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News » Thunder trio play with 'rising stars'

Thunder trio play with 'rising stars'

Thunder trio play with 'rising stars'
Three Thunder players are participating this week in a minicamp for "rising NBA players" that will help determine which players will be considered to play on the U.S. men's Basketball team in the 2012 Olympics.

Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook are among 25 players in a three-day minicamp in Las Vegas that culminates with an intra-squad scrimmage Saturday night.

"It means a lot (to be invited), but I know I have a long ways to go," Durant said. "If I continue to work hard, you never know what might happen."

USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo announced Tuesday that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and the staff that led Team USA to the gold medal last summer in Beijing will all return to coach the next three summers.

Team USA will compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey. If the Americans win, they automatically qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.

If necessary, they will compete in the 2011 Olympic qualifying tournament.

"All these players will be given full consideration as we move forward for both competitions," Krzyzewski said. "It gives us a chance to see them and to see who is added to the pool of players that we have to draw from.

"Durant almost was on our 2006 World Championship team. Jeff Green was here (last summer) for a select team. This is Westbrook's first time. They've already put a lot of effort into this."

There's been speculation a few of the NBA's top stars might not participate next summer.

"To have (three) outstanding young players in the NBA speaks well for that franchise," Colangelo said. "As to how many spots will be open, only time will tell. But we recognize there will always be turnover. Players involved now will be our future Olympians.

"It's only a matter of when."

Colangelo said seven players - LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Chris Bosh - said in February at the All-Star Game they plan to participate next summer and the 2012 Olympics.

Krzyzewski's staff will include Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Mike D'Antoni (New York Knicks) and Nate McMillan (Portland Trail Blazers).

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: July 24, 2009


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