LA RIOJA, ARGENTINA – November 28, 2018 – Westchester Knicks guard, John Jenkins, was previously named to the 12-man roster for the November USA World Cup Qualifying Team as announced by USA Basketball. Jenkins and the USA are set to begin second-round action of FIBA World Cup Qualifying play tomorrow, November 28 against Argentina at La Rioja, Argentina at 7:30 PM (ET).
In addition to tomorrow’s game, the squad will also battle Uruguay at Montevideo, Uruguay, Saturday, December 1 at 6 PM (ET), also a part of Qualifying play. The full Americas World Cup Qualifying schedule/results is available at usab.com/mens/wc-qualifying/schedule.aspx).
“I was beyond excited,” expressed Jenkins when he first heard the news. “To be invited and to play for USA is every kid’s dream. I’m looking forward to it. It sucks that I have to miss some [Westchester Knicks] games but it’s part of it and I’m looking forward to these two games.”
Last week, the USA have wrapped up training camp which took place November 23-25 at the Houston Rockets’ practice facility.
Jenkins continued. “I get to learn from a great coach [Jeff] Van Gundy, meet new people and experience the world.”
The former NBA head coach has led the USA to a 7-1 record in FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying action and directed the USA 5-0 record and the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup Championship. Former University of Georgia head coach Mark Fox and former Georgetown University coach John Thompson III are serving as USA assistant coaches.
“I’m super comfortable.” Jenkins explained on his year so far with Westchester. “Going to Spain helped me out a lot slowing the game down and learning a different style. Coming back here and being in the best shape of my life, coming into camp and then going on from there. Coach Mike [Miller] has been incredible for my development. He challenges me on offense and defense every night. I want to make him happy and be there for my team.”
Before his departure, Jenkins was the league’s second-leading scorer (29.0). He played the most games of the league’s top-30 scorers as of November 21, only behind Jordan McCrae, Capital City Go-Go, who appeared in only three games. He tallied a career-high 41 points against Lakeland on November 10 which included a career-best eight triples on 88.9-percent shooting. The guard has only scored under 23 points once and shot 42-percent or better from the floor all season long.
“He’s off to a great start,” Miller explained. “He does so many things. He’s mentally dialed in to what he’s doing, really into playing the game the right way and winning. He’s good with our young guys just because he’s been places that can help them.”
The USA November roster includes John Jenkins (Westchester Knicks); Joel Berry II (South Bay Lakers); Reggie Hearn (Stockton Kings); Scotty Hopson (Oklahoma City Blue); DeAndre Liggins (Sioux Falls Skyforce); Eric Moreland (Free Agent); Chasson Randle (Capital City Go-Go); Cameron Reynolds (Stockton Kings); Richard Solomon (Oklahoma City Blue); Travis Trice (Wisconsin Herd); Tyler Zeller (Free Agent) and Julian Washburn (Austin Spurs). Washburn replaces Jarnell Stokes who was unable to participate.
With a total of seven 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifying berths going to the top three finishing teams in each of the Americas second round groups and to the best fourth place team, Argentina (7-1) and the USA (7-1) sit atop of the second-round Group E standings, followed by Puerto Rico (5-3) and Uruguay (5-3), with Mexico (3-5) and Panama (3-5) in fifth place. In Group F standings, Canada (7-1) and Venezuela (7-1) are tied for first, followed by Brazil (6-2), Dominican Republic (5-3), U.S. Virgin Islands (2-6) and Chile (1-7).
The USA will complete its World Cup Qualifying competition with a pair of second-round February home games in Greensboro, North Carolina. The USA will play Panama on Friday, Feb. 22 (7 p.m. EST), and Argentina on Monday, Feb. 25 (7 p.m. EST).
The Westchester Knicks head to Greensboro to face the Swarm, Saturday, December 1 at 7 PM.
FIBA World Cup Qualifying
Under FIBA’s new competition system, a total of 80 national teams from FIBA’s four regions of Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe initially competed in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifying first round looking to earn a qualifying berth into the 32-team 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup competition that will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 15 in China.
The FIBA World Cup Qualifying games are being used to qualify 31 of the 32 nations that will compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. China automatically qualified as the host nation of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Five teams will qualify from Africa, seven teams from the Americas, seven teams from Asia and 12 teams from Europe.
The current two-time defending World Cup champion USA men have participated in 17 FIBA World Cups and have collected 12 medals – five gold medals (1954, 1986, 1994, 2010 and 2014), three silver medals (1950, 1959 and 1982) and four bronze medals (1974, 1990, 1998 and 2006). USA teams own an overall record of 123-27.
Results from the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 will qualify seven teams for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Additionally, Olympic host, Japan, automatically qualified, and the final four nations will qualify through four FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments that will be held in 2020 in advance of the Olympics.