Posts Tagged ‘London 2012’

U.S. Team Getting Aggressive In Preparation For 2012 Olympics




ORLANDO – The U.S. Men’s Senior National Team won’t be taking any easy route to London this summer to defend their Olympic gold medal.

Their training camp and five-game exhibition schedule, announced here Friday morning, includes games against Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Great Britain and Spain, and training camps in four cities in a 15,000-mile global grind. It will be the most rigorous process they have undertaken since Jerry Colangelo took over the top job seven years ago. And that’s exactly the way Colangelo said he and coach Mike Kzryzewski wanted it.

“There was a time when I inherited the program, I learned a lot about how things were done in the past and there may have been easier ways to go,” Colangelo said. “There may have been easier ways to go. Personally, Coach K and I feel the best way to go is to play the best competition in advance of the Olympics and that’s exactly what is taking place. I think this is the best way for us to get ready.”

Colangelo said it was an easy buy-in for all involved because the attitude around the world has changed in the 20 years since the original Dream Team took the world by storm.

“I don’t think anyone had any second thoughts,” Colangelo. “Play the best. That’s how you get better. That’s how you get prepared. I think we all shared the same philosophy.”

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Olympic Team Finalists Revealed

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In a definite sign of the times, USA Basketball released the 20 names of the 20 finalists for the 2012 Olympic team that will compete in London this summer via Facebook and Twitter this morning.

That’s right, welcome to the new world folks.

Surely, you could have guessed half of these names based on what’s transpired with the player pool the past two years. Either way, we’ve got the entire list for you right here:

Guards – Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon and Dwyane Wade.

Forwards – Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Andre Iguodala, Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lamar Odom, Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh and Kevin Love.

Centers – Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler.

No surprises there, with Griffin and Aldridge joining the party and Steph Curry and Danny Granger departing the premises. That’s a group that includes eight gold medalists from the 2008 Olympics and 10 members of the 2010 gold medal-winning team at World Championships.

Obviously, this list will have to be trimmed to an active roster of 12 for the competition this summer.

Your thoughts on this 20-man group?

The (FIBA) Games Must Go On

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Mike Fratello has spent decades making himself comfortable on the basketball court wherever he’s been. But Fratello has always felt especially at ease in the baby blue and gold he wore at Hackensack High back in his native New Jersey.

Those North Jersey roots were on Fratello’s mind as he prepared his latest team for EuroBasket 2011, where Ukraine’s national team will sport the same colors this week as they attempt to chase one of the top spots in the tournament and the spoils that come along with being one of the best teams in European basketball.

“I do feel very comfortable putting the old blue and gold on,” Fratello said with a chuckle. “Plus, this competition is as big as it gets right now in the game of basketball, given the circumstances with the lockout and everything else that’s going on right now in the NBA.”

You’ve read about it all summer, this wave of NBA talent that will hit foreign soil to play ball if the regular season is delayed because of the lockout.

You won’t have to wait around to see NBA talent in action now. With EuroBasket in Lithuania Aug. 31 through Sept. 18 and the FIBA Americas being played in Argentina Aug. 30 through Sept. 11, there will be plenty of familiar faces on display, including reigning Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki and Clippers center Chris Kaman leading the German team in EuroBasket. Brothers Pau Gasol of the Lakers and Marc Gasol of the Hang Time Grizzlies headline the Spanish team.

Spurs star Manu Ginobili and Rockets star Luis Scola are the biggest names for the host team in Argentina. Mavericks point guard Jose Barea and Celtics point guard Carlos Arroyo will run the show for Puerto Rico while Hawks All-Star center Al Horford will team up with Kings swingman Francisco Garcia and Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva for the Dominican Republic.

Our nearly two month hiatus from basketball as we know it comes to a momentary end this week with the game itself back on the global stage with national teams on both sides of the globe vying for those coveted early invites to the London Olympics. Every game can be seen on ESPN3.com.

Automatic bids to the Olympics are at stake for the top two teams in each competition. Four more teams — the third through sixth place finishers from EuroBasket — will also earn bids to the Pre-Olympic Qualifying tournament next July. Three more teams — the third through fifth place finishers from FIBA Americas — will earn bids to the Pre-Olympic Qualifying tournament next July.

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