - plays in Slovenia
    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - 24.5ppg for OKC
    Cory Joseph - 8.0ppg for Detroit
    Jamal Murray - injured, but 21.1ppg for Den in 2021
    Kelly Olynyk - 9.1ppg for Detroit
    Kevin Pangos - limited playing time in Cleveland
    Dwight Powell - 8.7ppg, starting C for Dallas

    I mean, the backcourt talent is ridiculous. Barrett, Brooks, Dort, SGA, and Murray are all high-level starters who are young stars for their teams. Those 5 guys will rotate on the perimeter and, frankly, the US is the only team in the world who won't be at risk of being utterly overwhelmed by them. Up front, it is a bit more of a challenge. Olynyk and Powell won't score a lot but have shown they can battle the best big men in the world. Birch is probably in the front-court rotation too. And I think Edey could be a real factor for them. The international game is a bit different from the NBA, with more back-to-the-basket big man play that could really work nicely for a 7-4 dude.

    By the way, all those perimeter studs are under 25... Canada going to be a top international contender for a while, I suspect.
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

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