On Monday, Jan. 15, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and men’s senior national team coach Mike Krzyzewski announced the finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball team. The totally stacked roster includes 18 superstars who played on gold medal winning teams at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the FIBA World Championships in Turkey in 2010—plus the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and the Portland Trailblazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge.
This is arguably the most talented U.S. Olympic basketball team since 1992’s “Dream Team.” Colangelo’s and Krzyzewski’s toughest job will be to pare the roster down to the final 12.
Here are the 20 finalists:
Forwards — New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, Miami Heat’s LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant, Memphis Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay, Philadelphia 76ers’ Andre Iguodala, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love, Dallas Mavericks’ Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Portland Trailblazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge
Guards — Clippers’ Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, New Orleans Hornets’ Eric Gordon, Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, Heat’s Dwyane Wade, Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and New Jersey Nets’ Deron Williams
Centers — Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard and Knicks’ Tyson Chandler
The team will be loaded with international experience, something that had been missing before Colangelo took over the program in 2005, a year after the USA’s disappointing bronze medal performance at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Anthony leads the team with 59 international games, followed by James (55), Williams (47), Wade (40), Howard (38), Paul (37), Bosh (32) and Billups (30).
“It’s really a key to being successful,” Colangelo said of the players’ international experience. Griffin and Aldridge lack such experience, but Colangelo likes both players, especially given the team’s depth at guard and on the perimeter—and USA needs the size.
Training camp will begin in Las Vegas in early July, and the London Games run from July 27 through Aug. 12. Team USA will play a game on the East Coast, probably in Washington, D.C., before leaving for Europe, where it will play pre-Olympic games in Manchester, England and Spain.
Source: USA Today