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March 19, 2015 Updates

This summer’s mini-camp will include another exhibition game at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV, where George snapped his right leg against the bottom of the basket stanchion last Aug. 1. The stanchions at Thomas & Mack have since been replaced by ones that are further from the court. Though George has been practicing with the Indiana Pacers for three weeks, he has yet to decide if he’ll play this season. But he told NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner on Wednesday that his summer plans won’t change whether or not he plays between now and the end of the Pacers’ season. And when asked about the mini-camp, he was clear that he intends to be there. “I’m in,” George said. “Of course.” “The day it happened,” George added, referencing his injury, “right after, I told them I looked forward to continuing on with USA basketball.” NBA.com

Griffin was chosen for the 2012 Olympic team, but was a late scratch (replaced by Davis) due to a knee injury. A back issue forced him to pull out of consideration for the 2014 World Cup team. And with so much time between now and August, he couldn’t say that he’d definitely be in Las Vegas. Paul was similarly unsure. Attendance at this summer’s mini-camp isn’t necessarily mandatory for those who want to be considered for the Olympic team, but it is a measure of a player’s commitment to USA Basketball. “All of our players are invited,” Colangelo said. “By who attends and who might not attend, that in itself is saying something. Really, this is all up to the individual guy. Each player makes his own decision on how he figures into USA Basketball.” NBA.com

March 11, 2015 Updates

If Russell Westbrook or LeBron James are unable to make a late push, the league MVP will once again hail from a summer spent playing for Team USA. Kobe Bryant won his only MVP award in 2008 after winning a gold medal in the FIBA Americas tournament. LeBron James won his first MVP in 2009, the season after winning an Olympic gold medal in Beijing. James won his fourth MVP in 2013 – with a near-unanimous vote – the season after winning his second Olympic gold medal in London. Derrick Rose became the league’s youngest ever MVP in 2011 after starting for the gold medal-winning team at the FIBA world championships in Turkey. “It sounds self-serving and it’s not meant to be, but you’ve heard me say this many times now, regarding USA basketball. I think generally, they’re better people, they’re better players for the experience. They bring it back to their respective teams, that culture and the winning,” USA Basketball chairman and managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a recent telephone interview. “You go right down the list. That’s been true on each roster. It’s been repeat history.” Washington Post

But since taking over taking over the USA national team program in 2005, Colangelo has taken pleasure in repeatedly watching the new leaders of the league emerge following a summer of training with and competing against the best players in the world. “I get such a joy out of looking at the box scores every day and seeing how our guys have fared and how well they’ve done and what they’re doing. So I’m excited,” Colangelo said. “Having a chance to win a championship does not come along every day for people in the NBA. It’s such a positive experience that many of these players have been able to carry that over. That’s a compliment to USA Basketball, in my opinion, the culture and the coaching staff. You feel like you’re giving back to the game.” Washington Post

February 16, 2015 Updates
February 14, 2015 Updates

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told the Tribune that Derrick Rose will be invited to the association's Las Vegas minicamp this summer, a critical step in 2016 Olympic participation. "He’s going to be invited this summer," Colangelo said. "We’re bringing all our players back to Vegas. We’re going to find out who’s committed and who isn’t. And we go from there." Chicago Tribune

February 12, 2015 Updates

After a long pause, Thompson told Duffy, "No, I made a commitment, I'm going to stay." And that was it. Thompson was staying with Team USA. "That's how Klay is," Duffy said. "He is a quiet guy, but he is smart. You present him with the facts and he thinks about it for five or 10 minutes, he absorbs it and makes a decision. And then it's just, 'OK, let's roll with this.' " Sporting News

January 22, 2015 Updates

Q. What’s been the toughest challenge in your career, one that taught you some personal lesson? A. One of the hardest decisions I ever made was to play for Russia in the Olympics. It was always my dream, obviously, to play in the Olympics for the USA. But even coming off my best year in the WNBA, I didn’t get a chance to be on USA basketball. I knew I would be judged very harshly for playing for Russia, and I went through all that turmoil—wrestling to do it, not to do it—hoping the USA squad would come back around and give me a legitimate chance to make the team. All these things were swirling inside me. Washington Post

