LAS VEGAS – All 17 members of Team USA are honored to be in Las Vegas to train and compete with the hopes of representing America in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
A lot to like about this group. 📸 First look at the USA Men's National Team training camp squad. pic.twitter.com/TS248Jguqr— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) August 6, 2019
On top of that, these NBA stars will get to learn from San Antonio Spurs' head coach Gregg Popovich.
"I'm excited, very excited," Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker said. "We all know coach Pop is one of the greatest, and for me to be a part of this USA team with him, to learn from the best, I'm excited. Super excited."
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, who the Spurs worked out before the 2017 NBA Draft, took it a step further with his compliment.
"He's my favorite coach of all time," Kuzma said. "Growing up, I'm a hoops junkie, watching a lot of the Spurs teams and he's won. Won at every level he's been at. So, to be here and learn, to be around him, it's really great."
Utah Jazz third-year guard Donovan Mitchell is a rising young star, and is thrilled to learn from Popovich, a five-time NBA champion.
"His mindset. You know, the aggressiveness, the relentlessness," Mitchell said. "As an NBA coach that's not always the case. You see that normally in college, so for me to see that and to learn from him I think will add so much to my game, as far as being a competitor on the defensive end. Getting to learn here from a different perspective is always nice."
Popovich is known for being gruff with the media, but he does have a funny side. Often, he'll laugh and joke with media when the cameras are down.
As Gregg Popovich was getting Team USA to leave the court today, he was kind enough to give me a quick 1-on-1 on Derrick White being part of the Select Team. Pop was in a great mood. Thanks Pop!!#Spurs #TeamUSA #USABMNT @InstantReplaySA pic.twitter.com/Ff5aN9vM2P— Larry Ramirez (@LRam2) August 6, 2019
Of course, inside the locker room or out at dinner with his team, Popovich will make his guys laugh. Milwaukee center Brook Lopez is now getting to see that firsthand.
"It's a very unique funny side, but it's there," Lopez said. "It could be very dry. I think he's witty and dry. It's a little subtle, and it will come at times when you don't expect it to, but it's funny and hilarious."
Jokes aside, Popovich is all business when it comes to Team USA. He takes this responsibility seriously.
The USA Basketball Men's National Team will train Wednesday and Thursday before holding a USA White vs. USA Blue scrimmage Friday at the T-Mobile Arena.