2004 Olympic Basketball Team Capsules
Brief capsules on each basketball team the USA is up against
in the 2004 Olympics:
How each Basketball Team Qualified for 2004 Olympics:
Angola: Won African Championships
Argentina: 2nd in Americas Championships
Australia: Won Oceania Championships
China: Won Asian Championships
Greece: Host country
Italy: 3rd in European Championships
Lithuania: Won European Championships
New Zealand: 2nd in Oceania Championships
Puerto Rico: 3rd in Americas Championships
Serbia & Montenegro: Won 2002 World Championships
Spain: 2nd in European
USA: Won Americas
Considered a legit Gold contender. It was Argentina who in the 2002 FIBA World
Championship gave the U.S. team their first loss. And last summer Argentina finished
second to the U.S. in the Americas Olympic Qualifying tournament. Argentina is
led by coach Ruben Magnano, San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, former NBA
center Ruben Wolkowyski (6-10), Andres Nocioni (6-7, just signed with Chicago
Bulls, he's a three-point threat), Fabricio Oberto (6-7), Luis Scola (6-9 San
Antonio Spurs draftee, plays in paint), Pepe Sanchez (former Detroit Pistons point
guard, went to Temple University), Leandro Palladino (three-point threat) and
Alejandro Montecchia (three-point threat).
Angola qualified for for the 2004 Olympics by winning the African Championship
(they dominated, in fact). They have won seven of the last eight African basketball
championships. Angola has Miguel Lutonda (guard with three-point range), Jean-Jacues
(also shoots well), Edmar Victoriano (hits the boards), Antonio Carvalho (scores
from anywhere, three-point threat), Carlos Almeida (also a three-point threat).
Angola's one Olympic problem is that the entire team is short.
Australia qualified for the 2004 Olympics by winning the 2003 Oceania title. Australia
has Shane Heal (guard with great range who got in Charles Barkley's face years
ago, played with Spurs and Timberwolves), Chris Anstey (big-man with NBA experience),
Tom Ronaldson (forward from Arizona State University with three-point range),
Matthew Nielson (big forward who also scores) and Sam Mackinnon.
China qualified for the 2004 Olympics by winning the Asian championship. China
has Houston Rockets star Yao Ming, former NBA center Mengke Bateer (big and muscular)
and NBA center Wang Zhizhi (skinny with shooting range), plus Li Nan (small forward
with three-point range) and Hu Weidong (swingman with three-point range).
Greece automatically qualified for 2004 Olympic basketball competition because
they're the host country. In the 2003 European championship, Greece finished fifty.
Dimosthenis Nikoudis is a forward who can score and shoot from anywhere, Nikolaos
Chatzivrettas is a guard with range, NBA center Jake Tsakalidis can put in some
shots and take up space, Antoniois Fotsis is a 6-8 forward who scores and rebounds.
Italy qualified for the 2004 Olympics by finishing third in the 2003 European
championship. Italy counts on a total team effort for their offense. Guards Massimo
Bulleri and Gianluca Basile both have range. Center Giacomo Galanda scores and
rebounds. The team's attack is balanced with lots of players contributing.
Lithuania qualified for the 2004 Olympics by dominating the 2003 European Championship,
coming in first. Lithuania almost beat Team USA in the 2000 Olympics, as a missed
three-pointer in the final seconds would have won the game. Basketball legend
Arvydas Sabonis isn't playing, and NBA Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas
isn't either. Guard Arvydas Macijauskas scores like crazy and has unlimited range.
Small forward Ramunas Siskauskas also puts in points and hits the boards. Guard
Sarunas Jasikevicius scores, dishes and hits threes. Saulius Stombergas does the
same. NBA Sacramento Kings center Darius Songaila scores inside and hits the boards.
Small forward Phil Jones scores in a big way, from inside and out. Shooting guard
Kirk Penny (University of Wisconsin) does the same. Forward Pero Cameron goes
inside. NBA center Sean Marks operates down low and is a force on the glass. Guard
Mark Dickel is a great passer.
Puerto Rico qualified for the 2004 Olympics by finishing third in the 2003 Americas
Olympic Qualifying tournament. Utah Jazz point guard Carlos Arroyo, quick as anyone,
steps it up when it counts. International legend Jose Ortiz, who is 40 years old,
still does his thing close to the basket. Milwaukee Bucks center Daniel Santiago
also operates inside. Guard Elias Ayuso scores and has range. Another outside
shooter is guard Eddie Casiano.
SERBIA & MONTENEGRO
Serbia & Montenegro (former Yugoslavia) is the defending world champion. They
won the 2002 world championship, qualifying them for the 2004 Olympics. Vlade
Divac isn't playing. Peja Stojakovic is also taking these Olympics off. NBA center
Predrag Drobnjak (who sometimes has problems with the team's coach) and NBA forward
Vladimir Radmanovic both score, rebound and pass. Forward Dejan Bodiroga scores
and rebounds. Forward Milan Gurovic adds three-point range. NBA guard Marko Jaric
dishes the rock while scoring inside and out. Milos Vujanic (Knicks draftee in
2002) also scores with range. NBA center Zarko Cabarkapa contributes. Darko Milicic,
contrary to what some NBA fans think, can play. NBA small forward Aleksander Pavlovic
is a shooter. Giant telephone pole Slavko Vranes was briefly a Knick and still
trying to make an NBA career happen.
Spain was runner-up at the 2003 European Championship. NBA star Pau Gasol scores
like crazy and hits the boards as best he can. NBA guard Raul Lopez is quick,
scores and passes. Guard Juan Carlos Navarro (drafted by Washington Wizards in
2002) has nice three-point range. Guard Carlos Marco causes havok with quickness
and outside shooting. Inside, Spain has Jorge Garbajosa, Alfonso Reyes and Carlos