It was a very good year for USA Basketball all around, from the U17 boys and girls teams winning gold medals in Dubai and Czech Republic respectively to the men’s and women’s national teams bringing home the World Cup/Championship crown. When it came time for USA Basketball to select its 19th annual Team of the Year winner, considering the successful year for the program at all levels, it was ultimately settled as a tie between the two national squads.
On the heels of gold-medal performances that secured the USA men and women a berth into the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, the 2014 USA Men’s World Cup and USA Women’s World Championship teams have been selected as co-recipients of the 2014 USA Basketball Team of the Year. USA Basketball’s Board of Directors is responsible for selecting its annual award winners.
“USA Basketball is proud to recognize the accomplishments of the USA Men’s World Cup and USA Women’s World Championship teams and to honor them as the 2014 USA Basketball co-Teams of the Year,” said USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director Jim Tooley. “In addition to playing basketball at the highest level, these athletes and coaches demonstrated impressive sportsmanship and teamwork that led to tremendous success. We are very grateful for their commitment and dedication.”
The 2014 USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Team captured a 9-0 record and the gold medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup from Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Bilbao, Barcelona and Madrid, Spain.
“We talked about selflessness on this team when we first got together in Las Vegas, and I think this team epitomized that,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball Men’s National Team managing director. “Different people stepped up on different nights to lead the charge, and it was just a great experience. With no discredit to our previous teams, this may have been the hardest-working team on our tenure because the attitude was there every day. This was also the youngest team we’ve ever had, and maybe that’s a part of that reason or logic. But the work ethic was terrific; we couldn’t have asked for more.”
“I think the most special thing about this team was the experience as a whole,” said USA men’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski(Duke University). “In other words, where we started from, with injury, with people with contracts or personal issues that were not able to attend. The prediction was not one of victory, and where it turned out was at the completely other end of the spectrum. And the journey was the best one we’ve had, I think. I loved it. I love our staff, and we became a very, very close team.”
The 2014 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team captured a 6-0 record and the gold medal at the FIBA World Championship from Sept. 27-Oct. 5 in Istanbul, Turkey.
“We really didn’t have a lot of time or preparation and had a lot of new players on the team we tried to incorporate,” said USA women’s head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut). “We played exceptionally well in Istanbul and had a great group in terms of how easy they were to coach. The chemistry we had on the team was about as smooth sailing as any USA Basketball team I’ve been involved with.”
This year’s announcement marks the 19th time USA Basketball has presented the Team of the Year Award, which first was earned in 1996 by the historic USA Women’s Olympic/National Team.
The USA Men’s World Cup team featured: DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors);Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings); James Harden (Houston Rockets); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors). Assisting Krzyzewski were Jim Boeheim (Syracuse University), Tom Thibodeau (Chicago Bulls) and Monty Williams (New Orleans Pelicans).
The USA men became just the third country in FIBA Basketball World Cup history to capture consecutive titles, and its +33.0 points per game differential was the most by a U.S. men’s team in a FIBA Basketball World Cup or Olympic Games since the 1994 Worlds (+37.8).
The USA women’s team featured: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx); Sue Bird (Seattle Storm); Tina Charles (New York Liberty); Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury); Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury); Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream); Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx); Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks); Odyssey Sims (Tulsa Shock); Breanna Stewart(University of Connecticut); Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx). Auriemma was assisted by Doug Bruno (DePaul University), Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Dawn Staley (University of South Carolina).
The women’s title was a record ninth FIBA World Championship gold and second consecutive gold for the USA.