Utah Jazz wing Rodney Hood will go toe-to-toe with USA Basketball’s finest as they prepare for the Rio Olympics.
USA Basketball announced the 25 players that will comprise the USA Men’s Select Team on Tuesday and, once again, an up-and-coming Utah Jazz star has made the cut. Rodney Hood, who took his game to a new level with the Jazz last season, will be among those in Las Vegas for the senior national team’s training camp.
Following in footsteps of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Trey Burke, Hood and the Select Team will work out and scrimmage with players preparing for a trip to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games.
Incidentally, Hayward will also be in Vegas vying for the chance to be one of the 12 players representing their country in international basketball’s most important competition.
For Hood, it’s the opportunity to test his mettle against the best players in the game. It’s a moment in time that could pay dividends down the road.
After Hayward participated with the Select Team, he went on to become Utah’s captain and MVP. Favors, meanwhile, has become one of the best two-way bigs in the game.
As for Burke, well–he’s a true professional and a swell guy.
Hood, who averaged 14.5 points, three rebounds and three assists per game for the Jazz last season, is undoubtedly looking to take another step in his third year as a pro. Tangling with the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the NBA’s elite could prove to be a catalyst for Hood’s evolution.
The Jazz wing will be joined on the Select Team by Malcolm Brogdon, Devin Booker, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kris Dunn, Aaron Gordon, Jerami Grant, Gary Harris, Brandon Ingram, Brice Johnson, Stanley Johnson, Zach LaVine, CJ McCollum, Doug McDermott, Emmanuel Mudiay, Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Marcus Smart, Myles Turner, Denzel Valentine, Justise Winslow and Cody Zeller.
The Vegas camp will run for four days, from July 18-21 and the Select Team will be overseen by San Antonio Spurs headman Gregg Popovich, who will take over as coach for the senior team in 2017.