LAS VEGAS, NV. (WLNS) – With less than three weeks until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics begin, the 2021 USA Basketball Men’s National Team is preparing for the games in Las Vegas. The team started practice on Tuesday, July 6, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ basketball facility.
Among those on the 12-man men’s roster are Golden State Warriors forward and former Michigan State basketball standout Draymond Green and Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant. This will be Green’s second time representing his country, 2016 was his first, while Grant will be traveling with the team for the first time this year.
Grant is the only player on the 12-man roster that has never been selected to the all-star game, so he’s not taking the chance to play against the best in the world for granted.
“Being around a group of guys that are this talented and being able to pick up the little thing that they do by watching, observing, things like that, it can only help me out for my future,” Grant said.
Grant is the first Piston to make Team U.S.A since Tayshaun Prince in 2008, and after his first season in Detroit, averaging 22.3 PPG and 4.9 RPG, Green knows Grant is deserving of his roster spot.
“He’s one of the guys in the NBA now,” Green said. “Just an incredible year, and then going with the Pistons, I always watched the Pistons I’m from Michigan, and what he’s gone there and done is incredible. One of the most improved players in this league for sure.”
Both Green and Grant entered the league with chips on their shoulder of being a second-round draft pick. And both used their defense to prove why they’re worthy of being a part of Team U.S.A.
“I can in the NBA a second-round pick, number 39. I was on the team with a bunch of lotteries picks so I didn’t have the opportunity to show what I could do on the offensive end,” Grant said. “I had to make my nitch and it came on the defensive end, blocking shots, playing defense, and guarding my man.”
“When I came into the league, their number one question was what position would I guard and that stuck with me and I wanted to make everyone eat those words. Every team that passed me. Every reporter. Everybody who’s anybody who’s ever said anything about my defense.”
Team U.S.A’s first game of the Olympics will take place on July 25 versus France.