A summer spent training with and battling against some of the top players in the world unfortunately came to an end early Saturday morning for Gordon Hayward, when he was not among the 12 players selected to Team USA’s final FIBA World Cup roster just hours before the team left for Spain.
Despite his run with Team USA ending, Gordon’s time spent with USA Basketball this summer allowed him to further showcase his talents to a national audience and gain more experience playing as a more versatile, international-style player.
He also relished the opportunity to play alongside some of the best in the game, and for some of the game’s best coaches. The time spent wearing the Red, White and Blue, will serve G-Time well as the NBA season approaches. Shortly after the announcement was made, Gordon took to Instagram to look forward:
“Ready to get this season going,” he wrote. “It’s gonna be a great year! Hope you’re ready Utah fans, we’ll need you out there! #JazzNation”
Four players—Gordon, Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard and Chandler Parsons—were not retained from the group of 16 to the final 12-man roster. USA Basketball’s Jerry Colangelo praised all those involved in the process and detailed the team’s decision as it heads to compete in Spain.
“Since taking over the USA Basketball Men’s National Team program in 2005, this was without doubt the most difficult selection process we’ve gone through,” Colangelo said. “I can’t stress enough the outstanding effort and commitment that has been given by each finalist. I also want to make it clear that this is not just about talent – each player is incredibly talented and each player offered us unique skills. In the end it was about assembling the best team, selecting guys who we felt would be able to best play the kind of style we envision this team playing.”
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 23, 2014
— Tony Anderson (@tonythejet) August 23, 2014
— Zeak Barkley (@ZeakBarkley) August 23, 2014
Team USA’s summer tour went through Las Vegas and Chicago before closing in New York. Gordon and the American squad dominated in all three of their scrimmages against Brazil, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Shortly after that final contest at Madison Square Garden against Puerto Rico, Colangelo and head coach Mike Kryzyewski selected their final 12-man group. Afterward, Kryzyewski echoed Colangelo’s sentiment about the difficulty of the cut to 12.
“I hate it. I hate it, and it’s the worst thing really about the process,” Kryzyewski said about making roster cuts. “To select twelve was difficult, because our pool is so good. As we go forward, we not only go forward as twelve, we go forward as a pool for USA Basketball. As a staff we want to thank the players who are not going forward.”