Yes, Amare Stoudemire can be in news not centered around trade rumors. The Phoenix Suns forward/center was one of 27 players named to the USA National Team earlier this morning. The roster features 11 former Olympians, including nine gold medalists.
“It means a lot,” Stoudemire said of being named to the USA National Team. “The fact that I’ve been with those guys maybe four years prior to the Olympics, to finally be healthy enough to get back out there and play is a great feeling for me.”
STAT was a member of the 2004 team that won the bronze medal in Athens, Greece. Amare was also part of the Team USA program leading up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and competed in the 2007 FIBA Americas, but just before the 12-man roster was announced for the Olympics, Stoudemire turned down the opportunity to play, citing injury concerns as the reason.
“Amaré has pulled himself out of consideration for the roster and that’s predicated on, despite the fact that he’s had an injury-free year coming back (from knee surgeries in 2005 and 2006), he’s a little hesitant on pushing the envelope too hard,” USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo told The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro in 2008.
Amare’s departure from the team in 2008 made it unclear to Colangelo whether or not STAT was interested in being part of the program this time around.
“There was a time when he was really not going to be considered,” Colangelo said in a teleconference call this morning. “Had he not really reached out through his own efforts personally and his agent about his dream, desire to be part of it, he would not have been a part of it. As a result of his expression of interest we’ve reconsidered and he is now part of the pool.”
STAT will now join the 26 other NBA standouts, and Colangelo and Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski couldn’t be happier.
“I really love Amare,” Krzyzewski said. “We developed a great relationship staff-wise with Amare. He practiced and was with us quite a bit during the last quad and he’s an All-Star player. Whether it be in a starting role, a backup role, he can play. The other thing he can do is he really runs the court well.
“We’ve taken a lot of what Mike D’Antoni did with the Phoenix team when he was coaching there and incorporated it along with some other things on our national team, so you know he has a good feel for the offensive system that we run.”