Sunday, May 27, 2007

Kevin Durant and Greg Oden to be on USA Basketball squad

This is a story which I feel has been overlooked this past week, but is quite significant. On Wednesday, the NBA announced that eight more players be added to the USA Basketball team, which include Kevin Durant and Greg Oden. These two collegiate superstars will most likely go number one and two in the 2007 NBA draft and should add a significant boost to a USA team that has not performed up to par (winning every tournament they enter) the last several years. In addition, Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz); Tyson Chandler (New Orleans Hornets); Kevin Durant (University of Texas); Jason Kidd (New Jersey Nets); Mike Miller (Memphis Grizzlies); Greg Oden (Ohio State University); Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons); and Deron Williams (Utah Jazz) will all have a spot to the Senior National Team roster.

Players that will not be able to be on the team this summer because of injury (a reason for all of the additions) include: Gilbert Arenas (Washington Wizards); Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks); Brad Miller (Sacramento Kings); Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers); Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets); Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) and Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat).

Mike Krzyzewski (of Duke Univ.) is leading the USA Senior Team for 2006-2008, while Syracuse University (N.Y.) and Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Phoenix Suns head mentor Mike D’Antoni and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan will serve as assistant coaches.

Krzyzewski Said,
"As I said when we announced the first group of players for the Senior National Team, we’re not trying to put a collection of all-stars together but our goal is to put together as good of a basketball team as we possibly can. With the addition of these nine players, I believe we’ve strengthen our program in several areas, especially rebounding, defense and shooting."

According to USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo,
"One of the reasons for forming and selecting a national team is so you have flexibility. It takes into account the fact that you may have injuries, there may be special circumstances where a player can’t perform, but yet you have other players to pull from. After the recent meeting our coaches had in Phoenix, we decided to add a couple of bigs, in particular for their rebounding and shot blocking abilities. We also decided to add some leadership in the back court and some shooters. We also recognized several players who had outstanding seasons and who we felt were deserving of this opportunity. "Greg Oden and Kevin Durant represent the class of this season’s college ranks and are certainly players we have great interest in, both for the present and for future USA Basketball teams."

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