As we continue to wait to see if/when the next NBA G League season will start, USA Basketball gave fans something to look forward to when they recently dropped the roster of prospects that will be participating in upcoming FIBA Americup qualifying games. This pertains to the G League as it follows a modern Team USA tradition of utilizing G League prospects to perform in games that will help the organization qualify for the FIBA World Cup and Olympics. Since its inception, this plan has been successful as the team was able to comfortably qualify for both of the major tournaments while also winning the FIBA Americup back in 2017.
In their chase to repeat as champions, the selection committee picked a new crop of talent that will work under veteran head coach Mike Fratello. In terms of players that NBA fans might recognize, veteran guard John Jenkins is likely the most noticeable name as he played 171 total games in the Association with Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas, New York, and Washington. Whether it was that tenure or his time in the G League, Jenkins established himself as a reliable offensive weapon that can shine as a perimeter threat, as he shot 40% on a total of 336 3-point attempts in the G League.
While on the topic of veteran guards, Jenkins will be joined in the backcourt by Josh Magette and Travis Trice. Both men are definitely qualified to lead this team as they’ve both spent the last half-decade using the G League and international ball to establish themselves as solid facilitators. In fact, Magette stands as arguably the best distributor in the history of the G League by averaging 8.9 assists with a 3.5 Ast/TO ratio in 210 career games. That consistent passing excellence has allowed him as his 1902 career assists has placed him 2nd in the G League, only behind Curtis Stinson, who stands at the top dog with 2032 career assists.
Although Trice hasn’t had a chance to make the kind of mark on the G League as Magette, he’s been able to use his pro career to establish himself as a dynamic point guard that does an amazing job of creating his own offense from both beyond the arc and as an on-ball driver while also shining as a facilitator. the Michigan State alum’s best season as a pro came during the 2018-19 season when he put up 16.9 points, 7.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.2 steals on 43% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc on 5.2 attempts per game in the G League with the Wisconsin Herd and Austin Spurs.
To complete the backcourt, let’s go to former Westchester Knicks guard Tyler Hall and Capital City Go-Go sophomore wing Jalen Hudson. For Hall, he was pretty inconsistent over the course of his rookie campaign by going through stretches where he was a knockdown shooter and couldn’t hit the broad site of the barn. However, his bright points were more apparent as he averaged 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists on on 42% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc on 5.7 attempts per game. Those averages allowed the Montana State alum to maintain a 60% True Shooting Percentage. As for Hudson, his offense also stood out through putting up 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists on 45% from the field and 37% from 3 on 3.9 attempts per game for the Capital City Go-Go.
As the team’s backcourt shines through its mix of great facilitators and outside shooters, Team USA’s forwards includes a great crop of players that can help them on the other end of the floor. When you’re talking about defense, the first guy you’d have to mention would be veteran wing Sir’Dominic Pointer. Standing as a great threat on this side of the ball since his time at St. John’s, he shined brightest during the 2019-20 campaign, where he averaged 1.8 steals and 1.9 blocks per game for the Canton Charge. Those numbers along with in addition to him shining as a player capable of defending both around the rim and on the perimeter will allow him to be a fearsome force for Team USA during the upcoming FIBA Americup games.
Sticking with members of that 2019-20 Charge squad, Levi Randolph shines as a do-it-all forward that was actually one of our finalists for G League MVP. The veteran’s positioning on that list was due to the incredible impact he was able to have on both ends of the court, as he helped lead the Charge to finish the pandemic-shortened season with a 29-14 record, That versatility and stance as a veteran leader should allow him to be a tremendous asset for Team USA during these two upcoming Americup games.
Looking away from the state of Ohio, their forward rotation has a trio of intriguing forwards that bring their own treats to the table. For example, Jemerrio Jones is a fascinating 6’5 players that honestly plays like a guy that’s five inches taller with how loves to set screens, snag rebounds, and shine as an inside presence. Those skills combined with his solid work as a facilitator should allow him to be a fun piece that Mike Fratello can utilize within his system.
At the same time that Jones is setting screens and grabbing rebounds, Kaiser Gates is the modern interpretation of what a wing should be due to being a 6’7, 225 pound athlete that’s also shot 36% from deep on 616 career perimeter attempts during his career in the G League. On the other hand, Salt Lake City Stars forward Paul White stands as your retro big that is capable of rolling to the rim, snagging offensive boards, and popping out to hit the occasional mid-range jumper.
Now moving to the front-court, you’ll see a duo that has shined in the G League over the last few years with a Syracuse alum that has been able to make a name for himself in the Pacific Division. That former Cuse big is Tyler Roberson, who has been able to make a name for himself through his work on the offensive glass. In 82 G League games, the 6’9, 239 pound forward has averaged 3.4 offensive rebounds in only 18 minutes per game.
Now in terms of the excellent duo, both Yante Maten and Amile Jefferson are two guys that you should be very familiar with if you’ve been following the site for the last few years. When it comes to Maten, he was 2nd on the site’s top 50 G League players list before the 2019-20 campaign. Meanwhile, Jefferson’s status as a do-it-all big that can make on-ball drives to the rim, post-up, facilitate, protect the rim, and run the court has allowed him to stand as one of the best players in the league since his rookie year during the 2017-18 campaign.
If you’re interested in watching this team in action, they’ll be playing the Bahamas National Team on Sunday at 4:00 PM EST and against the Mexican National Team at 7:30 PM EST. Go to USAB.com for more information on the upcoming action. .