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Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Updated: May 24, 2:32 AM ET
Oden and Durant on Team USA roster; LeBron up in the air

Associated Press

Greg Oden and Kevin Durant are headed to USA Basketball camp. LeBron James' summer plans still seem up in the air.

What a Prince

The lip service USA Basketball has paid to selecting more than a glorified All-Star team to represent the country has finally taken a turn with the addition of Pistons small forward Tayshaun Prince. He, of course, never has been an All-Star. He's simply a winner, which is why it's no accident that Detroit has won at least 50 games all five seasons he's been with them.

Prince is exactly the kind of savvy player essential to success in international competition, where mental tenacity trumps vertical hops and chemistry is more important than individual excellence. Not that Prince, at 6-9 with a 7-foot wingspan, can't play above the rim or break off electric moves -- they're just way down his priority list.

Prince's excellence for the Pistons has hinged on his ability to make whatever adjustments necessary to fit his game around that of his teammates. That's why Detroit's four other starters were All-Stars and you've never heard a peep from Prince about respect or touches. Sure, his 14 points and five rebounds a game this season look rather modest. But need someone to smother LeBron? Check. Need someone to light up Luol Deng? Check. Bury a 3, score on the block, reject a sure layup, grab a rally-killing rebound? Check, check, check, check.

-- Ric Bucher

The United States added eight players to its roster Wednesday, highlighted by the college stars who figure to be the top two picks in the NBA draft.

"To show that they already have this commitment to playing for the United States at this age is terrific," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said during a conference call. "Hopefully they'll play many, many years for the United States."

Jason Kidd, Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, Mike Miller, Tayshaun Prince and Tyson Chandler also were invited to Las Vegas for training camp in July, a month before the Americans will try to qualify for the 2008 Olympics.

James, one of the team's captains, has called himself only "50-50" to join his teammates in the tournament because his girlfriend is expecting a baby next month and he wants to rest.

"I've been pretty clear on the fact that the commitments have worked both ways. These three-year commitments, we expect people to honor those," USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said. "But we have things that come up in life, let's be realistic about that. Injuries, family situations, and so I want to take each case individually.

"At this point regarding LeBron, I think it's hearsay. Because what I'm hearing from his people is something different than what I've seen printed in the papers. So I'm not going to deal with that now. We'll deal with it when it's time."

Colangelo also said Phoenix star Amare Stoudemire called Krzyzewski on Tuesday to confirm his participation. Stoudemire, who had two knee surgeries last year, seemed hesitant to play after the Suns' season ended.

The Americans hoped to have this summer off, but instead were forced to qualify for the Olympics after failing to win the world championships last summer. They lost in the semifinals to Greece, whose bigger guards took advantage of the smaller U.S. backcourt.

Kidd and Williams should help that weakness.

"The international guards, a lot of them are big. It's much more physical," Krzyzewski said. "There's much more physical contact on the ballhandler, and if you don't match that strength you can get knocked back and it affects the way run your offense and defense."

Oden and Chandler add the rebounding and shot blocking that Colangelo sought, Prince is an excellent defensive player, and Miller gives the Americans some sorely needed perimeter shooting.

"There was a rhyme and reason for every player who was an addition to this roster," Colangelo said.

The Americans will gather for training camp from July 20-22, with a blue-white game on the last day. The roster will be trimmed before the team returns to camp in August.

Besides the players added Wednesday, the Americans are also getting back Kobe Bryant, Chauncey Billups and Michael Redd, who couldn't play last summer. The final 12-man roster for the FIBA Americas tournament must be submitted the day before the Aug. 22 start.

Oden and Durant will have a chance to be on it. Even if they aren't, being in camp gives them experience for future international play.

"They stand to be prominently displayed," Colangelo said.

The Americans will clinch a berth in Beijing by finishing in the top two in the qualifier. Boozer, back with USA Basketball after playing for the bronze-medal team in the 2004 Olympics, wants to do better than that.

"We want to send a message and a tone throughout the rest of the world that we mean business," he said.