In just a week (Aug. 17) , the United States FIBA World Cup team will trim to its final roster of 12 players for the upcoming international tournament, and according to a report by the Washington Post, P.J. Tucker of the Houston Rockets is expected to make the final cut. Ben Golliver had this to say:
“The 34-year-old Tucker, a consummate team player on and off the court, was the oldest person invited to Team USA’s FIBA World Cup training camp. The national team’s brass sought his intensity, spot-up shooting and well-timed hustle plays but also his elder statesman perspective and firsthand experience with the international game...
“Before Tucker returns to Houston, he will savor the chance to represent Team USA. His effective play during high-profile postseason matchups with the Warriors helped land him on USA Basketball’s radar, and his skill set aligned closely with Coach Gregg Popovich’s roster selection criteria...
“USA Basketball’s rising stars will dominate the media coverage and garner the YouTube views, but the no-nonsense Tucker is expected to join them at the FIBA World Cup in China as the designated glue guy.”
In fact, Tucker’s already shown off the qualities that’s quickly endeared him to the Team USA coaching staff, and the same things us Rockets fans have been watching him do at the Toyota Center for the last two years.
Tuck finished the game with 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal to go along with a team-leading +20 in just 9 minutes of action.
How awesome will it be to see Tucker doing his thing for Team USA as the lone representative of the Rockets? So while it’s a shame some of the bigger names have dropped off of the team — including Houston’s James Harden and Eric Gordon — it’s opened up roster spots for guys who otherwise would not have made the squad if all of the star power was actually playing.
But Tuck will be a perfect fit. You know P.J. is going to give it his all — he always does every time he steps on the court — and that level of work ethic fits in perfectly with the spirit of international competition.
I can’t wait to see the final cut-down list, and we’ll have an update on the 17th when the 12 names are made public.