Both Miles Plumlee and Mason Plumlee, graduates from Duke University in the past three years, were picked for the 'USA Select' team to practice against United States Mens National Team (USMNT) players for a week in Las Vegas.
The 'Select' team is a collection of young talent, generally first or second year players, brought in to give a good workout to the 19 players selected for the Mens National Team that will represent USA for the FIBA World Cup next month.
Both players are about 7 feet tall and highly athletic. Miles started 79 of 82 games for the 48-win Phoenix Suns last year, while Mason started 22 games for the 44-win Brooklyn Nets after regular starter Brook Lopez was lost for the season.
USMNT Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is also the coach of Duke, so he's highly familiar with both Plumlees, making their selection even less of a mystery than simply being chosen on merit and size.
Under Krzyzewski, neither player was highly productive in the statistical department but both were taken in the latter half of the first round of the NBA Draft based on their measurables and athleticism. Quite frankly, the Plumlees are two of the highest flying big men in the NBA.
As the week in Vegas comes to a close, Mason has come out just a bit ahead of Miles.
The Blue-White intrasquad game, which concludes four days of training that started July 28 in Las Vegas, will feature all 19 members of the 2014 USA Basketball National Team and Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets), who was a member of the 2014 USA Select Team and who was added for the Showcase.
"In order to have two squads of 10 players we needed 20 players. Mason Plumlee performed well in camp with the USA Select Team and because of the position he plays he was a logical choice to be part of this game," said Jerry Colangelo, USA National Team managing director.
--Official release from the USMNT
The USMNT players who will represent the US are split up as such for the Blue-White game.
The USA White Team, coach by USA assistant coach and Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, includes Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Durant; Harden; Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks); Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks); and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors).
The USA Blue Team, which will be led by USA assistant coach and New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams, includes Curry; Davis; DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Paul George (Indiana Pacers); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz); Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks); Plumlee; Rose; and John Wall (Washington Wizards).
"The USA Basketball Showcase has been an exciting conclusion to the USA Basketball National Team Las Vegas training camps since 2007 and this year's game promises to be as exciting and as competitive of a game as we've ever had," said Colangelo. "After four days of training, the players are looking forward to playing in a competitive game situation. The game will also be beneficial in our decision making process for selecting finalists for our team that will eventually represent the United States at the FIBA Basketball World Cup."
The 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team coaching staff features USA head coach and Duke University's Naismith Hall of Fame mentor Mike Krzyzewski. Serving as assistant coaches are USA Basketball and Syracuse University and Naismith Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Thibodeau and Williams.
Lesser brother, again?
Mason over DeMarcus?
Not only has Mason moved ahead of Miles for that one Select Team member inclusion in the Showcase, it appears that Mason also has a leg up on the mercurial DeMarcus Cousins for a full-time spot on the 12-man team that heads overseas to represent the USA in the World Cup, hosted by Goran Dragic's Slovenia.
Since then, twitter has been alight with preturbation (not to be confused with rosterbation) over this development. In no way is Mason Plumlee a better basketball player than DeMarcus Cousins.
- Mason Plumlee in 2013-14: 7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, <1 assists, steals, blocks per game
- DeMarcus Cousins in 2013-14: 22.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 steals, .3 blocks per game
Unfortunately, Miles Plumlee has failed to become the first Suns representative on the USMNT since, well, Barkley? Maybe since Shawn Marion. I dunno. Maybe Scott Howard can look this up. But Nash was Canadian and Amare was always protecting his knees in the offseason.
Who on the Suns could be added over the next couple of years to the USMNT to represent the USA in international competitions? The team has been 'set' for the next three years, I know. But still there's replacements as guys go through contract issues.
The only Phoenix Suns player I see, right now, representing the USA for Coach Mike just might be that one dude who can't seem to find a pen to sign his contract this summer. He's the only one of US descent with the talent to make this squad.