NEW YORK -- Mason Plumlee has officially gone from the Select Team to Team USA.
Late Friday night, Team USA officially announced that Plumlee, who will be entering his second season as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, will be one of 12 players heading over to Spain to compete in the World Cup.
Plumlee tweeted his elation after the announcement became official:
— Mason Plumlee (@masonplumlee) August 23, 2014
“It’s been a great experience, and whatever happens, I’m grateful for the opportunity to work out with the team,” Plumlee said after Team USA’s 112-86 exhibition victory over Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden.
Plumlee, 24, was originally supposed to be on the Select Team that practiced against Team USA during training camp in Las Vegas, but he impressed during practices and was promoted. Plumlee then excelled in Team USA’s scrimmage, scoring 10 points in the third quarter. He also had a strong showing in Team USA’s 95-78 exhibition victory over Brazil last Saturday in Chicago, finishing with nine points, four rebounds and three steals.
Many have said Plumlee was only under consideration for Team USA because he played for coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. Plumlee was initially upset about all the criticism he was receiving, but later realized his critics didn’t know how the process worked, while adding that there was no favoritism involved.
Plumlee is the least accomplished of any of the candidates despite his being named to the All-Rookie First Team following a solid rookie campaign in the NBA.
It was a surprise that Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo and Coach K decided to take both DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond as well. It was believed that at least one of those players was going to be cut in order for Plumlee to make the team, which caused an uproar on social media.
But Plumlee explained why he would be a good fit for Team USA on Friday night.
“I’m a mobile, athletic big that can get out, defend, play with energy and then just [I have] an understanding of the game, getting guys open, setting screens, rebounding,” Plumlee said. “Kinda doing the stuff big men should do. That’s what I tried to show them this time, and I hope that’s what they saw.”
Team USA opens up World Cup action on Aug. 30 against Finland.