By Angie Wiatrowski
After four days of training and an intra-squad exhibition game in Las Vegas, Nev., USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo announced July 28 the 15 players selected as finalists for the 2010 USA World Championship Team.
The 15 finalists will reassemble Aug. 9 in New York City and train there Aug. 10-16. The finalists named were Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets); Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers); Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers); Jeff Green (Oklahoma City Thunder); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers); Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).
“We had an outstanding week of training camp in Las Vegas and it is apparent we have a group of guys that are very focused, committed, and desirous of playing for USA Basketball,” said Colangelo. “The identity of the team is still evolving, but it is pretty obvious we’re going to be very athletic; we’re going to be very strong in the back court; we think our shooting ability is underestimated, we think we’ve got a number of people who can shoot the ball; and so we’re pleased with our progress to date.”
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The 2010-12 USA National Team is led by Duke University’s Hall of Fame coach Mike Kryzewski along with USA assistant coaches Syracuse University’s Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, New York Knicks head mentor Mike D’Antoni and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.
Kryzewski expressed his excitement and confidence in the finalists.
“We’re really pleased with the week we had in Vegas. There’s such a great spirit to be on the team and to bring these 15 players to New York, they’ve all earned the opportunity to be there,” he sad. “We have an unconventional team that we’re forming, but it’s still one that is built with great spirit, athleticism, and a little bit more guard oriented than most U.S. teams have been.
“I like their attitude. They all want to be on the USA team. They want to learn and they’re willing to sacrifice for what’s best for the whole. There’s a great, great spirit of cooperation, an unbelievable spirit of cooperation.”
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The 15 finalists will gather Aug. 9 in New York City and train there Aug. 10-16. The official 12-man roster must be submitted to the International Basketball Federation at a technical meeting, which is normally held the day before the beginning of the competition.
Following a short break, the selected finalists will resume training in New York City and take part in the first-ever World Basketball Festival, a four-day celebration of the game’s performance and culture hosted by NIKE, Inc. and USA Basketball in New York City. The festival begins Aug. 12 in Radio City Music Hall with a special showcase featuring the USA Basketball World Championship team finalists and will move to Harlem’s legendary Rucker Park basketball courts Aug. 13 and 14.
The festival concludes Aug. 15 when USA takes on France at Madison Square Garden.
“We have much more to do in New York and in our upcoming exhibition games as we proceed toward Turkey,” said Colangelo. “But we’re excited and enthusiastic about our chances.”