Quick hits from USA Men’s Basketball press conference
By Brandon Pope | BSU at the Games
The roster deadline
USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo confirmed the final 12-man roster for USA Men’s Basketball will be named on July 7, a day after the National Team holds its training camp in Las Vegas, Nev. The United States Olympic Committee extended the deadline after injuries eliminated four finalists from consideration.
“We know exactly where we want to be,” Colangelo said. “But we need to take inventory of what status our players have.”
Anthony Davis and James Harden added to Olympic roster
Colangelo confirmed the additions of University of Kentucky forward Anthony Davis and Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden to the 2012 Olympic Finalists roster. Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski thinks if Davis makes the cut he will bring a defensive presence to the team.
“Davis is a very unique player,” Krzyzewski said. “He can help us defensively because of his shot-blocking ability. He doesn’t need the ball. We want someone who can run, and he’s an outstanding athlete.”
Davis’ promotion to the team is a bit controversial. The NCAA National Champion athlete has yet to play a game as a professional. He is projected to be taken No.1 overall in this year’s NBA Draft.
When asked about a potential new rule that would set a 23-and-under age limit for Olympic basketball competition after London, Colangelo dodged the question.
“There’s a time and place for that discussion,” Colangelo said.
If the rule were in effect now, it wouldn’t just be Davis who would miss the cut. Of the 18 remaining men’s basketball finalists, only seven would qualify.
“The big guys”
Coach K said the biggest concern for Team USA in the 2012 Olympic Games would be “the big guys”.
“We’re not deep in that part of the pool,” Krzyzewski said.
The Americans will be thin inside with Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum missing the Games.
Howard had season-ending surgery on his back and won’t be ready for London. Bynum won’t be making the trip either, opting to have off-season knee surgery in Germany. It’s the same knee surgery his Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant had last summer.
Team USA’s lack of a post presence could be exposed against Spain. The Spaniards are loaded inside with Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers and Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka will play a dynamic role off the bench.
“Spain would be a concern whether we had all of our big men,” Krzyzewski said. “But there are a lot of ways to play the game, and what we did in 2008 and ’10 is try to personalize what we do for the group we have. Hopefully, our personalization is better than theirs.”
Brandon Pope is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering fencing, volleyball and basketball for BSU at the Games. Follow Brandon and the BSU team at @bpopeizdope, @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.
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