Last week Team USA announced their 20 finalists for the 2012 London Olympic roster. Team USA will be gearing up for a busy summer with one of the most talented rosters ever assembled.
Some of the big names on the roster include: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Deron Williams.Team USA will be trimming down their roster to 12 players by June 18th. Jerry Colangelo is proud of the brand that Team USA represents at this current time and he doesn’t want to jump to conclusions when comparing this team to the Dream Team.Jerry Colangelo joined KFXX in Portland with Isaac and Suke to discuss the difficulty in trimming down the Team USA roster to 20 players, the recruiting process for Team USA, LaMarcus Aldridge’s chances of being on the squad, when the 12-man roster will be released, and Team USA this year comparing to the 1992 Dream Team.
How hard was it to just get down to 20 players on the Team USA roster?
“Right now the NBA is really loaded I believe with really outstanding young players and one of the things that I think is important is we go forward with our rosters. I wanted to along with Coach K put in an infrastructure that would last a long time well beyond us as individuals and it wasn’t just building the team. It was building a program and I think we have done that. We changed the culture, so that there are players 16, 17, 18, 19, the senior team, who represent the U.S. in international competition and all of these people want to play. They want to represent their country. They get it now. There is pride. No entitlement. It was hard to get to 20 because you could see there were a lot of teams that weren’t there that some people thought should have been, but that’s a matter of opinion. I would say this: It’s a real accomplishment and prestigious situation for those who were named.”
What’s the biggest determining factor on how you picked this team? Is it based on NBA season? What happens when you get them in the gym or there in person?
“Well one thing with the way technology is today and the ability to watch games every day – we are continually monitoring all the players. It’s an ongoing process. Coach K and myself, our staff, have made up of Mike D’Antoni, Nate McMillan and Jim Boeheim continuously have conversations about personnel, so it’s an ongoing thing. I don’t think you wait until camp to get anything done. This year we will have our team selected before camp begins. It’s just how the dates fall.”
You mentioned that LaMarcus Aldridge’s chances are up to “him.” What then would you say you need to see from him moving forward?
“Well as I told every player before the announcement I had conversation with each [player] and I said you are going to be one of the 20. All you need to do is give everything. We will be watching you during the course of the year . We hope and pray you stay healthy. No injuries. Just keep working on your game and the things you need to do to make your team’s better and we’ll be watching in making those determinations as to what is the best group of people collectively in terms of chemistry to put us in the best position to win.”
When are you anticipating on releasing the 12-man roster for Team USA?
“June 18th is the date. We must submit our roster on that date. Training camp will not begin until July 5th.”
Does this group when it is all said and done compare favorably to the 1992 Dream Team?
“You have to really be careful on…what I said was this was an outstanding group of players that we’ll put on the floor and I could see where people would start making comparisons. That’s what I said. That’s a far cry from saying this team is like the dream team. The other thing I want you to know I was there and saw who played and who didn’t and who was hurt and who was old and who wasn’t. Some of the great names didn’t really do that much in the Olympics like Larry Bird, so you have to look at what did Larry Bird do on that team in 1992 and what contributions did he make? He was hurt. He had a bad back.John Stockton was hurt. Three or four of the guys didn’t really do much. You are talking about resumes and reputation when you make comparisons sometimes and that’s not fair is my point. I think when it is all said and done if you look at the names on our 20 many of those players when their careers are over – will definitely be compared with a lot of the great players on that dream team without question.”