Jerry Colangelo admits he was ‘disappointed’ in dropouts, but there’s nothing he can do to change their mind
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo has invited more than 50 players to participate in Team USA’s training camp and the consequent FIBA 2019 World Cup that begins at the end of the month. Yet the longtime architect of this project has been disappointed at the recent wave of dropouts from this summer’s task, claiming there is not time to dwell on it, but rather move on with the talent available.
“Last year, we invited everybody to Vegas. Everyone said, ‘I want to play. I want to play. I want to play.’ I couldn’t do anything about a change in decision, for whatever the reasons might be. I have to accept it. I don’t have any leverage on the players,” Jerry Colangelo said this week in a sit-down interview with Michael Lee of The Athletic. “Of course, you’re disappointed at the moment, but very quickly, you have to bury that and you go forward with the best possible group you can. I’m thankful for the group that we have, the kind of depth that we have, because there are a lot of good basketball players here.”
The likes of James Harden, Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and many others have withdrawn their previous commitment to Team USA, as more than half of the original 20-man lineup has since excused themselves from participation.
A large part of it has been the wild state of free agency which saw over a third of the NBA’s players move to new locations. Others turned it down to favor their health and workout regime ahead of another NBA season, as training camp will start within a couple of weeks after the World Cup comes to an end.
Most high-caliber stars have been unwilling to make the six-week commitment it takes to join Team USA, but Colangelo has managed to assemble a young cast with strong aspirations for yet another gold medal.