USA Basketball Announces 20 Finalists for 2012 U.S. Olympic Men's Team

January 16, 2012

Eight 2008 Olympic gold medalists and ten 2010 World Championship gold medalists were among the 20 finalists named today for the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team by USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo.

The 20 finalists are:
LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers)
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Chauncey Billups (Los Angeles Clippers)
Chris Bosh (Miami Heat)
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks)
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies)
Eric Gordon (New Orleans Hornets)
Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)
Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic)
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)
LeBron James (Miami Heat)
Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Lamar Odom (Dallas Mavericks)
Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Deron Williams (New Jersey Nets)

Griffin was also officially added to the USA Basketball National Team roster.

The 2012 USA coaching staff will be led by Duke University's Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. His assistants will be Syracuse University's Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, New York Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni, and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.

"The USA Basketball Men's National Team program has come a long way as the elite list of players who are now part of our program shows. The selected finalists are a very, very talented group; the depth of the talent is extraordinary. This selection decision was as difficult of a challenge as I've faced since I took on the USA National Team program in 2005," said Colangelo, who has served as the managing director of the USA Men's National Team since 2005.

"I feel like we have an outstanding blend of talents from the 2008 Olympic and 2010 World Championship teams that won gold. Reducing to the official roster limit of 12 players will be an even tougher decision, but we'll evaluate how guys play during the 2011-12 NBA season and as we've done with our teams in the past, we'll attempt to select the very best team we can."

Noticeably absent from the finalists were Stephen Curry and Danny Granger, with Curry being the bigger surprise of the two due to his outstanding outside shooting.  Granger's absence was expected given that he was used sparingly by coach K at the previous FIBA World Championships.

One area where cuts might be expected would be at point guard, where five of the finalists will be competing for perhaps three spots.  Still, Colangelo could get creative and keep more than expected, since Westbrook, Billups, and Deron Williams all have the size and versatility to also defend opposing 2's at times.

The addition of Aldridge and Griffin, the two "new" players in the program (Aldridge technically played for the select team in the past), shows that perhaps USA Basketball might be looking to add more size and rebounding to the roster.

In a media teleconference call today, I asked coach K specifically if the team might emphasize more size on its roster this time, departing from the previous practice of going small and playing certain players outside their natural position.

Krzyzewski indicated that the team would consider such a move, and elaborated on the international game.

"The international game is a little bit different, and one thing is there are more continuity offenses, much more so than the NBA where isolations -- there's more continuities," said Krzyzewski. "So versatility on defense is essential. Like in the 2008 Olympics, Bosh did an amazing job at the center position."

"However, things change. The lane has changed. I think that's the most important thing to consider. There's no longer the trapezoid; it's the NBA lane. So there may be more low-post play than there has been in the past for international competition."

Colangelo indicated that the roster would be reduced down to the final 12 players by June 18, with practices expected to commence on July 6, 2012.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for The Daily Sports Herald

1 comment:

  1. I want to see all three Clippers on the team!


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