Feb 19, 2009; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans forward DeMar DeRozan (10), left, and forward Taj Gibson (22) battle for a rebound against the Washington State Cougars at the Galen Center. USC defeated Washington State 61-51. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
The USA men’s basketball select team was announced today, and two names familiar to Trojan Nation have been named to it. DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors and Taj Gibson of the Chicago Bulls are among the NBA players invited to join the select team for this Olympic year.
The 2012 NBA select team is the squad that will join Team USA in Las Vegas this summer and practice against it in preparation for the Olympic games in London.
DeRozan and Gibson played together at USC during the 2008-2009 season, a season where the Trojans bested UCLA in the final round of the then-Pac-10 tournament and earned a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Trojans ended up losing in the second round to eventual champions Michigan State, and at the end of the season both DeRozan and Gibson left USC for the pros. Since in the NBA, we saw Taj Gibson start at power forward for most of his rookie season, play in the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend Rookie Challenge (which the rookies won for the first time since 2002), be named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, and make the playoffs each year since he has been in the league. As for DeMar DeRozan, we saw him compete in the 2010 and 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk competition at the NBA All-Star games. The Raptors haven’t been doing so well as a squad, but DeRozan is one of the bright lights for that franchise.
The other NBA players invited to join the USA Select Team include: DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Jeremy Lin (New York Knicks), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), John Wall (Washington Wizards), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), DeJuan Blair (San Antonio Spurs), Ryan Anderson (Orlando Magic), Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz), Gibson and DeRozan.
The opening ceremony of the 2010 London Olympic Games will take place on Friday, July 27th.