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U.S. National team announced

The 22-member U.S. National team was unveiled yesterday by director of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo. The players, to be coached by Duke's Coack K (Mike Krzyzewski), will compete for 12 active (and three inactive) roster spots for the 2006 World Championships in Japan and the 2008 Olympics in China. Including a lone Piston, Chauncey Billups, the squad looks like this:

Chauncey Billups, DetroitChauncey will not participate in the World Championships this summer due to the birth of his kid, but he'll take part in the training camps leading up to the event.
Carmelo Anthony, Denver
Gilbert Arenas, Washington
Shane Battier, Memphis
Chris Bosh, Toronto
Bruce Bowen, San Antonio
Elton Brand, L.A. Clippers
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
Dwight Howard, Orlando
Josh Howard, Dallas
LeBron James, Cleveland
Antawn Jamison, Washington
Joe Johnson, Atlanta
Rashard Lewis, Seattle
Shawn Marion, Phoenix
Brad Miller, Sacramento
Chris Paul, NO/Okla. City
Paul Pierce, Boston
Michael Redd, Milwaukee
Luke Ridnour, Seattle
Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix
Dwyane Wade, Miami

In addition to the above, three spots are being held for younger players, presumed to be Adam Morrison, J.J. Redick, and high-schooler Greg Oden (unfortunately, a future Ohio State Buckeye), and Colangelo has issued a standing invitation to Shaq (aka, Kazaam) to join the team at a later date.

From a quick glance at the roster, it seems that Colangelo has held to his promise of selecting a couple role players in an effort to build a true "team" rather than an All-Star exhibition squad. That Bruce Bowen and Shane Battier made the cut, while AI--who was extremely vocal about his desire to be on the team--was left off, speaks volumes about the new approach being taken by USA Basketball. That said, it remains to be seen if any role players are on the active roster come tournament time.

I am a little disappointed that Rip, Tay Tay, and Ben chose not to participate on this squad. In my eyes, the Pistons play a brand of ball that translates well to the international game: excellent passing, solid perimeter shooting, quick-but not overly physical-defense, and consistent free throw shooting (Ben excluded). And while I won't pass judgment on someone for wanting to spend an offseason with their family, as a fan 1) it would have added even more excitement to see our red, white, and blue representing the Red, White, and Blue,Note, though, that Chauncey will not be the only Piston playing in the Olympics. Don't ever sleep on Miami Vice. and 2) it would have made the team that much better equipped to take on the Argentineans, Italians, and Lithuanians.

Regardless of how the final roster shakes out, it will be the only time in the next two years that I'm rooting for the likes of Coach K, Carmelo Anthony, Bruce Bowen, or Dwayne Wade.

Chauncey, et al will be trying to erase the memory of the last Team USA, bronze medal winners at the 2004 Olympics.

Bryant, James, Wade among those on U.S. roster [ESPN]