In the exhibition games and the opener of FIBA World Cup play, Austin Reaves has far more than proved that deserved his spot on Team USA this summer. In fact, in USA’s opener for the competition, he was perhaps the best player against New Zealand.
But basically nobody expected him to be part of this roster heading into the summer. And that includes Reaves himself.
Back in the spring, Reaves had entered his offseason ready to focus on free agency and golf. It was when he was doing the latter he received a text from his agent, as told by Khobi Price of the OC Register.
“He was like, ‘You’re not going to believe this,’” Reaves told the Southern California News Group over the phone this week.
The message: Grant Hill, the managing director of the USA Basketball men’s national team, reached out to offer Reaves a spot on the 12-player Team USA roster for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which the U.S. will kick off with a first-round matchup against New Zealand on Saturday (5:40 a.m. PT) in the Philippines.
“I was just kind of shocked [at] the moment,” Reaves said. “I didn’t see it coming. I was confident in what I could do basketball-wise but it was something kind of caught me off-guard.”
Honestly, it’s a fair reaction from Reaves, who almost certainly did not have Team USA on his radar. In fact, in his exit interview, he talked about the possibility of playing for Germany in the future.
But as we have since learned, Grant Hill and Steve Kerr are big fans of Reaves and had their eye on him early on. And he’s fit like a glove into this roster both on and off the court.
We’ve already mentioned how much success he’s had on the court. Even when he’s not been in contention for their best player, he’s been fantastic, particularly alongside Tyrese Haliburton.
Off the court, he’s embraced the tampering side of playing for Team USA, which is the most important development. Ideally, this all ends with a gold medal and a couple of #FutureLakers in a couple of years down the road.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.