Contrary to reports Gregg Popovich has not named team captains
In an interview with reporters at this year’s FIBA tournament in Australia, Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich noted that he is leaning on certain players for leadership, including Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart. There were some who took Pop’s message out of context, assuming that the players he mentioned were the team’s captains. That doesn’t seem to be the case, however, according to a report from Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Point of clarification: There was a report in Australia this week that Gregg Popovich had formally named Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart as Team USA captains. But I am told it is NOT an official thing — Pop merely meant he is leaning on those guys for leadership
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 23, 2019
As Stein points out in a follow-up tweet, Team USA typically does not formally name a captain, though FIBA rules say they have to before a game.
Team USA is in the midst of an exhibition schedule. The team’s first matchup came on Thursday, when they faced off against the Australian side. Though they got off to a slow start, Team USA led 22-20 after one quarter of play and went on to win by a score of 102-86. Walker led the Americans in scoring with 23 points, while Mitchell added 13. Pacers big man Myles Turner finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
According to several reports, a record crowd of 50,000-plus fans were in attendance at Marvel Stadium.
Team USA will face the Australian side again — this matchup on Saturday, Aug. 24. Tip-off for that game is set for midnight ET. The American side will then close out their exhibition slate with a game against Canada on Aug. 26.