By Brandon Pope | BSU at the Games
A major shake-up occurred with the Team USA men’s basketball roster this week.
Anthony Davis, who is coming off an NCAA Championship with the University of Kentucky Wildcats, and Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden have been added to the list of finalists for the 2012 USA Basketball National Team.
“After a lot of deliberations, after reviewing our roster, we think these two additions strengthen our National Team program immeasurably,” USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo said.
“James Harden probably is the sixth man of the year in the NBA, and Anthony Davis brings a dimension to our pool we don’t have. He’s young, but it’s exciting to think about the possibilities.”
Anthony Davis has represented USA Basketball before.
As a high school senior, he was selected as a member of USA Basketball’s Junior National Select Team, which competed at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit. Davis finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots to help the U.S. to a 92-80 win over the World Select Team.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be this young and have a chance to represent my country,” Davis said. “This is a great opportunity. I’m excited to be a part of something like this.”
James Harden becomes the third member of the Oklahoma City Thunder named to the finalist’s roster. In just three years in the NBA, he’s already emerged as one of the league’s top players. If Harden makes the final 12, it will be his first time representing the U.S. abroad.
“Being named as a finalist for the USA Basketball National Team is an unbelievable feeling and an opportunity that is truly humbling,” Harden said. “It is an honor to be included with such talented players and I look forward to the chance to represent my country this summer.”
The additions come after news many of the original U.S. National Team finalists will not be able to make the trip to London.
Most recently, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose suffered a torn ACL in the NBA playoffs, ending his season and eliminating him from Olympic contention.
Shortly before, two key big men were also ruled out for the Games.
Orlando magic center Dwight Howard underwent back surgery to repair a herniated disk. Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum opted to skip the 2012 Olympic Games to undergo the same off-season knee surgery his teammate Kobe Bryant did last summer in Germany.
The National Team’s injury woes began with Portland Trailblazers forward Lamarcus Aldridge’s hip injury in early April. He won’t be ready for international competition either.
Harden and Davis will begin their push to make the final 12 on July 6 at the team’s training camp in Las Vegas. The official 12-man U.S. Olympic roster will be announced shortly after.
Brandon Pope is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering fencing, volleyball and basketball for BSU at the Games. Follow Brandon and the BSU team at @bpopeizdope, @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.