Going For Gold

Hoop dreams: USA name preliminary Olympic squad

USA Basketball have named a 20 man squad which they hope can bring them gold this summer

THE USA HAVE never left an Olympic basketball competition without a medal and anything less than gold is regarded as a failure. So, you could say there is a bit of pressure on the 20 guys that have been short-listed for this summer’s ‘dream team’.

Naturally, global superstars like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are included in the squad which will be whittled down to 12 by the time they touch down in London in July.

Eight of the group have already a gold medal to their name after success in 2008 while the LA Clippers’ Rookie of the Year, Blake Griffin, is one who will be hoping current form rather than fame can force his inclusion.

The team will be coached by Duke Uniiversity’s, Mike Krzyzewski who has lost just once in 49 games as coach of the national team. Krzyzewski has already had to trim his roster from 35 and USA Basketball chairman, Jerry Colangelo has promised the next cut will be assessed in the latter stages of the NBA championship, which belatedly began on Christmas Day.

“Reducing to the official roster limit of 12 players will be an even tougher decision,” Colangelo told, “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.”

Krzyzewski was keen to thank every player, especially the 15 who were just dropped, for their commitment and boasted of his current set of players:

“Aside from the obvious special basketball talents that all of these players possess, what struck me most about the finalists was their commitment to USA Basketball and the international basketball experience they have compiled.”

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In 16 Olympic outings, the USA basketball team has failed to win gold on just three occasions. That includes 2004; when a team containing (currnet squad members) Wade, James and Carmelo Anthoney were shocked in the semi-finals by Argentina who went on to claim gold, the USA beat Lithuania to win bronze.

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