Donovan Mitchell’s best game of the 2019 FIBA World Cup was stained with a painful 89-79 quarterfinal loss to France on Wednesday night, putting Team USA off the medal stand for the first time in 17 years. While many would argue that the Americans weren’t at their full strength, Mitchell won’t bother looking back at what ifs, considering the sheer number of invitations that USA Basketball brought forth prior to this six-week international campaign.
“If they didn’t come here, that’s on them,” said Mitchell, according to Aris Barkas of Eurohoops. “On top of that guys, there are also those who didn’t make it they that want to compete too. I know how I feel and I know how those guys feel. Why don’t you focus on the ones who do that?
“Our seasons have ended and we came right here for work with coach Pop and for all these other coaches. For us, it’s not about who is not here. We have 12 guys that wanted to compete for American, just like every other country.”
Some quickly pivoted to how USA Basketball will once again enter a state of emergency as it did after the 2004 Athens Olympics, where the U.S. mustered a bronze medal. Yet Mitchell notes that the 12 players in this Team USA roster did it for their own satisfaction.
“It sucks that some in our country some people don’t feel that way about us but we don’t care,” said Mitchell. “We wanted to compete and we did.”
Mitchell’s 29 points paced Team USA, scoring 14 of them in the fourth quarter, however the Americans ran out of steam late in the fourth, failing to answer some vital scoring runs that earned the French a pass to the semifinals.