May 29, 2023

USA to start FIBA World Cup revenge tour against Greece, New Zealand, Jordan

USA to start FIBA World Cup revenge tour against Greece, New Zealand, Jordan
USA Basketball

Come August, USA will be looking to atone for its embarrassing finish in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Team USA's quest for redemption will begin against Greece, New Zealand, and Jordan in Group C after the groupings for this year's tournament were drawn on Saturday.

All eyes will be on the US, which is expected to parade NBA stars in Manila after fielding a rag-tag crew in the previous edition, which saw the once-mighty nation get booted out of the quarterfinals. The 7th place finish was USA's worst ever in the FIBA World Cup.

It's still unclear who will lead this year's squad, but marquee names like Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, and Devin Booker have been thrown around. New Team USA coach Steve Kerr will need all the talent he can get if they want to top Group C.

USA knows Greece all too well. The 9th-ranked Greeks are making their fifth consecutive FIBA World Cup and have proven to be a tough out for the Americans over the years. Chances are things won’t be any different when the two teams meet again this year, especially if Giannis Antetokounmpo makes the trip to Manila.

New Zealand is ranked 26th in the world and is making its sixth straight appearance in the quadrennial tournament. The Tall Blacks were particularly impressive in booking their FIBA World Cup ticket, going 8-2 in the Asian qualifiers to finish third behind Australia (11-1) and China (10-2). New Zealand will be looking to equal or even surpass its historic fourth-place finish in 2002 led by former Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin.

Lastly, Jordan has consistently been among the top teams in Asia, but it remains in search of a breakthrough on the world stage. Behind a veteran core led by 34-year-old Dar Tucker and the young but fearless point guard Freddy Ibrahim, the Jordanians might just have enough to pull off a surprise or two.

USA, being one of the "preferred countries" of the Philippines, and the rest of Group C are set to play at the Mall of Asia Arena.

New Team USA managing director Grant Hill already said they are eager to visit Manila, but they won't treat it as a vacation.

“We want our players to see Manila in the Philippines and be able to be there—not just to play basketball but to learn something about the country, its history, its culture,” said Hill in a report by the Associated Press. “We want to be accessible, but we also have a job to do.”

The FIBA World Cup is slated for August 25 to September 10.

Catch the action live on One Sports and TV5.