Olympic champions in 2008, the USA will be gunning for gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.
Nine members of the gold-medal winning USA squad at the Olympics in China are in the new group, including Carmelo Anthony (Denver), Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams (both Utah), Chris Bosh (Toronto), Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers), Dwight Howard (Orlando), LeBron James (Cleveland), Chris Paul (New Orleans) and Dwyane Wade (Miami).
The 2004 Olympians, Lamar Odom (LA Lakers) and Amar’e Stoudemire (Phoenix), are in the group while 2008 Olympians Jason Kidd, Michael Redd and Tayshaun Prince are not included.
Among the other 16 other players who could play for Team USA at the 2010 FIBA World Championship or the 2012 Olympics is Kevin Durant. Oklahoma City’s standout forward is a near certainty to make this year’s squad for the FIBA World Championship.
Completing the list of national team players are LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland); Chauncey Billups (Denver); Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo (Both Memphis); Eric Gordon (LA Clippers); Danny Granger (Indiana); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia); Al Jefferson and Kevin Love (both Minnesota); David Lee (New York); Brook Lopez (New Jersey); Kendrick Perkins (Boston); Derrick Rose (Chicago); Gerald Wallace (Charlotte) and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City).
“Special recognition and acknowledgement needs to go to the nine players returning from our 2008 Olympic Team,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said.
“They have demonstrated that they are the heart and soul of our program and their commitment to continue to represent their country should not be overlooked.
“Just as was the case in 2006-08, the composition of the USA National Team will be fluid and by that I mean there could be additions to this group. We’ve learned to expect that you may have injuries; there may be special circumstances where players can’t perform, so you need flexibility with regards to the addition and deletion of players in the program.
“This is the group from which we will build our 2010 World Championship squad. We are taking the Worlds very seriously and know that this is the most important basketball competition in international basketball and it needs to be respected accordingly. We won gold at the 2008 Olympics because of the team we were able to assemble and build and we’ll all be hard at work to do that again, and finish on top in Turkey this summer.”
In Turkey, Team USA will face Slovenia, Brazil, Croatia, Iran and Tunisia in the Preliminary round and they will play all of their games in Istanbul.
James, Bosh and Wade will be free agents at the end of the season and will not announce if they are to play in Turkey until this summer.
USA coach Mike Krzyzewski is excited about the group of players he will choose from, a group that will no doubt the gold-medal favorites.
“I’m really excited about the players who were selected and who committed to be part of the 2010-12 USA National Team,” he said.
“I’m especially pleased that so many members of the 2006-08 team wanted and were able to return. We know from our prior experiences that continuity, team work, and player versatility are critical parts to assembling a team that will be successful.
“With these 27 players we’ve got a great mix of players who are now experienced in the international game and some of the most promising and exciting players coming up though the USA Basketball program. I know I speak for the entire coaching staff when I say we’re excited about this group of players and we’re eager to begin our preparations for the 2010 World Championship.”
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, New York Knicks boss Mike D’Antoni and Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan have remained in the coaching staff and will serve as Krzyzewski’s assistants.