Report: Team USA to Gauge Zion Williamson's Interest in 2019 FIBA World Cup

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2019

Duke forward Zion Williamson on the court warming up before the start of a NCAA men's East Regional final college basketball game against Michigan State in Washington, Sunday, March 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Duke Blue Devils star Zion Williamson will not have the opportunity to play in the Final Four following Sunday's loss to the Michigan State Spartans, but he may have the chance to play for his country this summer. 

On Monday, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported USA Basketball plans to "gauge" Williamson's interest in playing in the FIBA World Cup, which begins Aug. 31. Stein noted formal discussions likely will not happen until closer to June's NBA draft when the freshman has an agent.

He noted Williamson wouldn't be the first player to suit up for Team USA before making his NBA debut:

Throughout Williamson's freshman season, he was a clear notch above the competition he saw in college. His physicality made him nearly impossible to stop in one-on-one scenarios, and his athleticism allowed him to blow past defenders in transition or isolation sets to set up his highlight-reel dunks.

Playing for Team USA would give him the opportunity to test his game against high-level international competition and see how he stacks up with NBA-caliber players.

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The widely presumed No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft has the potential to be a franchise building block for whichever team drafts him. He averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game with Duke on his way to being named the ACC Player of the Year.

Anthony Davis was also a No. 1 pick and is now one of the NBA's best players, but he wasn't a significant contributor on the 2012 Olympics team right out of college with so much talent around him.

He averaged the fewest points per game (3.7) of anyone on the 12-man roster that won the gold medal, which included players such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

Williamson could add a FIBA gold medal of his own if he does play for Team USA before he ever steps foot on the floor for an NBA regular-season contest.

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