Not many people get to look down at the jersey they’re wearing and see the letters, ‘U’, ‘S, ‘A’, but two of Canton’s own were given that opportunity. Levi Randolph and J.P. Macura returned after missing three Charge games while playing with Team USA Basketball, competing in the 2020-21 FIBA AmeriCup qualifiers.
The FIBA AmeriCup is an international tournament that runs every two years for the countries in the Western Hemisphere. Qualifying rounds for the 2021 cup will run through February 22, 2021.
USA Basketball finished the opening round undefeated with back-to-back wins against Puerto Rico (83-70, 95-73). The team returns to action on Friday, November 27, 2020, taking on the Bahamas.
Hear from J.P. and Levi about their experiences and what to expect as the Charge close out the regular season with their eyes set on the team’s first playoff berth since the 2016-17 season.
Talking about USA Basketball as a whole, what does USA Basketball mean and playing for this organization mean to you?
J.P. – Ever since we were little, it was our goal to play in the NBA and obviously playing on the USA team is part of that. It’s really great being able to play for our country and represent the US. It was a cool experience for sure.
LR – Growing up watching the Olympics and seeing all the great players for Team USA and being able to be part of an organization like that is big time. It’s an honor to even be able to say that you played for USA Basketball. It was a great experience that we’ll remember for a long time.
So how has playing in the G League helped prepare you for USA Basketball?
LR – It prepared us by giving us the opportunity to play against other really talented players. There’s a lot of really great guys in the G League, a lot of NBA players. Just played against other guys that have played at a high level in the G League helped prepare us to face tough competition.
And for J.P., since you’re coming off a call-up (Cleveland Cavaliers), and with such short training camps, do those experiences of being on the move and playing with new guys help in a situation like this to come together as a team?
J.P. – Definitely. I think we did a good job as a team, coming together and playing well. It also helped knowing each other. We know other guys in the G League, we know they’re playing style and strengths and weaknesses, so that made it a little easier for us to play together.
Only one other G League team (Stockton) had multiple players represented at USA Basketball, we had two Canton guys, what do you think that means for our organization?
J.P. – (Smiling) It means we’ve got a good squad. We have a very good team and we’re winning a lot of games and I think that’s intriguing to USA Basketball. They want guys that win.
As you guys mentioned, you know a lot of the other G League players. Games get chippy and heated during the season, so how do you go from opponent to teammate?
LR – I think to be nominated and chosen for a team like this, we all respect each other. We know we are all coming together for a greater purpose. Even though we’ve had chippy games and stuff, when you step on the court together as the same team, you become a unit. We fed off each other’s talents and had some fun.
Now you guys are home and we have the final stretch of the regular season, what cam we expect from the team?
J.P. – You can expect what you’ve been seeing. Trying to win as many games as possible, playing together, and trying to win the whole thing.