Gordon Hayward is getting paid like one of the game’s best, and this summer he’ll have a chance to prove he belongs among them.
The 24-year-old Utah Jazz swingman is one of 19 players who will attend a Team USA camp in Las Vegas, vying for one of the 12 spots on the country’s roster for the World Cup in Spain later this summer.
"We like [him] a lot," Duke and USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said during a Monday morning conference call with reporters. "At 6-8 … he’s one of those guys who really, internationally, can play 2, 3, or 4 depending on the lineup. I love his versatility and the fact that he is really ball friendly. He can dribble it, pass it, score. He’s an easy guy to play with."
Krzyzewski has seen Hayward’s game expand since the 2010 NCAA title game, when Hayward’s half-court heave rimmed out at the final buzzer.
Last season with the Jazz, Hayward averaged 16 points, five rebounds and five assists a night, showing off an all-around game that Krzyzewski admires.
"He’s becoming really one of the outstanding players in the NBA," Krzyzewski said. "We’re really excited about him being a part of this camp."
Hayward has been a part of the USA basketball system since 2012, when he was part of a select team that trained against the U.S. Olympic team. Last summer, Hayward participated as a member of the team’s mini-camp.
The competition for the final World Cup roster will be hefty, with a star-studded group fighting for one of 12 positions. Former Jazz sharpshooter Kyle Korver and former Weber State standout Damian Lillard will also be vying for a spot.
The other participants at the camp are: Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Paul George (Indiana Pacers); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); James Harden (Houston Rockets); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors); and Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks).
"At the end of the day, we feel very positive about the roster we have now in our training camp," Krzyzewski said. "There are players with gold-medal experience and some young players on their way up the ladder in terms of recognition and talent."
The Las Vegas camp runs July 28 through Aug. 1.
After that, the team will play exhibition games in Chicago and New York in the run-up to the World Cup, which begins Aug. 30.
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