Shawn Marion Named to 2002 World Championship Team
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (November 1, 2001) -- Phoenix Suns forward Shawn Marion - USA's leading scorer and rebounder at the 2001 Goodwill Games - was one of seven players named today by USA Basketball to form the nucleus of the 12-member USA Basketball Men's World Championship Team that will compete in the 2002 FIBA World Basketball Championship for Men that is being held in Indianapolis, Indiana, Aug. 29-Sept. 8, 2002. The player selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team Committee.
"I had a great experience this summer and I'm really excited to play in the World Championships with some of the best players in the league again next summer. It's going to be a great experience for me, a challenge for the team and for me personally to win another gold medal," Marion said. "All international competition is great. The teams are getting better overseas in basketball but that means we have to step up our play a notch. We have to go out and really compete because everyone is getting better. Now that everybody else is improving we have to go out there and play and not just go out and horse around with these other teams."
Rounding out the first seven members of the 2002 USA Basketball Men's World Championship Team are Olympic gold medalists, Ray Allen (Milwaukee Bucks), Jason Kidd (New Jersey Nets) and Reggie Miller (Indiana Pacers), along with 2001 NBA All-Star Antonio Davis (Toronto Raptors); Dallas Mavericks perennial All-Star Michael Finley and Jermaine O'Neal (Indiana Pacers), the USA's second leading scorer and rebounder at the 2001 Goodwill Games.
Milwaukee Bucks head coach George Karl was announced on Oct. 9 head coach of USA Basketball's 2002 World Championship Team.
"The USA Basketball Senior National Team Committee has once again done an outstanding job of selecting players who will form the nucleus of the USA World Championship Team," said USA Basketball President Tom Jernstedt. "These seven players represent some of the top talent in the NBA and the team possesses tremendous versatility and athleticism. I'm certain that these eight players will represent the United States in a manner that will make all Americans proud."
"The committee wanted to field a team that will be first class representatives of the United States, USA Basketball and the NBA," said Stu Jackson, Chair of USA Basketball's Senior Men's National Team Committee and the NBA's Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations. "This is the first time that the World Championships are on United States soil and this competition has become so important, not only to us, but to everyone in the sport of basketball around the world. With the group of core players announced today, we have a strong foundation to the team as the roster contains a great blend of veterans and youth along with athleticism, talent and the all-important factor of international basketball experience."
"Versatility is probably my favorite coaching weapon, and the talents of this group are incredible," said USA head coach Karl. "We can play fast; we can play big. We can put a team of shooters on the floor, or go with a slash-and-penetrate lineup. I think defensively, we'll be able to throw different looks out there as well. From my standpoint, it will be fun having so many different ways to play the game of basketball.
"When I'm not competing against these players, I'm as much of a basketball fan as anyone, and I think we're blessed with a foundation of first-class guys who understand what it means to be a professional and to represent their country with dignity and with pride. All of them have already played for USA Basketball, so I think they understand that it's not just an honor, but also a commitment to work hard, prevail and not let anyone beat us on our home soil."
All seven of the players selected for the 2002 USA World Championship Team roster boast of prior USA Basketball experience, including two members of the gold medal winning 2000 U.S. Olympic team, one member of the 1996 gold medal winning Olympic team, and two members of the 2001 USA Goodwill Games Team which also claimed gold.
Marion was a member of the 2001 USA Goodwill Games Team (13.4 ppg. and 7.6 rpg.); Allen was a member of the gold medallist 2000 U.S. Olympic Team (9.8 ppg.), the 1995 World University Games Team that captured gold (15.6 ppg.) and the 1994 U.S. Olympic Festival (25.3 ppg. and 8.8 rpg.); Davis was a player on the 1989 USA World Championship Qualifying team; Finley played on the 1994 Goodwill Games squad (14.8 ppg.) that claimed a bronze medal, the 1993 World University Games Team that captured gold (11.4 ppg.) and the 1993 Team USA (5.2 ppg.); Kidd was part of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team ( 6.0 ppg. and 4.4 apg.), the 1999 Americas Olympic Qualifying gold medal team (7.4 ppg., 6.8 apg.) and the 1993 Team USA (8.4 ppg., 4.0 apg.); Miller has played on the gold medal winning 1996 U.S. Olympic Team (11.4 ppg.), the gold medalist 1994 World Championship team (17.1 ppg.) and the 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival (16.0 ppg.); O'Neal was a member of the 2001 USA Goodwill Games Team that captured gold (13.2 ppg. and 7.2 rpg.) and the 1996 USA Hoop Summit Team (21 points and 10 rebounds).
Four of the selected players, Allen, Davis, Finley and Kidd, participated in the 2001 NBA All-Star Game, and Allen won the 3-point shooting contest held during the weekend festivities. Also, Marion participated in the 2001 Rookie Challenge that was held during the annual NBA All-Star Weekend.
The USA owns a 91-23 overall record in World Championship play and has won three gold, three silver and three bronze medals in the 13 previous FIBA World Championships that were first played in 1950. The USA finished 7-2 and in possession of the bronze medal in the 1998 World Championship in Greece after fielding a team comprised of collegians and professional players who were either competing overseas or in the Continental Basketball Association. The United States in 1994, featuring a squad of NBA stars, won the gold in Toronto, Canada, finishing with an unblemished 8-0 record.
Teams were required to qualify through zone qualifying tournaments for the 2002 FIBA World Basketball Championship for Men and the 16 teams that will compete in Indianapolis include the United States (Host Country); Angola (Africa Zone #1); Algeria (Africa Zone #2); Argentina (Americas Zone #1); Brazil (Americas Zone #2); Canada (Americas Zone #3); Puerto Rico (Americas Zone #4); Venezuela (Americas Zone #5); China (Asia Zone #1); Lebanon (Asia Zone #2); Yugoslavia (European Zone #1); Turkey (European Zone #2); Spain (European Zone #3); Germany (European Zone #4); Russia (European Zone #5); New Zealand (Oceania Zone #1).
The USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team Committee consists of nine members and a non-voting chair. Jackson, NBA Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations, serves as chair of the Committee, and the Committee also includes Bryan Colangelo, President and General Manager of the Phoenix Suns; Billy King, General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers; Mitch Kupchak, General Manager of the Los Angeles Lakers; C.M. Newton, former athletic director at the University of Kentucky; Kevin O'Connor, Vice President of Basketball Operations of the Utah Jazz; Garry St. Jean, General Manager of the Golden State Warriors; Rod Thorn, President of the New Jersey Nets; and athlete representatives Joe Dumars, a member of the gold medalist 1994 USA World Championship Team, and Steve Smith, a member of the gold medallist 1994 USA World Championship and 2000 U.S. Olympic teams.
Ex-official members of the Committee include Tom Jernstedt, President of USA Basketball and Senior Vice President of the NCAA; Quinn Buckner, USA Basketball's Vice President for Men; and Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association and USA Basketball Board of Directors member.