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Marc Gasol thinks skepticism will fuel Team USA in FIBA World Cup

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Spain’s Marc Gasol isn’t worried about USA Basketball’s motivation heading into the FIBA 2019 World Cup, despite the series of dropouts in the rostering process, keenly aware that the critics’ skepticism could fuel Team USA into success.

“I’m sure that it’s going to fuel them,” Gasol said of the loud skepticism increasingly endured by the American team, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Gasol and his Spanish team got a taste of that firepower first-hand, as they fell by as much as 18 points in deficit during the third quarter of their exhibition tilt in Los Angeles, before Team USA escaped with a 90-81 win and a consequent trip to Australia to continue their preparation.

“The amount of talent that the U.S. generates every year is unbelievable,’’ Gasol added. “Even with all the guys that dropped out — or if you want to say these guys don’t have experience internationally — they’re still super talented physically and technically. And they’re pretty well-coached as well. So you put it all together and it’s a great team.”

More than half of the 20 originally rostered players have dropped out of their commitment, forcing managing director Jerry Colangelo to call upwards of 50 different players in this process. Their most recent hit comes in Select Team superstar De’Aaron Fox, who was promoted to the full-fledged squad only to withdraw from consideration right before Team USA took flight for Australia.

His loss is a costly one, as the fastest player in the team and one with the most upside. If Gasol is right however, Team USA could use these doubts as fuel for a standout tournament once it’s time to put those to rest.