Kings' De'Aaron Fox Withdrawing from Team USA Reportedly 'Stunned' Officials

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2019

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 16: De'Aaron Fox #20 of Team USA handles the ball against Team Spain on August 16, 2019 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE  (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images

Team USA officials were reportedly "stunned" when De'Aaron Fox withdrew his name from consideration from the World Cup roster over the weekend.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Fox made the surprise move just hours before the team was set to fly to Australia for practices and scrimmages ahead of next month's World Cup.

Fox was considered likely to make the Team USA roster and was the only primary point guard behind Kemba Walker after Kyle Lowry withdrew because of injury. It's possible Fox decided to withdraw from consideration because he was not given a guarantee he would make the final 12-man roster.

The Sacramento Kings guard was originally only part of the Select Team until he was brought up to the training camp roster because of concerns over Lowry's injury. Walker, Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Donovan Mitchell seem the likely four-guard combo coach Gregg Popovich will take to China.

Fox's decision to withdraw at the last minute was surprising because he had consistently drawn praise throughout camp and spoke highly of the Team USA experience, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:

"I think it is a big opportunity just being able to be here. I think I have gotten better as a player, as a leader, understanding of the game entirely. And if I am able to be on this team and travel with this team, it's a big success."

"Jerry [Colangelo] even talked about the 2010 team, all those guys being around 21, 22, 23 years old. He kind of sees the same thing and using it as a springboard into the season."

Fox averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 assists per game during the 2018-19 season, emerging as one of the most promising point guards in the NBA. After struggling to find his rhythm as a rookie, he flashed a vastly improved jumper to go along with being one of the quickest guards in the league. The Kings were a surprising 39-43 last season and could be a contender for one of the final playoff spots in the West this coming season.