Grant Hill Opens Up About Decision To Add Derrick White To Team USA

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Team USA had a spot open on its roster Wednesday after it decided to send Kawhi Leonard home as he battled through a knee injury.

There were plenty of star-studded players who could have filled that spot, including Jaylen Brown. But USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill went in a different direction and chose Brown’s Celtics teammate Derrick White instead.

Hill opened up about the decision to bring White onto the 12-player Olympic team and he felt White’s unselfish nature playing alongside stars on the Celtics made him an ideal fit to join Team USA’s highly talented squad.

“It’s bittersweet, obviously, but we’re thrilled to add Derrick White,” Hill told reporters, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I’ve been a big fan of Derrick’s, obviously. He just won a championship. One of the many things that I really love about Derrick, and particularly with his team, is I don’t feel like his role changes much with our team from what he does with the Celtics.

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“He plays alongside two incredibly great young players in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. And this setting is hard when you come in and you’re the center of your universe, and now you have to establish a role, and it might be different than what you have to do with your team. And so to have someone who can come in and play off of guys, be complementary to some others, but then also stand out and be a dynamite defensive player, knock down shots, just impact winning.”

Hill added White won’t go to Las Vegas, where Team USA is holding training camp and played in its first exhibition contest against Canada on Wednesday night, as he needed time to get things in order before departing. Instead, White is expected to be with the team Saturday for its first practice in Abu Dhabi.

White turned in the best season of his career during the 2023-24 campaign with the Celtics. The 30-year-old tallied career highs in points (15.2), assists (5.2) and rebounds (4.2) per game while shooting 39.6% from beyond the arc to help the Celtics to the NBA title. He was also named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team for the second straight season.

And after becoming an integral part of a championship team, White gets to follow that up by trying to win a gold medal.

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