Hornets guard is a finalists for US Olympic team

COLORADO SPRINGS – USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo announced today that New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon is among the 20 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team. The official 12-man U.S. Olympic team roster will be announced later this year. Eight 2008 Olympic gold medalists, 10 members of the 2010 USA World Championship gold medal winning team, one national team player and one newcomer to the USA Basketball National Team.

Gordon (6-3, 220), played in the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey helping the team to a perfect 9-0 record en route to winning the gold medal. He averaged 8.6 points while finishing second on the team in three-pointers made (19) in international play. In two games with the Hornets this season, Gordon is averaging 21.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 39.0 minutes of play. Drafted with the 7th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Clippers, he averaged career-highs of 22.3 points, 4.4 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 56 games last season (all starts). He scored 30+ points eight times last season, put together a streak of 20 or more points in 12 consecutive games and had 36 20+ point games overall. The Indianapolis native holds career averages of 18.1 points, 3.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game over 196 games (181 starts). Gordon was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2009 and was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month in January of his rookie season. He went to Indiana University for one season before declaring for the draft, where he averaged 20.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 32 games.

Named as a finalist for the 2012 USA team were: 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); 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); 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). Griffin was also officially added to the USA Basketball National Team roster.

“The USA Basketball Men’s National Team program has come a long way as the elite list of players who are now part of our program shows. The selected finalists are a very, very talented group; the depth of the talent is extraordinary. This selection decision was as difficult of a challenge as I’ve faced since I took on the USA National Team program in 2005,” said Colangelo, who has served as the managing director of the USA Men’s National Team since 2005.

“I feel like we have an outstanding blend of talents from the 2008 Olympic and 2010 World Championship teams that won gold. Reducing to the official roster limit of 12 players will be an even tougher decision, but we’ll evaluate how guys play during the 2011-12 NBA season and as we’ve done with our teams in the past, we’ll attempt to select the very best team we can.”

“Jerry has built an extremely deep and talented USA National Team roster of 35 players and I want to thank each player for their incredible commitment to being part of USA Basketball. Reducing to 20 players was unbelievably difficult,” stated Krzyzewski, who has coached USA National Teams to a sterling 48-1 record since 2006.

“Aside from the obvious special basketball talents that all of these players possess, what struck me most about the finalists was their commitment to USA Basketball and the international basketball experience they have compiled. Among our 20 finalists, we have two players who possess 55 or more games of international experience, two with 40 or more international games under their belts and eight others who have played between 23 and 38 international games – that’s a lot of experience, which is going to be extremely valuable.

“These players have helped restore the winning tradition of USA Basketball while also gaining the respect of people around the world for the manner in which they have done it,” added Krzyzewski.

Three of the finalists are two-time Olympic medalists, including Anthony (2004 bronze and 2008 gold), James (2004 bronze and 2008 gold) and Wade (2004 bronze and 2008 gold).

Eight of the selected finalists were members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team that compiled an unblemished record of 8-0 and captured gold in Beijing, including Anthony, Bosh, Bryant, Howard, James, Paul, Wade and Williams. Four finalists – Anthony, James, Odom and Wade - were part of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team that earned the bronze medal.

Ten finalists were members of the 2010 USA World Championship squad that went 9-0 and captured gold in Istanbul, Turkey. Billups, Chandler, World Championship MVP Durant, Gay, Gordon, Iguodala, Love, Odom, Rose and Westbrook were all members of the USA World Championship Team.

The finalists represent 14 different NBA teams, with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers leading the way with three players each; while the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder each have two players among the 20; and the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers each are represented by one player.

Eighteen of the finalists possess impressive international experience with Anthony leading the way with 59 games of international experience. He is followed by James (55), Williams (47), Wade (40), Howard (38), Paul (37), Bosh (32), Billups (30), Odom (28), Chandler (25), Bryant (24), Gay (23), Durant (17), Iguodala (16), Rose (16), Gordon (15), Love (15) and Westbrook (15). Aldridge, who was a member of the 2008 USA Select Team that trained against the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, and Griffin, who is the youngest finalist at 22-years-old, have not played in an international game.

The USA’s complete training schedule will be released at a later date.

2012 London Olympic Games

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 remaining three Olympic qualifying spots will be determined through the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament that will be held July 2-8, 2012, in Caracas, Venezuela. The Olympic qualifier will feature 12 nations from each of the five 2011 FIBA zone qualifying tournaments including: Angola and Nigeria from FIBA Africa; the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela from FIBA Americas (bronze medalist through fifth-place finishers); Jordan and South Korea from FIBA Asia (silver and bronze medalists); Russia, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Lithuania and Greece from FIBA Europe (bronze medalists through sixth place finishers); and New Zealand from FIBA Oceania.

Preliminary play at the ‘12 Olympics will be held July 29-Aug. 6, with quarterfinals play scheduled for Aug. 8, semifinals on Aug. 10 and the finals is slated for Aug. 12.

The U.S. men have collected a medal in all 16 Olympics in which they have competed, including 13 golds, one silver and two bronze. The Americans own an impressive 122-5 overall win-loss record (.961 winning percentage) in Olympic action, and since NBA players began representing the United States in 1992, the USA is 37-3 in the five Olympics they have participated in, capturing four gold medals and one bronze medal.

2012 USA Basketball

Men’s Olympic Team Finalists

LaMarcus Aldridge F/C 6-11 240 7/19/85 Portland Trail Blazers / University of Texas

Carmelo Anthony F 6-8 230 5/29/84 New York Knicks / Syracuse University

Chauncey Billups G 6-3 202 9/25/76 Los Angeles Clippers / University of Colorado

Chris Bosh F 6-10 230 3/24/84 Miami Heat / Georgia Tech

Kobe Bryant G 6-6 205 8/23/78 Los Angeles Lakers / Lower Merion H.S. (PA)

Tyson Chandler C 7-1 235 10/02/82 New York Knicks / Dominguez H.S. (CA)

Kevin Durant G 6-9 230 9/29/88 Oklahoma City Thunder / University of Texas

Rudy Gay F 6-8 230 8/17/86 Memphis Grizzlies / University of Connecticut

Eric Gordon G 6-3 222 12/25/88 New Orleans Hornets / Indiana University

Blake Griffin F 6-10 251 3/16/89 Los Angeles Clippers / University of Oklahoma

Dwight Howard F/C 6-11 265 12/08/85 Orlando Magic / Southwest Atlanta Christian Acd. (GA)

Andre Iguodala G/F 6-6 207 1/28/84 Philadelphia 76ers / University of Arizona

LeBron James F 6-8 250 12/30/84 Miami Heat / St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S. (OH)

Kevin Love F 6-10 260 9/07/88 Minnesota Timberwolves / UCLA

Lamar Odom F 6-10 230 11/06/79 Dallas Mavericks / University of Rhode Island

Chris Paul G 6-0 175 5/06/85 Los Angeles Clippers / Wake Forest University

Derrick Rose G 6-3 190 10/04/88 Chicago Bulls / University of Memphis

Dwyane Wade G 6-4 220 1/17/82 Miami Heat / Marquette University

Russell Westbrook G 6-3 187 11/12/88 Oklahoma City Thunder / UCLA

Deron Williams G 6-3 207 7/26/84 New Jersey Nets / University of Illinois


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