May 4, 2012
Three Sun Devil men's basketball players have been selected to Olympic team rosters.
Joe Caldwell played for the 1964 U.S. team that captured gold in Tokyo, while Alton Lister made the 1980 team boycotted the games in Moscow. Shawn Redhage, who helped lead the Sun Devils to the 2003 NCAA Tournament, earned a spot on the Australian team in 2008 when it competed in Bejing.
A fourth could be the Sun Devil with a well-known beard and crafty, old-school southpaw skills who is turning it up a notch at the NBA level.
Sun Devil and Oklahoma City Thunder standout James Harden has been added to the list of finalists for the 2012 USA Basketball National Team along with Anthony Davis of Kentucky. Only Davis (born March 11, 1992) is younger among the finalists than Harden (born Aug. 26, 1989), who entered Arizona State in the fall of 2007 and was the youngest player in the Pac-10 his freshman year when he earned All-Pac-10 honors.
"After a lot of deliberations, after reviewing our roster, we think these two additions strengthen our National Team program immeasurably. James Harden probably is the sixth man of the year in the NBA, and Anthony Davis brings a dimension to our pool we don't have. He's young, but it's exciting to think about the possibilities," said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman.
"Being named as a finalist for the USA Basketball National Team is an unbelievable feeling and an opportunity that is truly humbling. It is an honor to be included with such talented players and I look forward to the chance to represent my country this summer," said Harden.
Harden completed in 2011-12 his third NBA regular season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Averaging career highs of 16.8 ppg., 4.1 rpg., 3.7 apg. and 31.4 minutes a game, Harden also shot career bests of 49.1 percent from the field, 39.0 from 3-point and 84.6 percent from the foul line. He helped lead the Thunder in 2011-12 to the West Conference's second best record of 47-19, to a first-place finish in the Northwest Division, and to the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Harden had a solid rookie season after being the fifth-youngest first-round pick in June of 2009, as only Ricky Rubion (Oct. 21, 1990), Jrue Holiday (June 12, 1990), Brandon Jennings (September 23, 1989) and Tyreke Evans (Sept. 19, 1989) are younger.
The southpaw, who becomes the third Oklahoma City Thunder player named to the USA finalists roster, played two seasons at Arizona State before entering the NBA Draft in 2009. Selected the Pac-10 Conference's Player of the Year in 2009, during his two ASU seasons he scored 1,309 points, and averaged 19.0 ppg., 5.4 rpg. and 3.7 apg.
It's an honor and im very humbled to be one of the finalist playing for the USA Basketball team.-- James Harden (@JHarden13) May 4, 2012
Previously named a finalist for the 2012 USA National Team were: LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers); Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks); Chauncey Billups (Los Angeles Clippers); Chris Bosh (Miami Heat); Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers); Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (New Orleans Hornets); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); LeBron James (Miami Heat); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Lamar Odom (Dallas Mavericks); Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat); Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder); and Deron Williams (New Jersey Nets).
Since the finalists announcement, four players have been lost to injuries, Aldridge, Billups, Howard and most recently Derrick Rose.
Colangelo, who has served as managing director of the USA Men's National Team since 2005, is again directing the USA Basketball Men's National Team program in 2012. The USA coaching staff features Duke University Hall of Fame mentor Mike Krzyzewski, and back as USA assistant coaches are Syracuse University and Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, and former NBA head coaches Mike D'Antoni and Nate McMillan.
The USA National Team opens its 2012 training with a July 6-12 training camp in Las Vegas, Nev., that concludes with the July 12 (6:00 p.m. local time) USA Basketball Showcase that features the USA facing the Dominican Republic at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center.
Following the USA's training and exhibition contest in Las Vegas, the USA will move on to the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., to train July 13-15 and play an exhibition contest versus Brazil at the Verizon Center on July 16 (8 p.m. local time). The game will be part of a doubleheader with the USA Basketball Women's National Team, which will face Brazil's Women's National Team (5:30 p.m. local time).
The USA men will continue their preparations July 17-18 in Manchester, England, and on July 19 (7:30 p.m. local time) will play Great Britain at the Manchester Arena. The USA women will square off against the Great Britain women at the Manchester Arena on July 18 (7:30 p.m. local time).
Twenty years after the USA Dream Team made its debut in Barcelona, Spain, the U.S. returns and will conclude its tour with a pair of exhibition games against FIBA's No. 2 and No. 3 ranked world powers. Facing No. 3 ranked Argentina on July 22 (9:30 p.m. local time) at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, the USA will close out its exhibition tour against FIBA's No. 2 ranked power Spain on July 24 (9:30 p.m. local time) at the Palau Sant Jordi.