Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga was expected to get some international experience this week as a shoo-in for a spot with the Congolese national team. Unfortunately, the former No. 7 pick couldn’t secure a work visa in time, so he was left off the 12-man roster for the squad’s latest batch of World Cup qualifiers.
As a result, Dub Nation will likely have to wait until the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, which tips off on July 7, to see him back on the court. However, Kuminga wasn’t the only member of the Dubs family to be suiting up for FIBA action this weekend. And one of the others — namely, former Warriors big man Jordan Bell — just had a monster game for USA Basketball.
Not only that — he very nearly incited an international incident along the way.
Bell Leads Team USA to Win Over PR
The Americans were back on the hardwood in San Juan for a qualifying matchup with Puerto Rico on Friday. And just as he did during the last leg of first-round games in February, Bell impressed with his all-around effort.
In 23 minutes of play, the 27-year-old made just a single three-point bucket but he filled up the box score in just about every other way possible. Bell led the United States in rebounds (with seven), assists (six) and blocked shots (four), and was second on the club with 10 points on the right side of the plus/minus ledger.
That, combined with Justin Jackson’s 26-point night and Langston Galloway’s 18-6 line paved the way for Team USA’s 83-75 win.
After the game, American coach Jim Boylen raved about the ex-Dubs’ performance. “Jordan Bell, the leader of our team,” Boylen said. “His presence set the tone for the whole game and we’re thankful for him.”
It wasn’t all rosy for Bell, though. Just before halftime, the baller banked in a three-point shot to send his squad into the break with a 42-37 lead. Immediately after the buzzer sounded and the shot went through, he began to jaw at the Puerto Rican fans, prompting a showering of boos (and many birds flipped in his direction).
Needless to say, he probably wasn’t invited out for arroz con gandules after the contest.
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Bell Stoked for Reunion With Ex-Teammate
Of course, Bell isn’t the only former Warrior on the US qualifying team. Quinn Cook is also on the roster and, well…to say that he didn’t have his best night would be putting it mildly. Cook scored six points in 16 minutes of play, but he was just 2-of-11 from the floor.
Nevertheless, the team probably stands to benefit from his presence as a player with NBA championship experience. And Bell was over the moon when he found out his old teammate was joining Team USA this time around.
“My boy Quinn, I saw him like maybe a week, two weeks before we came here and I didn’t know he was coming,” Bell told The Baseline’s Warren Shaw. “I just happened to run into him and he told me he was [joining the team] and I was like, ‘Yo!’ It made me a little more excited about doing it. I haven’t seen him in a while.”
Bell is an ex Warriors with a championship pedigree.
I’m sure his presence was greatly
felt by his teammates.
Leadership is what he learnt
from his days as a Warriors leading a young USA team.