Derrick Rose made the initial 19-player cut for the U.S national team, as it prepares to practice in Las Vegas this month for August's FIBA World Cup championships in Spain.
Now, Rose has to survive the next seven cuts to make the team.
Rose, who turns 26 in October, was a young, on-the-rise star when he won a gold medal with the U.S. team in the 2010 World Championships. He followed that by becoming the youngest MVP in league history. But after missing most of the last two seasons with knee problems, coach Mike Krzyzewski is hopeful Rose can return to form.
"Well, we'd like to see him play like the Derrick of old, one of the best players in the world, an MVP in the NBA," Krzyzewski said in a conference call Monday. "What we've heard is he's in great shape. We'll see how he'll do in five-on-five, on the fifth day we'll do intrasquad. Hopefully he's going to be in top shape. Derrick's a great player, a great guy. I know representing his country in Istanbul as one of our starting guards was a great experience for him. Hopefully this will be a launching pad for him to have a great NBA season."
USA basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said the team will probably cut down to 15 when they leave Las Vegas after a camp that runs July 28-Aug. 1. The team will play a warm-up game against Brazil on Aug. 16 at the United Center and then will practice and play two exhibition games in New York from Aug. 17-22. Colangelo said they might not cut the roster down to 12 until then.
Krzyzewski said his new assistant, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, hasn't been lobbying him for Rose. The Bulls would like to see Rose start the season in game shape, after playing only 10 games last season before tearing the medial meniscus in his right knee.
"I talked to Thibs a couple times this weekend, but not about that, more to congratulate him on [the Bulls signing Pau] Gasol," Krzyzewski said. "As a staff, we try to stay close together, not on one player, but the whole team. We're lucky to have Tom with us."
Rose missed the entire 2012-13 season rehabbing a torn ACL, and in past years, Rose has shied away from playing five-on-five during the summer. He changed the routine this summer, scrimmaging at the Berto Center, including last week with the summer league team.
While Rose told a Yahoo! sportswriter he wasn't sure if he'd play for the U.S. team, Thibodeau quickly told reporters Rose was going to the Vegas camp.