by Devon Jeffreys, July 08, 2012
Deron Williams is headed to London with a gold medal on his mind.
After two days of practice in Las Vegas, USA Basketball narrowed down a group of 15 of the league's top talents to the 12 men that will constitute Team USA at the Summer Olympics in London later this month. As expected, D-Will is a big part of that team.
Deron was one of three point guards selected to the team. He will be joined in the backcourt rotation by Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook as well as shooting guards Kobe Bryant and James Harden. Team USA is also stacked at forward with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Andre Iguodala and Blake Griffin. Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love round out the team as the big men in the middle.
"I'm just excited about playing with this group of guys and playing really competitive basketball," he told Sports Illustrated. "I haven't been to the playoffs for the last two years, so it kind of feels like the playoffs for me. I'm getting a chance to win something."
D-Will is one of only five holdovers from the 2008 U.S Olympic team, which dominated the games, running out to an 5-0 record during the preliminary round in Beijing and followed that with a 31-point win over Australia in the quarterfinals, a 20-point win over Argentina in the semi-finals and an 11-point victory over Spain in the gold-medal game.
"I'm looking forward to it," D-Will said of playing on Team USA again. "The first go around was really special winning the gold medal. I look forward to this opportunity. Representing my country, putting on the USA jersey and getting a chance to go out there and compete. Playing with these types of guys is a twice in a lifetime opportunity."
Over the course of eight games in 2008, Deron averaged 19 minutes, eight points, 2.8 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game. With 2008 USA starting point guard Jason Kidd retired from international competition, D-Will is expected to see bigger minutes and take on a bigger role for the 2012 team.
"He can play both [guard] positions," Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Deron can put amazing pressure on the ball. He's big, strong, and he just fits the international game to a T. But in addition to that, he can really score the ball and lead."
Team USA will continue training in Las Vegas this week in advance of their first exhibition game on Thursday night. They'll face the Dominican Republic at the Thomas & Mack Center at 6 p.m. PDT. That game will be broadcast live on ESPN.
The team will also train and play exhibitions in Washington, D.C., Manchester, England and Barcelona, Spain before heading to London on July 26th. Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics are July 27th. Click here to see Team USA's full schedule before the Olympics.
- 2012 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team Takes The Court For First Practice As 12-Member Unit (USA Basketball, July 8, 2012)
- Williams opens up about Howard, Team USA, Nets' future and more (SI.com, July 8, 2012)
- U.S. Olympic Basketball Roster Is Versatile, but Not Tall (New York Times, July 7, 2012)
- Williams Officially on Olympic Roster (Nets Daily, July 7, 2012)