May 15, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) drives against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the third quarter in game six of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

3 NC Players on Preliminary Team USA Basketball Roster

The 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship kicks off on the 30th August and will display the talents of basketball players all over the globe in Spain. The United States team is in a far different place than its soccer counterpart. While our Mens Soccer National Team regularly plays the underdog to good squads, our Mens Basketball team is a juggernaut that is normally expected to win these international competitions.

With that in mind, Coach Mike Krzyzewski has narrowed the pool of national team invitees down to 19 for training camp in Las Vegas. That number will be narrowed to a twelve man roster in time for the actual tournament to begin.

While the TEAM USA roster is here, there are three players with North Carolina ties that are on the nineteen man roster. Rather strangely they all play point guard. They are Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) attempts a shot and is fouled against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second quarter in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Curry

College: Davidson

Career Avg: 20 pts, 7 ast, 4 reb, 1.6 stl

Curry is best known for his sweet shot and that is something Team USA has valued in the international game. There have always been enough monster athletes and dunkers, but sometimes there have not been enough shooters. This singular skill probably makes a Curry a lock for the twelve man roster. He can also play the point at times, particularly with LeBron on the roster, and shift to the two guard for smaller more shooter oriented lineups.

Apr 11, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots as Milwaukee Bucks forward Jeff Adrien (12) defends during the third quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving

College: Duke

Career Avg: 20 pts, 6 ast, 4 reb, 1.5 stl

The captain of Team Coco could be an odd man out after Vegas. There are just too many guards and there is nothing Irving does that would place him on the must have list. One of his concerns is defense, which will be highly necessary to match international schemes. Being in Las Vegas will be a good thing for Irving though. This allows him to play with LeBron and develop a working relationship with the King.

Chris Paul

College: Wake Forest

Career Avg: 18 pts, 10 ast, 4 reb, 2.4 stl

Paul’s spot on the team is guaranteed. He will be one of the engines that drive Team USA’s offense and his bulldog mentality could will the team if it runs into tough spots. There is no one better at the art of picking up cheap steals. Paul is also a player who creates for those around him, which is a benefit on a team like this where a lot of guys are the lead scorers for their pro teams. Expect to see Paul in the starting five if healthy.

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Tags: Chris Paul Davidson Wildcats Duke Blue Devils Kyrie Irving Mike Krzyzewski Stephen Curry Wake Forest Demon Deacons

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