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Zion Williamson invited to USA Select Team, could earn spot on 2019 World Cup Team

Zion with rare opportunity to compete for one of basketball’s privileged honors as an incoming rookie.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional Practice Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Zion Williamson, the presumptive first overall pick in this month’s NBA Draft, has been invited to join the USA Men’s Select National Team.

The 10-man Select Team will participate in practices with and scrimmages alongside Team USA’s roster of 18 training camp invitees.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will assume the same duties for Team USA.

According to Stein, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo says that Zion will have an opportunity to compete for a spot on the 12-man final roster that will play in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup later this summer.

Colangelo said that USA Basketball wants to give Williamson “the platform to see how he can compete with the vets.”

Anthony Davis was also a member of the Select team back in 2012. Davis was named to the Olympic Team that year, winning a golf medal at the London games.

Now Williamson, expected to be playing for the same team and city that Davis has for the past seven season, has his chance to get an early taste of what it’s like to compete against the best of the very best that the NBA and the world has to offer.

It should be a great learning experience for Williamson as he prepares for life as a professional basketball player. Practicing under Gregg Popovich and his staff’s tutelage while competing against seasoned veterans could also provide a more accurate glimpse of Zion’s readiness and skill level than might be gleaned from a cameo at the NBA Summer League.

So far, Khris Middleton, Bradley Beal, Eric Gordon, Kyle Kuzma, Damian Lillard, Brook Lopez, Jayson Tatum, CJ McCollum, and Kevin Love are among those expected to participate.

Last season’s MVP, James Harden, has already confirmed, as have Donovan Mitchell, Kemba Walker, and Davis.

The World Cup begins play August 31 in China and will run through September 15.