Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Team USA Eurotour- Greece Is The Word

The Team USA Men's FIBA world championship squad is in Athens for the final game of their exhibition tour to take on Greece.

We USA basketball fans remember the last time we tangled with them in FIBA play. Greece and Sofoklis Schortsanitis AKA 'Baby Shaq' sprang a 101-95 semifinal upset in Japan that sent Team USA to the bronze medal game after winning their first seven games and their preliminary group.

They'll head to Turkey tomorrow to begin preparation for their opening game in the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Istanbul against Croatia and try to bring the Naismith Cup back to the USA for the first time since 1994.

But some of the suspense is already gone prior to the 12 PM EDT start USA time of their game with the Greeks at OAKA Arena. We now know who made the USA FIBA worlds squad.

Your 2010 FIBA World Championship squad is: Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets); Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers); Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).

This squad averages 24.66 years of age, 5 years of NBA experience, will have six players who are 22 years or younger and four 21 year olds. Chauncey Billups is the old man at age 33 and the only player with FIBA international experience. The 2006 FIBA Worlds team by comparison averaged 24.58 years of age.

But Rajon Rondo isn't one of them. He's headed back to the States.

While announcing the final 12 man FIBA Worlds roster, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said, “Rajon came to us and said he was going to withdraw from the team, that he had some family matters to attend to and some things to take care of before the NBA season. He did an outstanding job during our training, we appreciate the effort and commitment he made to our program and he completely has our support."

This will be another stern test in front of a raucous home crowd for what the world calls 'The 'B' Team'.

We'll see if Team USA has the right stuff in this game and also from August 28-September 12 when the FIBA Worlds finally kick off.

Hopefully this young squad has what it takes to bring that FIBA Championship back to home soil along with the automatic qualifying berth in the 2012 London Games.

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