Basketball: Tall Blacks to square off with heavyweights United States at FIBA World Cup

Tall Blacks.
Tall Blacks. Photo credit: Photosport

The Tall Blacks will take on heavyweights United States at the upcoming FIBA World Cup.

In the official tournament draw, New Zealanders were placed in Group C - a tough pool that includes former NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo's Greece and Jordan.

Their matches will take place in the Philippines capital of Manila, with other groups spread between Okinawa, Japan and Jakarta, Indonesia. The competition begins on August 25.

New Zealand have played the Americans twice at World Cups - crushed by 48 points during their famous 2002 campaign at Indiana and going down by 27 in Spain in 2014.

The US team won't be named until after June's NBA Finals, but will undoubtedly be stacked to the brim with NBA stars, making for a mouthwatering prospect for Kiwi basketball fans.

They're currently ranked No.2 in the world, behind defending champions Spain. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr will guide the team for the first time, taking the reins from Gregg Popovich.

"Jordan is a familiar foe for us [from World Cup Qualifier play], while USA is arguably the most talented team in the world and Greece is led by possibly the best player in the world in Giannis," said Basketball NZ chief executive Dillon Boucher.

"We know we've got our work cut out for us, but we accept and embrace the challenge.

"As a player, you always want to be challenged by the best teams, and we know Greece and USA especially will give us that test in the first round.

"Manila is a fantastic base to play from, with passionate fans and a great arena, so the atmosphere is going to be incredible."

Coach Pero Cameron will finalise his squad of 12 players over the next couple of months, with a full schedule expected shortly.