Gay U.S. Olympic Finalist

Former Connecticut basketball standout Rudy Gay, now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA, has been named one of 20 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team.

Here's the complete release from USA Basketball:

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 were among the 20 finalists named today for the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team by USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo. The official 12-man U.S. Olympic team roster will be announced later this year.

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 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 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.


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