Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been a wild couple of seasons in the NBA for former Vanderbilt hoop star Darius Garland. The current Cleveland Cavaliers guard dealt with injuries as a rookie, but even with this past year having it’s ups and downs, he finished with a career high in points (17.4) and received three votes for the NBA’s most improved player award.
Just this week, it was announced that Garland is one of 17 players named to the 2021 USA Basketball Select Team, that will train with the USA Men’s National Team during it’s Las Vegas training camp. As a member of the team he’ll scrimmage against Team USA, helping them prepare for the Olympic games in Tokyo.
News 2’s Kayla Anderson caught up with the former Brentwood Academy standout, who explained what the moment was like when he received the call from Cavaliers’ general manager Koby Altman.
“I literally just got home and our GM called me and said I’d been named to the USA Select Team. I ran in the room and told my brother, we all got hyped, we started jumping around and dancing. I called my parents and told them the news and they were excited too,” said Garland.
Garland has his bags packed and will leave for Las Vegas on Monday, participating in the training camp from July 6-9. And he is no stranger to Team USA Basketball events. Garland previously took part on the USA Junior National Select Team that participated in the Nike Hoop Summit in 2018, and this opportunity is even more special.
“The days are going to be long, with hard practices and great matchups. There are a lot of guys there that I look up to, and so I think it will be a good couple of days,” said Garland. “Just having USA across your chest it just means the world because you’re representing your country.”
And Garland isn’t the only Commodore on this year’s USA Select Team, John Jenkins, who donned the Black & Gold from 2009-2012, will also be in Vegas next week.
“It’s cool having two Commodores on the same USA Team. It’s cool putting Vandy on our back like that. Vanderbilt doesn’t always get attention like that because we’re such an academic school but we’re showing we have athletics here too,” said Garland.
While he won’t be playing in the Olympics coming up at the end of July, Garland is now in the Team USA pipeline, and could land on the roster in the near future.
“Next four years, hopefully I can make the Olympics. I’m just going to keep work,” said Garland.