Links to the Present: National Teams Edition

July 25th, 2013 by Nate Smith

Suddenly, the Cavs are rife with national team players.

The Plain Dealer kicked off the coverage of the USA Basketball mini-camp, where the Cavs top every NBA team with three invitees, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Tyler Zeller, who are hoping to use the experience as a stepping stone to regular season success.

More coverage: Check out the 50 second mark of this video to see Dion throw down a nasty between the legs slam during “dunk practice,” at the mini-camp (oh yeah, there are about a dozen other sick dunks on there too — it cannot be overstated how athletic these guys are).

Tuesday, Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal profiled Kyrie Irving in Las vegas and, his “growing up” this summer after a rough end to last season. Lloyd included this little tidbit: according to anonymous sources, “Irving is nearly a lock to be part of the 2014 FIBA World Cup team that will compete in Spain next summer.”

In other national team news, Team Canada’s training camp starts next week, and the roster has yet to be finalized, but Tristan Thompson certainly is a lock to be involved.  He’s front and center on the poster for the culmination of team Canada basketball activities, the Jack Donahue International Classic featuring Team Canada versus Team Jamaica  on August 8th and 10th.  Anthony Benett won’t play or practice because of his shoulder injury, but he may still be on hand.

Speaking of Bennett, CavsTV on Cavs.com has a lot of good stuff, including the newest web series, “getting to know Anthony Bennett,” which debuted yesterday and continues today.  Who knew UNLV had such a nice locker room?

Sergey Karasev will represent team Russia in EuroBasket in Slovenia from Sept. 4th-22nd.  Rick Noland of the Chronicle-Telegram profiled Karasev yesterday after his introductory press conference by the Cavs. Bob Finnan of the News-Herald had a nice writeup on Karasev, Tuesday.  The Manu Ginobili comparisons are as thick as the hair on Wild Thing wig night.

In essence, the Cavs have a realistic shot of having 6 players in international play next September at the inaugural World Cup of Basketball: KI, Dion, Karasev, TT, Anthony Bennett, and Andy.  That doesn’t even include who they may draft or sign next offseason…  In honor of that, and in the hopes of keeping Andy healthy through next summer, I just bought this, and will be wearing it during every Cavs game in the coming season.  I can’t wait to get all of the Cavs’ players’ international jerseys.

Checking in with Dion, take a gaze at this pic of Waiters chuckling with Kevin Durant.  Also, Dion’s tweeting about out one of his many offseason endeavors, the “Dream Chasers Sports and Entertainment Summit,” which endeavors to “bring together some of the biggest names in both sports and entertainment to discuss everything from chasing dreams successfully to what it takes to make it in the industry as an athlete, musician, entrepreneur and business executive.”  The summit is August 30th, from noon to 7:00 in Philly.  Dion Waiters does not lack ambition.  There’s even a rumor that Waiters played for the Reds in ’91.

Wrapping it all up, the intra-squad scrimmage for team USA, “the Blue and White game,” is tonight at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas at 6:00 PM Pacific.  Click here for tickets (notice the ad with Kyrie front and center)… NBATV kicks off their coverage of the national team at 7:00 Eastern, and then will show the game, live, at 9:00 Eastern, with a repeat at 11:30.