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More than 85 percent of World Cup players in China competed in the Qualifiers
SHENZHEN (China) - A total of 328 players at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 competed for their national teams in the Qualifiers with 53 of them playing in all 12 games of the qualification campaign.
Those 328 players make up 85.4 percent of the total 384 athletes representing their countries in China, with 13.8 percent of them answering the call all 12 times.
Angola were tops in commitment with five World Cup players taking part in all of the qualification fixtures during the national team windows while Japan, Poland and Tunisia all had four players at all 12 qualifying games.
Rui Hachimura helped Japan qualify for the World Cup
Nine countries - Canada, China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Korea, New Zealand, Tunisia, Turkey and Venezuela - have their rosters made up entirely of players from the qualifying campaign while nine more teams have included just one player who didn't appear in the Qualifiers.
In addition, 200 of the players - or 52.1 percent - appeared in at least six of their respective nations' qualifying games. In total, 19 of the 32 teams had at least half of their final rosters made up of players from the Qualifiers - topped by New Zealand's 11 while Angola, Cote d'Ivoire and Jordan all saw 10 players appear in at least six Qualifiers.
"COACH POP CALLED ME LAST SUMMER AND TOLD ME IT WAS A GOOD THING TO DO FOR MY DEVELOPMENT. I WENT AND IT HELPED ME FOR THE NEXT SEASON."
Thirty-one of the 32 teams at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 feature at least seven players from the Qualifiers, with the United States being the only other team as Derrick White is the only American player who experienced the Americas Qualifiers and used them to full effect to earn a spot on the Team USA roster for the World Cup.
"I didn't expect to be here, but I'm really thankful that I am. Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich) called me last summer and told me it was a good thing to do for my development. I went there and it helped me for the next season," White explained. "When I had a chance to be on the USA Select Team, I jumped on it and moved up and up."
Derrick White used his Qualifiers experience to earn a spot on Team USA at the World Cup
There are many more examples of players using the Qualifiers as a springboard for their careers, with Amedeo Della Valle establishing himself as a star in Italy, Australian Mitch Creek and Yuta Watanabe of Japan earning spots on NBA rosters, Quino Colom becoming an essential part of the Spain setup and the likes of Bryan Pamba and Souleyman Diabate of Cote d'Ivoire also moving up the ladder in their club careers.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 is the biggest World Cup of all time with 32 teams. It is also the culmination of the new Competition System in which the teams play six windows over two years to qualify for the tournament.
Amedeo Della Valle was a standout for Italy in the European Qualifiers
That also helped some players keep playing for their national team.
"For me, it brought me back to the national team," said the 37-year-old Dominican Republic big man Eulis Baez, who had last played for the national team in 2015.
"I had kind of retired from the national team when we were using the whole summer to play the tournament because it was taking a toll on my body and the relationship to my family. You would spend the whole year playing. That's why I kind of wanted to stop. But when the windows came back, a player like me had the opportunity to play again."