Following six days of training in Las Vegas, Nev., USA Basketball announced its official 12-man roster that will represent the United States in the Aug. 22-Sept. 2 FIBA Americas Championship 2007.
Named to the USA Basketball Senior National Team were Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets); Chauncey Billups (Detroit Pistons); Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers); Tyson Chandler (New Orleans Hornets); Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic); LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers); Jason Kidd (New Jersey Nets); Mike Miller (Memphis Grizzlies); Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons); Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks); Amaré Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns); and Deron Williams (Utah Jazz).
Duke University Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski is head coach of the USA Senior Team program. Serving as assistant coaches are Syracuse University and Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Phoenix Suns head mentor Mike D’Antoni and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.
“This is an extremely difficult decision because you have 14 guys worthy of being on the team. Someone says you have to have 12 and you try and figure out who the best 12 would be. With Kevin (Durant), one year in college and 18 years old, he’s made giant progress and he’s going to be one of the faces of the NBA and USA Basketball who will be considered next year because 10 months from now he’s only going to get better. Nick (Collison) wasn’t involved from the very beginning so to be this close to making it after being here for about a week shows what a tremendous job he did. This was an extremely difficult decision because for both kids you can make a case for either one.
“We’re pleased with the team we have and the thing that makes it difficult is people are playing well. We do have some shooters, so who do you not select? We do have depth at point guard and the physicality of the guard positions hurt us so we tried to respond to that. That’s a couple of the reasons why we selected the people we did,” said Kyzyzewski.
“It sounds trite to say it was a tough decision but in all reality it was that and more because all 14 were deserving of being on this roster and unfortunately we didn’t have that luxury, we had to go down to 12,” said USA Senior National Team managing director Jerry Colangelo. “The two that were not selected were really not selected to be with us the next couple of weeks and that’s the extent of it because they’re a part of our team and our team effort.”
“We were a very young team last summer in the World Championship and it was because of injuries to players and some others who were not available and couldn’t participate so we’re much more of a veteran team and I think maturity means a lot in international play. Because of that leadership we’ll have with that maturity I think we’ll have a much better opportunity this go around.” said Colangelo.
The USA team at last summer’s 2006 FIBA World Championship averaged 24.50 years of age. This time around, the USA team, by the end of the tournament, will average 26.16.
“The experience of the team helps us, there’s no question,” stated Krzyzewski. “The good teams we play against are not only older individually, they’re older collectively. They’ve grown old together so maybe we can make up for some of that with the selections that we made.
“We’re healthy, we have great attitudes, and were anxious to play. We’d like to have more in and have more continuity with the team, but where we’re at (now) is a really good spot,” added Krzyzewski.