Former Kansas guard Frank Mason of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings has survived tryouts and earned a spot on the 12-man USA Basketball World Cup qualifying team, which will meet Uruguay on Friday night at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion.
V.J. Beachem and Jordan Crawford were cut earlier this week, leaving a roster of Mason, Bryce Alford, Oklahoma City Blue; Dwayne Bacon, Charlotte Hornets; Henry Ellenson, Detroit Pistons; Reggie Hearn, Grand Rapids Drive; Isaiah Hicks, New York Knicks; Dakari Johnson, NBA free agent; Ben Moore, Fort Wayne Mad Ants; Chasson Randle, Capital City Go-Go; Travis Trice, Milwaukee Bucks; Jameel Warney, Texas Legends; and Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs.
Former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy is head coach of the qualifying team. He is assisted by Mike Miller of the NBA G-League’s Westchester Knicks and former Georgetown coach John Thompson III.
The USA, which went 5-1 and placed first in Group C in the first round, opens the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying second round against Group A’s No. 2 seed, Uruguay (4-2), at 9 p.m. Central time Friday in Vegas. The U.S. will meet Panama on Sept. 17 in Panama City.
USA Basketball explained the qualifying process on its official website:
“Following the completion of the first round, the top three finishing teams in each of the four, first-round groups advanced to the second round. The three advancing teams from Group A, Argentina (5-1), Uruguay (4-2) and Panama (3-3), and the top three finishers from Group C, USA, Puerto Rico (4-2) and Mexico (3-3), form Group E. The top three finishers from Group B, Venezuela (5-1), Brazil (5-1) and Chile (1-5), and Group D, Canada (5-1), Dominican Republic (4-2) and U.S. Virgin Islands (2-4), form Group F. The three second-round windows of competition will take place Sept. 13-17, 2018; Nov. 29-Dec. 3, 2018; and Feb. 21-25, 2019.
“Following completion of the Americas second-round games, seven teams will qualify out of the zone for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, including the top three finishing teams from Group E and Group F, and the top rated fourth placed team between Group E and Group F.”
If the U.S. qualifies, it will compete in the World Cup in September 2019 in China.
Mason, who is about to begin his second season with the Sacramento Kings after being chosen consensus college basketball player of the year in 2017 at KU, must battle former Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell this season for backup minutes at point guard behind De’Aaron Fox.
“It’s unlikely that (Kings coach) Dave Joerger uses three point guards on a regular basis,” writes James Ham of nbcsports.com. “Ferrell has one more year of NBA experience and 50 starts over the past two seasons. He’s also just a year older than Mason. That doesn’t mean that the battle is already decided, but Mason is going to have to show something in training camp.
“It’s too early to make an accurate guess, but an early prediction is that Mason is out of the rotation early in the season. He’ll finds a way to get minutes through injury or lineup adjustments, but he has to produce when given the opportunity,” Ham adds.
Nova offers Matthew Hurt
Villanova officially offered blue-chip forward prospect Matthew Hurt a scholarship during Monday’s in-home visit, Jeff Goodman of Stadium reported on Twitter.
Hurt, a 6-9 senior from John Marshall High in Rochester, Minn., who is ranked No. 6 in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com, met with coaches from KU, Duke and Kentucky on Sunday. Coaches from North Carolina and Minnesota were expected to also visit the Hurt household Monday, followed by representatives of Memphis on Tuesday and Indiana on Sept. 17.
Hurt averaged 33.9 points, 15.0 rebounds and 3.9 blocked shots a game during his junior season at John Marshall High. He has 2,751 points and 1,105 rebounds in three seasons.
Self, Townsend visit Wiseman
KU coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend had an in-home visit on Tuesday with James Wiseman, a 7-foot, 210-pound senior from Memphis (Tenn.) East High School, who is ranked No. 2 in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com.
“Great In-Home Kansas Visit Today!!” Wiseman wrote Tuesday on Twitter.
He met with Memphis coach Penny Hardaway on Monday and will meet with Kentucky’s John Calipari on Wednesday.
Wiseman will attend the Sept. 28 Late Night in the Phog as part of an official recruiting visit to KU. He will visit Vanderbilt on Oct. 12-14 and Florida State on Oct. 26-28. He’s been to Memphis many times with no official visit yet scheduled.
He is expected to take his recruitment into the spring signing period.
Braun is ranked No. 113
Christian Braun, a 6-6 senior guard from Blue Valley Northwest, who recently received a scholarship offer from KU, is ranked No. 113 in the recruiting Class of 2019 in Rivals.com’s updated rankings announced Tuesday. Braun previously was unranked. Braun has also been offered scholarships by Missouri, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Illinois, Wake Forest, Creighton, Texas Tech, Mississippi and others.
Report: Rush works out for Wolves
Former KU small forward Brandon Rush has worked out for the Minnesota Timberwolves this week, along with fellow free agents Monta Ellis and Brandon Paul, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Rush played for the Wolves two seasons ago. Last season, he had one 10-day contract with Portland, but did not enter a game. Rush, 33, is hoping to continue his 10-year NBA career.