The final roster for Team USA Basketball was revealed Saturday night so we now know who will be representing the United States in the 2012 Olympics in London.
James Harden, Blake Griffin and Andre Iguodala were the last three players to make the final cut for Team USA. Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis were the final three cut and will serve as alternates for the team.
Jerry Colangelo revealed that there were nine players who were locks to make the team a week ago: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler.
The Oklahoma City Thunder become the first NBA team ever to send three players from their roster to play for Team USA in the Olympics.
Harden made the final cut, beating out Gordon in what was a close decision.
“I think he surprised people,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said. “Two months ago he was on the radar screen, but not shining brightly necessarily. Given the opportunity, he finished so strongly this season, he gave us something to really sit back and think about. He has size, he has length at his position.
“Defensively, he’s more than adequate,” he continued. “He comes up with a lot of loose balls, a lot of steals and he is a scorer. And by the way, he can also shoot it. I think there’s a little bit of a difference between the two. Tough choice we had to make, Eric Gordon, James Harden. Harden deserved it for the reasons I mentioned and we expect him coming off the bench as he did and he’s accustomed to and to play whenever he’s called upon.”
Durant was an obvious choice for Team USA. Durant did not make the team four years ago and was one of the last cuts back then when he was only 19 years old.
“Well first of all, this young man was born to play the game. He’s a coach’s dream,” Colangelo of Durant. “He has great character, he has great passion for the game. And then his skills are off the charts. He plays with such enthusiasm that it’s difficult to keep him off the floor and in the World Championships he just rose to another level.”
Westbrook became a no-brainer when players like Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade pulled out of the Olympics because of injury. Westbrook was a part of the 2010 World Championships team with Durant.
“No, there isn’t [a more explosive player],” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I love Russell. It’s an honor to coach him. He is such a versatile player and as good an athlete as there is on this planet playing basketball. He plays with an abundance of energy and courage. I’m a big Russell Westbrook fan.”
The Miami Heat were the only other team that could have also had three players make the roster. Four years ago, LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh were all on the team and that was when it was rumored they decided to all try and play together when the time came.
The Olympic Games begin July 27. The first game for Team USA will be July 29 against France. Team USA will play five exhibition games before the Olympics start with the first one being July 12 vs. the Dominican Republic.
Here is the final roster:
Tags: 2012 Olympics Andre Iguodala Anthony Davis Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Chris Paul Deron Williams Eric Gordon Final Roster James Harden Jerry Colangelo Kevin Durant Kevin Love Kobe Bryant LeBron James London Mike Krzyzewski Oklahoma City Thunder Rudy Gay Russell Westbrook Team USA Basketball Tyson Chandler