US men's basketball sent to Uruguay for AmeriCup tournament

The U.S. men's basketball team will begin the lengthy road to the 2020 Olympics when it opens FIBA AmeriCup 2017 preliminary-round play in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The Americans were drawn into Group C on Thursday along with group host Uruguay, Panama and the Dominican Republic. The semifinals and finals of the 12-team tournament for teams in the Americas will be held Sept. 2-3 in Córdoba, Argentina.

The U.S. will likely send a team of NBA Development League players as it competes in the former FIBA Americas tournament for the first time since 2007. The tournament used to serve as a qualifier for the Olympics and world championships, and the Americans hadn't needed to go through qualifying since then.

But FIBA, basketball's governing body, has revamped its qualification system beginning this year. The 2019 Basketball World Cup in China will qualify teams for the 2020 Tokyo Games, and the Americans are required to play in the regional tournament in order to be eligible for those.