U.S. basketball roster for Olympics to be released next week
DURHAM, N.C. -- Calling it "the toughest decision" facing USA Basketball since it began using professional players, U.S. Olympic team coach Mike Krzyzewski said the 12-man roster for this summer's Beijing Games will be released Monday.
Krzyzewski, Duke's Hall of Fame coach, said the roster will be announced during a news conference in Chicago.
"The pool of players that we have have all made commitments and have given time and effort," Krzyzewski said Tuesday during his annual summer news conference in Durham. "Really we have more people qualified for those 12 spots than we can take, so that's what makes it tough. There will be people we've coached, either last summer or the summer before, who will not be on this team."
Earlier this month, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said the U.S. would pick its squad without a tryout. There are more than 30 players in the national team program, but he said officials are down to about 14 names.
The deadline to submit the roster is July 1. The U.S. team will go to Las Vegas to train in mid-July and play an exhibition against Canada before opening the Beijing Games against the host Chinese on Aug. 10.
Last year, the U.S. team started Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Dwight Howard en route to an unbeaten showing in an Olympic qualifying tournament. The roster also included Amare Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams, Michael Redd, Tayshaun Prince, Tyson Chandler and Mike Miller.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Kidd received a phone call Monday to let him know he would be a part of the team going to Beijing. Colangelo would not disclose the makeup of the team but spoke highly of Kidd's credentials.
"Jason is a great candidate to be one of the 12 because he is a leader, he is the ultimate distributor at the point guard position, and he has great relationships with many of the guys who will be on this team," Colangelo said, according to the Dallas Morning News. "He's undefeated in international play in his career. If you had a ledger sheet and put down the plusses and minuses, it's pretty overwhelming on the plus side."
ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher reports that Billups has withdrawn his name for consideration for Beijing, citing personal family reasons.
"We understand the level of pressure that's involved in this and to me the pressure can be looked at in two different ways: It can inhibit you or it can excite you," Krzyzewski said of expectations to win the gold medal. "My feeling is it will excite our group. They want that pressure. The most foolish thing you can do is be arrogant and just say it's going to happen. To me, we have to show the respect of preparation to do it."
Krzyzewski said USA Basketball has talked with players to make sure they don't have any family or health issues that would prevent them from being committed to the team. He said potential choices also have been spoken to about how their roles might change, going so far as to tell some, "You may be the 12th man. You may not be a starter. Are you able to handle that?"
Their responses, he said, have typically been, "Whatever you want."
"This team has a chance to be incredibly unique," he said. "How it's been put together has shown a tremendous amount of respect for worldwide basketball. We've said, 'It's the world's game, not the U.S.'s game.'"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.