December 21, 2014 Updates
October 5, 2014 Updates

Tom Thibodeau’s word of the day Saturday: Physicality. Specifically, Derrick Rose finding it again, and the Bulls’ young players still trying to understand it. Thibodeau said Day 4 of training camp was one of Rose’s best as he continued to take on normal NBA contact, accept it and improve. ‘‘He’ll be able to handle it,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He just has to get used to it again. That’s why the USA Basketball stuff was so important, to get used to having contact. The more he does it, the better it is for him and the more you see the rust come off. ‘‘Now you see him start to make some of the plays he’s capable of making. Now he’s starting to get a little bit of a rhythm and starting to shoot better, which we anticipated. That’s why him practicing and practicing hard is so important.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

September 30, 2014 Updates
September 29, 2014 Updates

Marc Stein: In chat for @SportsCenter to air this week, Kevin Durant tells ESPN he intends to be on Team USA for 2016 Olympics after his '14 summer off. Durant withdrew from Team USA in August shortly before 2014 FIBA WC in Spain but says he plans to make himself available for 2016 in Brazil. Twitter @ESPNSteinLine

September 19, 2014 Updates

In the middle of the U.S. team's run in Spain, Williams described Davis, now 21, as "the lead dog among alpha dogs," a portrayal not at all hyperbolic. "I couldn't tell you the place or the timing of it all," said Williams, who showed off his own gold medal on Wednesday, "but over the period from Vegas to Madrid, I just watched him watch other people. "He was around a former MVP (Derrick Rose). He watched (James) Harden. People don't know how hard Harden works. I think A.D. was able to watch him work an hour or two hours before practice with his trainer and then come to practice. I think that had an impact on him. The great ones do more. I think he looked at that, and our after- practice workouts when he and I got going, I think that had an impact on him just watching those guys." New Orleans Times-Picayune

September 18, 2014 Updates

Unprompted, Krzyzewski brought up the columnist's insinuation that Krzyzewski had arranged for someone to take a photograph of Krzyzewski embracing an injured Paul George in George's hospital room — to both deflect attention from the NBA "losing a $100 million star in a worthless scrimmage" and "for all those moms and dads to see the compassion and caring of Duke's coach." Unprompted, Krzyzewski explained what had happened leading up to that photo. "That was a really bad thing, to bring up Paul George," Krzyzewski said. "After he was injured, USA Basketball was in the trauma room — me, Jerry (Colangelo), a bunch of NBA people and whatever. There were too many people there, so they asked for only the family and the doctors. We went back. A few of the people from USA Basketball left that morning. I was staying with my family for a couple of days. USA Today Sports

"I went back to the hospital the next day secretly. ESPN had cameras in front of the hospital. We were able to go through the back and go in. I spent a half hour with Paul, his mom, dad, two sisters, a couple of friends and his girlfriend. There was an emotional moment during it. I did not take any pictures. I did not know a picture was taken. I think his sister took a picture and she tweeted it because it was an emotional scene. "To say that I orchestrated that and used Paul George to show that I was a good guy is really wrong. For anybody to think that, if you want to think that, then you are a bad person." USA Today Sports

During one six-week period in the late summer of 2014, Cousins tinkered madly with his narrative, changing perceptions and recasting his image, emerging as a significant, perhaps invaluable member of the senior national team, and displaying a familiar dramatic flair at the end. Here is what coach Mike Krzyzewski said moments after the USA’s 129-92 gold-medal romp Sunday over Serbia: “The first five minutes of tonight’s game, they knocked us back. Cousins really, I think, turned the game around. I don’t only think; I know. Watching (him), I’m saying, ‘Whoa,’ we just made another stop, or he just made another stop. He knocked the ball off the rim and they didn’t score. (Nenad) Krstic wasn’t able to score because he bodied up on him. …” Sacramento Bee

But Cousins can’t worry about who’s in, who’s out. He merely has to remain, well, the King of Spain. “You can use all the superlatives you want,” Colangelo said Tuesday afternoon, “and apply them to DeMarcus. He made the team, made a major contribution, made tremendous strides. In the locker room after our win over Serbia (earned an automatic berth to the Rio Games), DeMarcus in particular was emotional. He hugged me and thanked me for putting him on the team, and I told him, ‘the past is the past. This is the beginning of your career. Take everything you learned back to Sacramento. You can build on this and have a tremendous career.’ ” Sacramento Bee

September 17, 2014 Updates

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