USA Basketball released a press release on Monday saying that LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard are among the 20 players who will compete for the U.S. Olympic team next summer. The finalists, who were announced by Chairman Jerry Colangelo, will take part at the 2012 London Olympic Games together with 12 other teams.
Colangelo has chosen eight members of the 2008 gold medal team from Beijing and 10 members of the squad that won the world title in Turkey. The selection was made in accordance with the basketball players’ talent, as well as their previous results. The 20 players were also favored by their commitment to the USA Basketball and the international basketball experience they have compiled.
Duke University’s Hall of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzewski will be the leader of the 2012 USA coaching staff. According to him, two players for the 20 finalists possess 55 or more games of international experience, two with 40 or more international games, whereas eight others have played between 23 and 38 international games. This valuable experience is, in Krzyzewski’s opinion, the element that will help the U.S. basketball team record great results at the London competition.
The finalists come from 14 different NBA teams including the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers. Each team has contributed with three players each, while the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder have two players each among the 20.
Krzyzewski further stated in the interview that it was very difficult to narrow the 35 players to 20 because they all had outstanding results. The selection will be even more difficult in the future as the coach will have to eliminate eight more players.
The last 12 players will be selected based on their results in the 2011-2012 NBA season. The leader of the USA coaching staff is confident that the members of the jury will make a good decision this year like they did in the previous years, as well. The announcement of the official 12-man roster will be made later this year.