For NBA players, the summer is all about rest, recovery, and improving their game. But for a select few, patriotic duty calls and many Celtics answered the bell. This week, Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and several of the league’s younger stars are in Las Vegas as USA Basketball opens up training camp at UNLV for the next four days.
For Boston’s young core, involvement with Team USA is nothing new. They’ve all repped the red, white, and blue for U17, U18, and U19 in FIBA World Championships. Most recently, Walker was named to the National Team in 2018 and Smart trained with the gold medal squad in 2016 as a member of USA Select.
On a recent visit on The Jump, Smart said, “just being able to be mentioned as one of those guys that (USA Basketball) was looking at on their list is an honor in itself. As a kid and as an athlete, we all dream about being able to do something like this and play for our country. Being to actually be on this team, I’m ecstatic myself. My friends and family are excited for me and I’m just ready to get it going.” With three Boston representatives with him, Smart jokingly referred to the Team USA squad as “Team Shamrock,” and Tatum and Brown both picked retired numbers of Celtics legends.
Kemba turns on the jets for the and-1. pic.twitter.com/n74aiRnpOc— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) August 5, 2019
To catch more of an early glimpse of Team USA and next year’s Celtics, NBA TV will be carrying a full slate of friendlies and exhibitions leading up to the FIBA World Cup on August 31st starting this Friday with a Blue vs. White scrimmage:
Right now, the roster stands at sixteen with the addition of De’Aaron Fox and needs to be pared down to 12 with four Celtics vying for a spot. Here’s a good sign though: