U.S. trims final roster to 12

"We feel that it's better to go with 12 because that's really difficult on anybody if they're not going to be on the team to travel that far," Krzyzewski said.

ESPN.com subsequently reported that Utah's Hayward was the first of the four players released to learn his fate. Sources say Hayward found out Friday morning after asking team officials directly before the Puerto Rico game, since it had become apparent that he had fallen behind others in Team USA's wing rotation.

Lillard, DeRozan and Drummond, like Hayward, didn't play a single second against Puerto Rico. But Krzyzewski and Colangelo apparently had already decided that DeRozan and Drummond, two standouts in Wednesday night's victory over the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden, had shown enough to secure spots.

Any doubts about Rose's participation were squelched by Krzyzewski in his postgame news conference.

While acknowledging that "we need to see how Derrick reacts [physically]" after his 13-minute stint off the bench behind new starter Irving, Krzyzewski capped a week of coast-to-coast fretting about the court time Rose missed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday by declaring that "I feel very confident about Derrick."

"I think Derrick feels very confident," Krzyzewski added. "And these guys want to play with him. That's part of getting back ... to be around a group of your peers."

Krzyzewski contends that serving as a role player for Team USA, as opposed to waiting until Bulls training camp in October to aggressively launch his comeback after two serious knee injuries, is going to be a "huge, huge help for him."

Final 12-man rosters for the World Cup aren't due until Aug. 29 -- the eve of the tournament's opening day -- but bringing only 12 players overseas should tone down some of the drama that has enveloped this group throughout a chaotic two months in which Durant, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and Russell Westbrook withdrew from participation before George suffered a catastrophic compound leg fracture Aug. 1 in an intrasquad scrimmage.

Losing all those big names, Krzyzewski said, has forced Team USA to "develop a new chemistry" in short order. It's a process that will continue throughout each of the Americans' five games in pool play in Group C, given the group's lack of collective international experience.

Gay had a minor role on the 2010 world championship-winning squad but didn't join this team until mid-August as Durant's 11th-hour replacement. Yet he forced his way into the chosen dozen anyway, like DeRozan and Drummond.

"Rudy keeps getting better," Krzyzewski said.

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