A year from now the entire United States Olympic team will be living out lifelong dreams, going for gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.
Right now the world’s best basketball team’s gathering in Las Vegas to continue preparations to defend the Gold Medal for a 2nd straight Olympiad. Among the 34 American ballers, all NBA talents, you’ll find superstars Lebron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and coming off a very serious series of foot surgeries, OKC’s KD. Guess who figures to have the most fun in this 3-day USA Olympic Hoop-fest? Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski “We have relationships with all of these guys, either from the Olympics or from the World Championships. We’re treating it like a family reunion because we really are like a family at USA Basketball.”
While King James and the aforementioned NBA and Olympic veterans will not be playing this week in Vegas, the rest, led by possible first-time Olympians Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, Victor Oladipo will be showing Coach K and his staff what they’re about and learning the Olympic ropes. “What this week is about is reaffirming our culture and then moving forwad,” Krzyzewski said. “Carmelo, LeBron and Chris, they’ve all been through this several times and it’s a chance for our younger guys to learn from them what it means to be part of something this special. This is not a tryout camp, it’s about team-building.
It’s about bonding. And to get this kind of response shows how important the national team is to these guys.”
Among the gathering of NBA elite, Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward,s aid to be a longshot to make the Rio team and his Jazz teammate Trey Burke the 9th player taken in the 2013 Draft,. Though widely labeled a bust,
Trey’s among a group of 7 “Select Team” members recently added to run up and down against the more established group which will likely have a great shot at making the Olympic team headed to Rio a year from now.
Among the stars choosing not to even show this week therefore won’t be in Rio. former Weber State legend, 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard and 2011 League MVP Derrick Rose.
So if this mini-camp is NOT a tryout for the 2016 Rio Olympics, what is? Largely, the upcoming NBA season, the final cuts may be made in Vegas next Summer.
USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo points out the USA Olympic Team will be feature some of the NBA’s best but there will be a few surprises…and for different reasons. “You’re dealing with a lot of things,” he said. “There’s injuries. The schedule. Guys who are playing in the (NBA) Finals or deep into the playoffs. Contracts. They all play a role in determining whether a player will be able to participate.”
This USA Basketball Mini-camp has two practices Tuesday and Wednesday (closed to public) then the public “just for fun” White and Blue scrimmage at the Thomas and Mack Center Thursday night.