MEMPHIS – Zion Williamson withdrew from the Team USA Select Team on Monday, closing the door on any chance he had of being promoted to the departure-ravaged main roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup.
No reason for Williamson’s exit was given by The Athletic, the entity that first reported the withdrawal. The Athletic cited managing director Jerry Colangelo as its source.
Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans, was one of 10 “select” up-and-coming players chosen to participate in the Team USA training camp, which begins Aug. 5 in Las Vegas.
“We want to indoctrinate him in terms of USA Basketball,” Colangelo said last month of the 19-year-old forward from Duke. “We want to give him a platform to see how he can compete with some of the vets that are going to be there.”
Williamson pulled out on the same day that Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris withdrew from the Team USA roster. Overall, six players have backed out, including Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers, James Harden and Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets, and CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers.
The competition runs from Aug. 31-Sept. 15, with Team USA playing its first game on Sept. 1 against the Czech Republic.
Additionally, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris became the latest player to withdraw from the Team USA roster for the upcoming World Cup in China.
Harris, the sixth player to pull out, said he wanted to focus on preparing for the 2019-20 season, according to published reports on Monday. Harris signed a five-year, $180 million deal with the 76ers earlier this month.
Washington shooting guard Bradley Beal withdrew earlier Monday, citing the upcoming birth of a son.
Previously exiting were Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers, James Harden and Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets and CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Two others currently listed on the roster — Portland’s Damian Lillard and Cleveland’s Kevin Love — have yet to indicate whether they plan to play.
The departures of Harris and Beal led to guard Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics and Thaddeus Young of the Chicago Bulls being added later Monday, according to The Athletic.
Team USA has 16 players on the current training camp roster, but managing director Jerry Colangelo said he isn’t overly concerned.
“History would indicate this is nothing new, this is part of our process,” Colangelo told reporters. “We’re blessed with a lot of talents, and we’re very deep. We’ll take the cards that we are dealt.”
Also, forward Zion Williamson withdrew from the Team USA Select Team on Monday. The Select Team is a 10-player group invited to participate in the Team USA training camp.
Training camp begins Aug. 5 in Las Vegas, and the official 12-man roster is slated to be announced on Aug. 17. The competition runs from Aug. 31-Sept. 15, with Team USA playing its first game on Sept. 1 against the Czech Republic.
–Field Level Media