Love Named As Finalist For U.S. National Team
Love Named A Finalist For The 2012 U.S. National Team
Timberwolves forward Kevin Love had the chance to play for Team USA during the 2010 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, helping the U.S. to a 9-0 record and a gold medal at the international games.
Representing his country is something Love took very seriously, and it’s why he’s honored to be one of 20 finalists selected to play for the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics in London. He will compete for a spot on the final 12-man roster.
“It’s a tremendous honor any time you get to represent your country, wear USA across the chest—red, white and blue,” Love said. “Get out there to sing the National Anthem, compete for a gold medal. Just all that, it’s a big deal to me.”
Love said since the team will not hold tryouts prior to the summer, the best way he can make a case for making the team is to continue upping his play for the Timberwolves. So far he’s done his part this season, averaging 25.0 points per night while racking up 14.6 rebounds a contest—second only to Orlando’s Dwight Howard in the NBA. He leads the NBA this season with 12 double-doubles.
But it’s also his ability to stretch the floor that has made him a difficult player to guard. He’s 37.7 percent from the 3-point line this season, a facet of his game that continues to keep opposing defenses guessing where he’ll get the basketball.
It’s his versatility that makes Love believe he can help Team USA if he’s chosen for the Olympic squad.
“I feel that any system in the world I can fit into and I can have a lot of success in,” Love said. “So hopefully they’ll be able to see that, and I have a high level of confidence that I’ll be able to make the team.”
The finalists list is a who’s who of NBA talent, highlighted by Olympic champions Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James of the Miami Heat. Also on the team is LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers); Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks); Chauncey Billups (Los Angeles Clippers); Chris Bosh (Miami Heat); Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (New Orleans Hornets); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); 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).
U.S. Olympic basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said having the depth the team has on the roster will make the selection process difficult, but it also gives the team an opportunity to again be elite at the international level. Team USA won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.
“We put a great deal of emphasis on a word I’ve used a lot, and that’s quality,” Colangelo said. “Those who have put in time with USA Basketball, earned that equity.”
The 2012 USA coaching staff is led by Duke University’s Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, and serving as USA assistant coaches are Syracuse University’s Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni, and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be held July 27-Aug. 12 in London, England. Twelve teams will compete in the 2012 Olympic men’s basketball competition. Nations currently qualified for the Olympic competition include Great Britain, the host country; the United States, which earned its berth by virtue of claiming the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship; Africa zone champ Tunisia; Americas zone champion Argentina and runner-up Brazil; Asia zone winner China; European zone gold medalist Spain and silver medalist France; and Oceania zone champion Australia.
The three remaining Olympic qualifying spots will be determined through the 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament on July 2-18, 2012 in Caracas Venezuela.
Love said he understands the U.S. will pick the players who are the best fit for the team. He said he will continue to keep improving his game while being a leader for this Wolves squad.
“It’s a great group,” Love said. “Just to be mentioned in the top 20 of contenders for spots is a tremendous honor, but I want to be there when they head to London.”
|LaMarcus Aldridge||F/C||6-11||Trail Blazers/Texas|
|Chris Bosh||F||6-10||Heat/Georgia Tech|
|Tyson Chandler||C||7-1||Knicks/Dominguez H.S. (CA)|
|Dwight Howard||F/C||6-11||Magic/SW Atlanta Christian Acad.|
|LeBron James||F||6-8||Heat/St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S. (OH)|
|Lamar Odom||F||6-10||Mavericks/Rhode Island|
|Chris Paul||G||6-0||Clippers/Wake Forest|
|Managing Director:||Jerry Colangelo|
|Head Coach:||Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)|
|Assistant Coach:||Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)|
|Assistant Coach:||Mike D’Antoni (Knicks)|
|Assistant Coach:||Nate McMillan (Trail Blazers)|
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