Kawhi Leonard and DeJuan Blair Chosen to 2012 USA Men's Select Tean

May 21, 2012

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Featuring nine players owning USA Basketball experience, including the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving and the 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year runner-up John Wall, USA Basketball today announced 13 players for the 2012 USA Men’s Select Team that will train against the 2012 USA Basketball Men’s National Team during its July 6-12 training camp in Las Vegas, Nev.

Named to the 2012 USA Basketball Select squad were: Ryan Anderson (Orlando Magic / California); DeJuan Blair (San Antonio Spurs / Pittsburgh); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings / Kentucky); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors / USC); Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz / Georgia Tech); Paul George (Indiana Pacers / Fresno State); Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls / USC); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz / Butler); Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers / Duke); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs / San Diego State); Jeremy Lin (New York Knicks / Harvard); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors / Washington State); and Wall (Washington Wizards / Kentucky).

USA Basketball also announced that serving as co-head coaches of the USA Select Team are 2010 USA Basketball World Championship assistant coach Jay Triano and longtime Syracuse University assistant coach Mike Hopkins. Triano, who served for three seasons (2008-09 through 2010-11) as head coach of the Toronto Raptors, helped coach the 2007 and 2008 USA Select Teams. Hopkins, who recently completed his 15th season as an assistant for the Orange, has served as a court coach at the USA Basketball National Team training camps in 2006 and 2010, and was a court coach at USA Basketball’s 2000 U20 National Team and 2001 U21 World Championship Team trials.

“The USA Select Team was a vital part of the USA Men’s National Team’s training in 2007, 2008 and 2010, and again in 2012 we’ll utilize this team of select NBA players to help get our National Team ready for the very competitive summer that is ahead of us,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman.

“Being chosen for the Select Team is quite an honor, and it’s an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball’s National Team program in the future. In the past, current national team finalists like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Iguodala, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team.”

Members of the USA Select Team will assemble in Las Vegas and conduct a training session July 5, then train with the USA National Team July 6-11 (12:00-3:00 p.m. PDT). All practices will take place at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center.

The USA National Team will open 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. Tickets for the exhibition game can be purchased by calling 702-739-FANS or online at http://www.UNLVtickets.com/eventInfo/spe/310/usa-basketball/.

“The 2012 Select Team has an excellent collection of talents. The group has outstanding speed and versatility, some excellent shooters, and some very good size,” added Colangelo. “It will be great to have them involved in USA Basketball and in the National Team pipeline for our next quadrennium, 2013-16.”

Since the development of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team program in 2006, USA Basketball has selected and utilized three USA Select teams to help the USA National teams prepare for its major international competitions.

The first USA Select Team was used in 2007 and featured up and coming players like Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, David Lee and J.J. Redick. The Select squad returned in 2008 and this time featured future NBA All-Stars like Aldridge, Durant, Iguodala, Love, Rose, and Westbrook. In 2010 and to help prepare the USA for the FIBA World Championship, a 20-member Select Team was assembled and was comprised by top returning collegiate players. Among players on the 2010 roster were Temple’s Lavoy Allen, BYU guard Jimmer Fredette; Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine, Wisconsin center Jon Leuer, Butler guard Shelvin Mack, Duke’s Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith, Florida State forward Chris Singleton, UConn’s Kemba Walker and others.

2012 Select Team members with prior USA Basketball include Hayward and Thompson who were part of the USA’s gold medalist U19 World Championship Team; Cousins (2009), DeRozan (2008), Irving (2010) and Wall (2009) who were members of USA Junior National Select teams that competed in the Nike Hoop Summit. Additionally, Irving (2010) was a member of USA U18 National team, while Cousins (2007) participated in USA Basketball’s Youth Development Festival.

Former Duke Standout Irving earned the NBA’s Rookie of the Year honors this season, while Wall finished second in the voting for last season’s Rookie of the Year. Wall was named 2010-11 All-Rookie first team, and Favors and George collected All-Rookie second team honors. Gibson was an All-Rookie first team pick in 2009-10 and Blair claimed second team honors.

The 2012 Select Team features three players who completed their rookie NBA season in 2011-12, six who wrapped up their second NBA season, three third-year players and one player who finished in 2011-12 his fourth NBA season.Finalists for the 2012 USA National Team include: 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); Anthony Davis (University of Kentucky); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (New Orleans Hornets); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder); 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).

Four of the 22 named finalists have been lost to injuries. Aldridge, Billups, Howard and Rose have all suffered injuries that will prevent them from being able to play this summer.

The 2012 USA coaching staff is led by USA head coach and Duke University Hall of Fame mentor Mike Krzyzewski. Back in 2012 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.