Basketball: Strong Team USA Olympic squad named

The United States will lean on proven champions, with perhaps a dash of youth, for the defence of the Olympic basketball title at this year's London Games.

USA basketball today named a 20-player pool from which the 12-man Olympic squad will be named in June.

Blake Griffin, the explosive young star of the Los Angeles Clippers, and LaMarcus Aldridge are the only two candidates who haven't won international gold for America in the past four years.

The other 18 all represented the United States at either the 2008 Beijing Olympics or the 2010 World Championships.

Those returning from the triumphant Beijing team are Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

From the victorious 2010 World Championship team are Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Tyson Chandler, Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Chauncey Billups, Russell Westbrook and Andre Iguodala.

"I feel like we have an outstanding blend of talents from the 2008 Olympic and 2010 World Championship teams that won gold,'' said head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"Reducing to the official roster limit of 12 players will be an even tougher decision, but we'll evaluate how guys play during the 2011-12 NBA season and as we've done with our teams in the past, we'll attempt to select the very best team we can.''

Three of the finalists are two-time Olympic medalists. Anthony won bronze at Athens in 2004 as well as gold in Beijing, as did James and Wade.

The finalists represent 14 different NBA teams, with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers leading the way with three players each.

Team USA squad:
Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Tyson Chandler, Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Chauncey Billups, Russell Westbrook, Andre Iguodala, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge.

- AFP

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