Colangelo was intrigued by Davis‘ skills, but the national player of the year at Kentucky sprained his ankle last week and was not able to take part this week, robbing him of a chance to show he was ready to handle international competition now.
Iguodala was frequently assigned the role of shutting down the opponent’s best player two years ago in the world basketball championship, and he previously had scrimmaged against the U.S. on the select team of young players, so Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski knew what he could do.
“I think they’ve just seen that I can pretty much play alongside pretty much anybody and still make an impact on the game. I don’t necessarily have to have the ball to make an impact on either end,” the 76ers swingman and first-time All-Star said. “I’ve been playing with Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, pure scorers, and when I get in, it won’t be a problem for me to fit in with those guys. I’ll jell right along with them right away.”
Colangelo said he believed this team was deeper and better than the ‘08 squad, but added that “only time will tell.”
The injuries leave the Americans short-handed at center, where Howard started four years ago in Beijing and Bosh backed him up. Chandler is the only natural center left, so the Americans will be forced to use some players out of their normal NBA positions.
But what remains is still the most athletic team in the world, with potent scorers at nearly every spot, and the Americans will look to overcome any size disadvantage by punishing teams in transition. Griffin said expects to be strictly at the center spot.
The Americans opened training camp Friday and will practice here through next Wednesday, then play an exhibition game against the Dominican Republic on Thursday.
The players who were not selected will be alternates who could be replacements in case of further injuries up until 48 hours before the July 27 start of the Olympics. Davis will stick around just in case, playing on the select team.
“I think we have guys on the team that’s definitely hungry at this point, especially young guys that want to go out and prove themselves,” Anthony said. “They’ve been showing that over the last couple of days in practice. What we put together in `08, we will never duplicate that again. But this is a new team, this is a new situation and this team wants to form their own identity.”
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