Team USA eyes title in Turkey in 2010
A look at what is ahead over the next four summers for USA Basketball:
The only USA Basketball men who will be venturing across the globe are the players on the under-19 team, which will play for the world title in New Zealand, and the USA scouting staff, who will trek to Poland for EuroBasket. The senior team, having already qualified for the 2010 world championship, declined an invitation to compete in the Tournament of the Americas. Al Horford, who played for the U.S. Select Team in '08, is expected to compete for the Dominican Republic (as he did last summer, making him permanently ineligible to represent Team USA).
2010: FIBA World Championship, Turkey. FIBA issued a somewhat tersely worded press release last week lamenting the lack of progress the Turkish organizing committee had been making toward construction of new venues. The city of Antalya appears to be on the verge of losing its status as one of the sites for preliminary-round games, though work in Ankara and Istanbul is not as far behind schedule.
A Turkey Tale: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony were in Istanbul in 2004 when a bomb exploded at a nearby hotel. Word has it that James was the most spooked of the three. Turkey Tale II: One night, when a waiter asked one of the coaches why he wasn't dining with his players, the coach explained that the players were back in their hotel rooms playing video games.
If the United States fails to win the world championship, it will have to qualify for the London Olympics at the Tournament of the Americas as it did in 2007 to qualify for Beijing.
It is too early to predict where the tournament might be held. The Venezuelans are still steaming that the tourney was taken away from them and given to Las Vegas in 2007, and the Puerto Ricans showed considerable clout in getting both the 1999 and 2003 tournaments placed in San Juan. If they let Marc Stein choose, we like Vancouver's chances.
2012: Olympics, London.
Despite what Jerry Colangelo says and feels, in the minds of the American public, this -- not Turkey -- is where the Redeem Team will defend what it won in Beijing. How big a motivating factor is the notion of defending?
"That's a huge consideration for me. The allure is to defend," said Mike Krzyzewski, who says he is undecided on whether he'll remain as head coach of the national team. One thing is certain: The competition will be tougher than it will be in 2010, as just 12 teams go to the Olympics, while 24 compete in the world championship.
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider. To e-mail Sheridan, click here.
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