Team USA to prep for Olympics in Shanghai

Jun 2, 2008 - 6:48 AM SHANGHAI, China (Ticker) -- The United States senior men's basketball team will complete its training for this summer's Beijing Olympics by participating in the USA Basketball International Challenge in Shanghai, China, from August 2-6.

Team USA, which will be making its first trip to Shanghai, will face Russia and Australia in the challenge.

"The games vs. Russia and Australia will without doubt be very challenging and feature a pair of opponents who are their zone's champions and very talented teams," said Jerry Colangelo, managing director of the USA Basketball men's senior program.

"The Qizhong Arena is an outstanding venue for these games and the USA Basketball International Challenge will afford basketball fans in and around Shanghai a remarkable opportunity to see three of the world's very best teams show their abilities."

Led by Andrei Kirilenko of the Utah Jazz, Russia is the 2007 EuroBasket champion after defeating reigning world champion Spain, 60-59, on a last-second shot.

Australia, for its part, is the 2007 FIBA Oceania champion after taking the first two games of a best-of-three series with rival New Zealand. It is led by Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut, who is a former No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.

According to coach Mike Krzyzewski, both opponents will offer his team some much-needed tough competition prior to the Olympics.

"Our games in the USA Basketball International Challenge are a critical part of our team's overall preparations," he said. "All of the teams involved are very competitive and respected international teams, so we know we will be challenged each time we take the court.

"Our early arrival in China will afford us the opportunity to adjust to the time change and help us focus on our final training period. Needless to say, this training and these games will be critical to our success."

Team USA will have a mini-training camp from June 27-29 in Las Vegas. The 12 players selected from that camp will be nominated to participate in the Olympics. Following a three-week break, Team USA will reconvene for training in Las Vegas on July 20.

The United States, which handily won the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, likely will feature some of the premier players in the world - including current NBA finalist and NBA Most Valuable Player Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who is recovering from knee and shoulder surgeries, also could join Bryant. There are 29 other candidates for the open spots.

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