LAS VEGAS — Two days after he signed a four-year, $63 million deal with the Utah Jazz, some additional good news surfaced for Gordon Hayward.
The Jazz swingman is officially included in the elite group of 19 American players who will be trying out for 12 spots on the U.S. national team, which will try to defend its FIBA World Cup championship later this summer in Spain.
"We like Gordon Hayward a lot," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose Duke team edged Hayward's Butler squad in the 2010 NCAA title game, said during a conference call Tuesday.
"He’s strong, versatile. He's one of those guys that can really, internationally, play two, three, or four depending on lineups that you have in," Coach K continued. "I love his versatility and the fact that he is really ball friendly. He can dribble it, pass it, score it. He’s an easy guy to play with."
Team USA's training camp roster also includes former Weber State guard Damian Lillard, who's earned Rookie of the Year honors and made an All-Star team in his first two NBA seasons, and former Jazz sharpshooter Kyle Korver.
The rest of the camp roster: DeMar DeRozan, Chandler Parsons, Bradley Beal, DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Kevin Durant, Kenneth Faried, Paul George, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose and Klay Thompson.
This will be the fourth time Hayward has participated with USA Basketball, dating back to 2009 when he helped the Americans win the Under-19 FIBA World Championship.
Hayward and Utah big man Derrick Favors, who both signed long-term contracts with the Jazz in the past year, were in minicamps with the U.S. squad the past two summers. While Favors still hopes to be included in the national team's future, Hayward's all-around game (16 points, five rebounds and five assists this season) could help him perhaps earn a spot this year.
"He’s becoming really one of the outstanding players in the NBA," Krzyzewski said of the 24-year-old guard/forward. "We’re really excited about him being a part of this camp."
USA Basketball will hold its first camp in Las Vegas from July 28 through Aug. 1. The national team will then train in Chicago and New York before embarking to Spain toward the end of August.
"The Las Vegas training camp will be the start of our preparations for the World Cup, so this is a critical time for putting in place the foundation required for this USA Basketball team to be successful like its recent predecessors," said USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo. "This USA team will have a special opportunity to become the first USA team to repeat as world champions."