DEREK WILLIS OF THE DRIVE CHOSEN FOR USA BASKETBALL’S FEBRUARY 2018 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING TEAM
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (Feb 21, 2018) – USA Basketball announced Tuesday (Feb 20, 2018) that forward Derek Willis of the Drive was chosen for the official 12-member USA team that will participate in the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifying first round, second-window games against Cuba on Feb. 23 and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 in Santa Cruz, California.
Willis, the former Kentucky Wildcat, is currently in his first season with the Drive averaging 11.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 33 games played. During the Drive’s match-up against the Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers affiliate) on January 6, 2018, Willis had a season-high 12 rebounds.
On Team USA, Willis will be joined by Taylor Braun (Salt Lake City Stars); Alonzo Gee (Sioux Falls Skyforce); Aaron Harrison (Reno Bighorns); Rodney Purvis (Lakeland Magic); Xavier Silas (Northern Arizona Suns); David Stockton (Reno Bighorns); Rashawn Thomas (Oklahoma City Blue); Marcus Thornton (Canton Charge); Devin Williams (Maine Red Claws).
Jeff Van Gundy, who led the USA to a 5-0 record and the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup and to a pair of wins in the FIBA World Cup Qualifying November window, returns as head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team. Veteran international coach Mo McHone and former Georgetown University coach John Thompson III will again serve as USA assistant coaches.
The USA World Cup Qualifying Team will continue its training in Santa Cruz on Feb. 21, 22, 24 and 25.
The USA will host two home games during the second window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifying first-round. The USA men will play Cuba on Feb. 23, and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 in Santa Cruz at the Kaiser Permanente Arena. Both games are scheduled to tip at 8 p.m. PST.