Ex-Cats

USA Basketball Olympic roster official, includes DeMarcus Cousins

The United States’ DeMarcus Cousins reacts during the final World Basketball match between the United States and Serbia at the Palacio de los Deportes stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014.
The United States’ DeMarcus Cousins reacts during the final World Basketball match between the United States and Serbia at the Palacio de los Deportes stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. AP

The United States selected its 12-player roster, led by Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, that will try to win the Americans’ third straight Olympic basketball gold medal.

Durant and Anthony are the only players with Olympic experience after a number of stars, including LeBron James, decided not to go to Rio.

Former University of Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins — now with the Sacramento Kings — also made the team, along with Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes; Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan; Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving; Indiana’s Paul George; Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan.

“The opportunity to represent my country at the Olympic Games is one of the greatest honors I’ve experienced in my career,” Cousins said in a statement released by the Sacramento Kings. “I’m excited to contribute towards USA Basketball’s winning legacy and continuing its tremendous reputation around the world.”

Irving was the MVP of the 2014 Basketball World Cup on a U.S. team that included Thompson, Cousins and DeRozan, and easily won gold.

Cousins averaged 9.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.3 steals, and he shot a team-high 70.2 percent from the field in 13.8 minutes a game in the World Cup.

The Americans should roll into Rio as the favorites. Yet they won’t look as imposing as expected after the withdrawals of Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and James Harden.

Davis was among the 30 finalists for a spot on the 2016 squad, but he removed his name for consideration as he recovered from offseason surgery. John Wall also was a finalist but withdrew his name for consideration after offseason surgery as well.

“We’re very, very positive about the talent level and then the individual strengths of this team,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said. “We’re long, we’re athletic. I think we have some terrific defenders as well as terrific shooters and the versatility is over the top.”

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will coach the Americans for the third and final time, tying Henry Iba’s team record, and be assisted by Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, Minnesota Timberwolves Coach Tom Thibodeau and former Oklahoma City assistant Monty Williams.

The U.S. will start training for the Olympics in Las Vegas and play exhibition games in Las Vegas, Oakland, Calif., Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston before leaving for Rio. The U.S. will train against the USA Men’s Select Team, which features former Wildcats Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein and Julius Randle.

Team USA’s opening game in Rio will take place Aug. 6 against China. It is scheduled to tip at 6 p.m. ET.

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