July 7, 2012
TEMPE - Former Arizona State University basketball player James Harden was named to the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo announced on Saturday.
Harden, who competed for the Sun Devils for two seasons from 2007-09, was named as a member of the final 12-man roster for the 2012 London Olympics at the Wynn Casino on Saturday, setting the team that will travel on an international tour over the next few weeks.
Harden was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year for the 2011-12 season as part of the Oklahoma City Thunder squad that finished as the runners-up in the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat. On the season, Harden led the league in bench scoring with 16.8 points per game on 49.1 percent shooting while also adding 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in 31.4 minutes per game.
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.
At ASU, Harden was an consensus first-team All-American on essentially every major list released after his sophomore campaign in which he led the Pac-10 in scoring (20.1), 20-point games (18) and steals per game (1.69) and was eighth in the league at 4.2 assists per game.
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. He became just the third sophomore in Pac-10 history to earn Pac-10 Player of the Year accolades, joining Jason Kidd (1993-94) and Mike Bibby (1997-98).
Harden becomes to second Sun Devil basketball player to compete at the 2012 Games, joining former teammate Eric Boateng who was named to the Great British team earlier this week. Harden is the fifth ASU basketball player in school history to be named to an Olympic roster. Former Sun Devil Ike Diogu also has a strong chance of qualifying as part of the Nigerian National Team that is currently playing in the FIBA Qualifying Tournament in Caracas, Venezuela.
The other Sun Devil Olympians included Joe Caldwell, who 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.
Others nominated for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team were: Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks); Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers); Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); LeBron James (Miami Heat); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder); and Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets).
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.
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.