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Jeff Van Gundy

Former NBA Head Coach Jeff Van Gundy Named USA Head Coach For AmeriCup 2017 And World Cup Qualifying Teams

  • Date:
    Jul 5, 2017

Former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy has been selected head coach of the USA Basketball men’s national teams that will compete in the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 (formerly known as the FIBA Americas Championship) and the FIBA World Cup Qualifying games. Additionally, current NBA G League Northern Arizona Suns head mentor Ty Ellis and veteran international coach Mo McHone were named assistant coaches for the USA AmericCup Team.

“USA Basketball is excited and appreciative that coach Van Gundy is willing to undertake this challenge and help lead the United States in these competitions,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball Men’s National Team managing director. “Qualifying for the 2019 FIBA World Cup is the first step in our attempt to repeat as gold medalist, and we’re delighted that we were able to secure a coach of Jeff’s caliber to lead these USA teams.” 

Van Gundy will lead USA teams at the August 25-Sept. 3 FIBA AmeriCup 2017 and in the first four windows between November 2017 and September 2018 of the FIBA World Cup Qualifying games.

USA assistant coaches for the World Cup Qualifying games will be announced at a later date.

Players selected to represent the USA in the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 and the World Cup Qualifying games are expected to primarily be from the NBA G League.

“I'm absolutely honored and humbled to be able to represent my country and USA Basketball in this summer's AmeriCup and the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers,” said Van Gundy. “I have a lot to learn about FIBA basketball and our competition and I can't wait to get started. I want to thank Jerry Colangelo, Gregg Popovich and ESPN for allowing me this opportunity.”

Van Gundy boasts of 18 seasons of NBA coaching experience, including 11 seasons as head coach of the New York Knicks (1996–2001) and Houston Rockets (2003–07).  As an NBA head coach, he compiled an overall record of 430-318 (.575 winning percentage) and guided teams to nine NBA playoff appearances and one NBA Finals in 1999.

He also spent six-and-a-half seasons (1989-90 through 1995-96) as a New York Knicks assistant and during that span, the Knicks won three Atlantic Division titles, never finished lower than third in the division and qualified for the NBA playoffs every year. Van Gundy joined ESPN in 2007 as an NBA analyst and has called 11 NBA Finals, the most Finals ever for a TV game analyst.

“I want to thank my wife and family for their support, and everyone involved for this wonderful opportunity,” said Ellis. “I feel truly blessed and honored to be a part of USA Basketball. Since the 1992 Dream Team, it has been my lifelong dream to be a part of USA Basketball and now, that dream has come true.  I'm extremely fortunate to have an opportunity to learn from Coach Van Gundy and Coach Mo. I had a chance to experience Coach Van Gundy's coaching early in my playing career and I always admired his knowledge, honesty, and attention to detail.  Now I have a chance to be his assistant coach and be a part of USA Basketball.  I'm living the dream!”

            An NBA G League coaching veteran, Ellis brings experience not only as a coach at the professional level, but as a player. Currently the head coach of the Northern Arizona Sun, the Phoenix Suns NBA G League affiliate, Ellis served as an assistant coach with the Tulsa 66ers, Reno Bighorns, Grand Rapids Drive and the Bakersfield Jam. Playing four seasons collegiately at NAIA Southern Nazarene University, Ellis played professional basketball for the Huntsville Flight and played in Germany, Turkey, Italy and Spain. He also had Summer League stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.

            “I am extremely happy and honored to be representing USA Basketball again and also to be working for one of the most successful coaches of all time in Jeff Van Gundy along with an up and coming young coach in Ty Ellis makes it that much more exciting. I am sure these G-League players will represent the USA honorably,” said McHone.

 McHone boasts of professional coaching experience in the NBA, NBA G League, Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and internationally in South Korea. He also served as head coach of three USA Basketball teams that compiled a 16-8 overall record and won gold at the 1997 Tournament of the Americas, silver at the 1999 Pan American Games and finished fourth at the 2005 FIBA America Championship to earn the USA a qualifying berth into the 2006 FIBA World Championship.

McHone won back-to-back CBA championships with different teams, leading the Yakima Sun Kings in 1995 and the Sioux Falls Skyforce in 1996 to CBA titles. All told, he boasts of 11 years of experience in the G League and CBA. He also served as head coach with the San Antonio Spurs for 31 games (11-20) in 1983-84 and spent nine seasons as an assistant coach for San Antonio, Cleveland, Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit, and served in various positions with professional teams in South Korea for 13 years, winning a championship while with the Samsung Thunders.

FIBA AmeriCup 2017

The FIBA AmeriCup 2017 will feature 12 nations from North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America.

The USA men were drawn into preliminary round Group C and will play August 28-30 in Montevideo, Uruguay. Also in Group C are host Uruguay, as well as Dominican Republic and Panama.

Group A will play August 25-27 in Medellín, Colombia, and includes the host country Colombia, as well as Brazil, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Group B, the AmeriCup’s third and final preliminary round group, will compete August 27-29 in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, and will consist of host country Argentina, as well as Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela.

The AmeriCup preliminary round group play will see each team play a round-robin format versus the other three nations in their group. Final-round host Argentina and the top finishing teams from Group A, Group B and Group C will advance to the semifinals. Semifinals and finals action will be played Sept. 2-3 in Córdoba, Argentina (the full FIBA AmeriCup 2017 schedule is available at

2017-18 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

            Featuring 16 national teams from North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, the FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament for the Americas zone features four preliminary round groups, each group consists of four teams.

The USA was drawn into Group C, and is joined by Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Group A consists of Argentina, Paraguay, Panama and Uruguay; Group B is made up by Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and one team to be announced; Group D consist of Canada, Bahamas, Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands. 

            Under FIBA’s new competition format, the next FIBA Basketball World Cup will be played in 2019 and then held every four years. A total of 80 national teams from FIBA’s four regions of Africa, Americas, Asia (which now includes Oceania) and Europe will compete in the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers over 15 months looking to earn a qualifying berth in the 32-team FIBA World Cup competition that will be held 
Aug. 31-Sept. 15 in China. The 32 qualifying teams will be divided into eight preliminary groups consisting of four teams each. All told, 92 World Cup games will be played over 16 days.

FIBA’s new competition and qualifying system starts in November 2017 and under the new qualifying process, national teams in each FIBA zone were drawn into four-team preliminary round groups and will play home and away games within their zone to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and the FIBA Continental Cups 2021.

Two games per window will be played and a total of six windows will be held to qualify teams for the 2019 World Cup. Each competition window is nine days and features two games for each team. The first-round competition windows dates are: Nov, 20-28, 2017; Feb. 19-27, 2018; and June 25-July 3, 2018; while the second-round dates are set for August 30-Sept. 8, 2018; Nov. 26-Dec. 4, 2018; and Feb. 18-26, 2019. 

Each FIBA zone will qualify a set number of teams for the 2019 World Cup based on their finish in the qualifiers. The top five finishing teams in Africa; the top seven placing teams in the Americas, the top seven finishing teams plus host China in the Asia zone; and the top 12 finishing teams from Europe will qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

The United States is scheduled to open play facing Puerto Rico in Puerto Rico on Nov. 23, 2017, and the USA will host Mexico on Nov. 26, 2017.  The second preliminary round window features the USA playing home games against Cuba on Feb. 23, 2018, and versus Puerto Rico on Feb. 26, 2018.  The third and final preliminary round window sees the USA play on the road versus Mexico on June 28, 2018, and against Cuba on July 1, 2018 (the full Americas World Cup Qualifying schedule is available at

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