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Plumlee surprises with USA nod

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In an otherwise disappointing offseason, Mason Plumlee has given the Brooklyn Nets and their fans a jolt.

The freakishly athletic center was named to Team USA’s Final 16 team. Plumlee, on the heels of an eye-opening rookie campaign, will fight to represent his country at the FIBA World Cup, which begins on Aug. 30.

USA managing director Jerry Colangelo will still need to trim the roster down to 12, but Plumlee’s perseverance is giving Nets fans a reason for optimism after an offseason of lost players. The Net center needed to survive the practice squad in order to reach this phase of the selection process.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski will likely select two of the following three big men: Plumlee, Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, and Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst intimated earlier in the week that Plumlee maintained an edge over the Kings’ Cousins.

Regardless of the outcome, Plumlee has certainly made himself a name worth watching in the future.

“It’s quite an honor to be added to the National Team and to be a finalist for the World Cup roster,” Plumlee said. “I am very much looking forward to training camp in Chicago as the next step in representing our country as a member of USA Basketball.”

Coach K, who worked with Plumlee at Duke, said that Kevin Garnett’s presence helped in the maturation process. Ironically, Garnett’s injury paved the way for Plumlee to start 22 games. Without the additional injury to Brook Lopez, Plumlee might not have seen the floor much, if at all, in the 2013-14 season.

He made the most of his opportunity, though. Now, he may get the chance to show the rest of the league what he can do on the national stage.