Former KU standout Frank Mason to try out for U.S. World Cup qualifying team

Former Kansas Jayhawk Frank Mason will head to Las Vegas to attend USA World Cup qualifying team training camp. | Rich Sugg |

By Gary Bedore

Former Kansas point guard and 2017 consensus national college player of the year Frank Mason will attend USA World Cup qualifying team training camp Thursday through Sept. 13 in Las Vegas, USA Basketball announced Monday.

In all, 14 players will attempt to make the roster of the 12-man team, which will attempt to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The U.S., which went 5-1 and placed first in Group C in first-round qualifying action, will play second-round qualifying games against Uruguay on Sept. 14 in Las Vegas and against Panama on Sept. 17 in Panama City. Mason did not participate in those initial six games.

Players from NBA and NBA G-League teams who will gather at tryouts for the U.S. team: Mason of the Sacramento Kings, plus Bryce Alford, Oklahoma City Blue; Dwayne Bacon, Charlotte Hornets; V.J. Beachem, NBA free agent; Jordan Crawford, New Orleans Pelicans; Henry Ellenson, Detroit Pistons; Reggie Hearn, Grand Rapids Drive; Isaiah Hicks, New York Knicks; Dakari Johnson, NBA free agent; Ben Moore, Fort Wayne Mad Ants; Chasson Randle, Capital City Go-Go; Travis Trice, Milwaukee Bucks; Jameel Warney, Texas Legends and Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs.

Former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy is the head coach of the U.S. World Cup qualifying team. He will be assisted by Mike Miller of the G-League’s Westchester Knicks and former Georgetown coach John Thompson III.

USA Basketball explained the qualifying process on its official website:

“Following the completion of the first round, the top three finishing teams in each of the four, first-round groups advanced to the second round. The three advancing teams from Group A, Argentina (5-1), Uruguay (4-2) and Panama (3-3), and the top three finishers from Group C, USA, Puerto Rico (4-2) and Mexico (3-3), form Group E. The top three finishers from Group B, Venezuela (5-1), Brazil (5-1) and Chile (1-5), and Group D, Canada (5-1), Dominican Republic (4-2) and U.S. Virgin Islands (2-4), form Group F. The three second-round windows of competition will take place Sept. 13-17, 2018; Nov. 29-Dec. 3, 2018; and Feb. 21-25, 2019.

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“Following completion of the Americas second-round games, seven teams will qualify out of the zone for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, including the top three finishing teams from Group E and Group F, and the top rated fourth placed team between Group E and Group F.”

If the U.S. qualifies, it will compete in the World Cup in September of 2019 in China.

Lindy’s picks KU No. 1

Kansas’ basketball team has been ranked preseason No. 1 in the country by Lindy’s Magazine. Kentucky is No. 2, followed by Gonzaga, Duke, Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Virginia and Michigan State.

Taylor heading to Italy

Former KU guard Tyshawn Taylor is preparing to head to Italy to join coach Larry Brown’s Fiat Torino team preseason camp, he reported Monday on Twitter. Taylor recently agreed to a one-year contract with Fiat Torino.

“I’ve been coached by Bob Hurley Sr., Bill Self, Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo, Jason Kidd and am about to go to Italy and play for Larry Brown. (I’ve) been soaking up the game from legends literally,” Taylor wrote on Twitter.

Taylor, 28, has played pro basketball in Puerto Rico, Russia, Venezuela, Israel and Turkey and for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets since leaving KU in 2012.

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