Stars sit as U.S. starts train­ing for worlds

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Brian Mahoney

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had some free agency busi­ness. Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul need to heal in­juries.

Time to start choos­ing their re­place­ments.

While its re­cent main­stays take the sum­mer off, the United States gets back to work Tues­day in Las Ve­gas, open­ing train­ing camp for the play­ers com­pet­ing for a chance to play in the world cham­pi­onships.

“I think ev­ery­one is antsy to get go­ing again. It’ll be fun be­cause we’ve got a bunch of young guys who are very hun­gry and it’s a dif­fer­ent group,” USA Bas­ket­ball chair­man Jerry Colangelo said. “It’s chal- leng­ing, but it’s also ex­cit­ing. That’s the way we choose to look at it.”

The new-look team still has plenty of tal­ent, in­clud­ing NBA scor­ing cham­pion Kevin Du­rant, peren­nial All­Stars Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups, and La­mar Odom and Ra­jon Rondo, last seen on the court in Game 7 of the NBA fi­nals.

The camp ros­ter in­cludes 21 play­ers who will prac­tice through Fri­day, work­ing some of the time against a group of 20 col­lege se­niors. The week ends with an in­trasquad game Satur­day night at the Thomas & Mack Cen­ter.

The ros­ter could then be trimmed be­fore the team re­con­venes next month in New York to con­tinue its train­ing be­fore leav­ing for Europe. The world cham­pi­onships run Aug. 28-Sept. 12 in Turkey.

Colangelo won’t make any pre­dic­tions about who will make the fi­nal ros­ter, say­ing the team is “wide-open.” Du­rant is con­sid­ered a lock, hav­ing nearly made the team that played in the 2007 Olympic qual­i­fier be­fore he played his first NBA game.

There were no such ques­tions about the ros­ter the last time the Amer­i­cans played. Most of the team had been to­gether three years be­fore they won gold in the 2008 Olympics, and the core of that team com­mit­ted early last year to re­turn for an­other run.

But it wasn’t long be­fore talk of free agency put the sta­tus of Mi­ami’s new trio in jeop- ardy. Those who aren’t un­der con­tract don’t chance play­ing in the sum­mer, and though they’ve al­ready signed their deals, it was ob­vi­ous they wouldn’t be tak­ing part.

“That all took its toll. Ev­ery­thing cen­tered around free agency, cer­tainly took the fo­cus away from the world cham­pi­onships. We def­i­nitely have our share of guys who couldn’t par­tic­i­pate any­way,” Colangelo said, cit­ing in­juries to Bryant, Paul, Deron Wil­liams and Tayshaun Prince.

Carmelo An­thony was just mar­ried, and Colangelo said other play­ers just wanted some time off, so he de­cided all of them could have a pass with­out jeop­ar­diz­ing their sta­tus in the pro­gram, call­ing it “no harm, no foul.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.