The men’s basketball team from the United States of America have always been strong contenders for any match and against any opponents.
It is more than likely that every American sports lover knows the names of the heroes who play on the field including stars like Kevin Durant, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard and more who win the USA major tournaments and matches. However, how many Americans know of Reggie Hearn, Travis Trice, and Jeff Van Gundy?
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The Top Unsung Heroes of the U.S. Basketball Team
And if you, like many others are wondering about who these people are, let us tell you that these are some of the unsung heroes behind the USA men’s basketball team without whom the team wouldn’t even have been able to be eligible to qualify to play for international basketball matches.
Does that sound strange?
Well, once you know the whole story, it will not anymore. FIBA made changes to its World Cup tournament rules this year which has specifically barred players who play actively in the NBA and the EuroLeague.
That meant that for a basketball team to be formed by the United States, the management has to depend on the players from the G-league which is a minor league to the NBA. Jeff Van Gundy is the man who made it possible for the management to formulate the team and he was the one to coach the somewhat inexperienced squad to a 2019 World Cup qualifier on December 2, having taken up the role of the coach.
FIBA has stated that they have brought forward this rule to introduce more and more players who would have otherwise not been able to gain the spotlight in front of the general audience. In fact, most people, even regular watchers of basketball did not know most of the players who were a part of the qualifying team. And that in itself is the beauty of the team.
Not one of the players decided to put their own self-interest ahead of the benefits of the team, and that is one of the most significant achievements of coach Van Gundy.
Credit should also be given to Sean Ford who is the USAB’s National team director and Trajan Langdon and Adam Simon as well for carefully piecing together a solid team that played with great team spirit throughout.
It is a well-established fact, that had the team lost, Van Gundy would have had to bear the brunt of the loss and the criticism of people who would call him out on his poor decision-making skills and abilities and for taking in minor league players and college players for a tournament as prestigious as the World Cup.
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