Utah Jazz: Stars’ McGrew joins Team USA WC qualifying team

The Utah Jazz’s G-League affiliate — the Salt Lake City Stars — will once again send a player to USA Basketball for World Cup qualifiers. Namely, forward Tanner McGrew.

After years of languishing near the bottom of the G-League standings, the Salt Lake City Stars are turning things around this season. Right now, the Stars have a winning record and, with it, a chance to advance to postseason play — things that haven’t happened since the team moved from Boise. As a result, Stars players are getting major recognition.

Last month, it was big man Willie Reed who took center stage, earning All G-League honors for the first half of the season. Now, forward Tanner McGrew is being rewarded for his play.

McGrew was one of 13 players invited to participate in Team USA’s February 2019 World Cup Qualifying Team training camp. The squad began training on Feb. 15 at the University of Miami and will continue through this Tuesday, Feb. 19.

They’ll reconvene on Feb. 21 and play two home games to wrap-up qualifiers, first against Panama on Feb. 22, then on Feb. 25 against a tough Argentinian team.

The Stars acquired McGrew from the Memphis Hustle in January for Salt Lake’s fourth-round selection in next year’s G-League Draft. In 11 games post-trade, McGrew has hit another level, putting up 13.9 points and six rebounds per game. He’s also knocked down nearly 43 percent of his 6.2 3-point attempts per contest.

He also has the best D-rating on the squad at 97.7 and boasts the third-best net rating among rotation regulars, trailing just Reed and Justin Reyes with a mark of 7.7.

McGrew’s finest effort as a pro came on January 25 against the Long Island Nets. He scored 25 points in the game, hitting 10-of-18 shots from the floor with five 3-pointers.

In addition to his spot with their G-League affiliate, McGrew has a Jazz connection through his college coach, Patrick Beilien. Beilien went on to become a Jazz assistant coach under Quin Snyder during the 2014-15 campaign.