Originally created 01/12/00

Mourning, Allen join Olympic team

Grant Hill, Alonzo Mourning and Ray Allen were officially added to the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team Tuesday, with Mourning warning that a gold medal will not be automatic.

"It's not just a shoo-in," Mourning said. "A lot of teams are preparing themselves to dismantle the U.S.

"With our collection of talent we should get the job done, but it's not going to be easy. We can't lay down and expect them to just give it to us," Mourning said.

The U.S. team's 12-man roster is now complete, with the three newcomers joining Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Gary Payton, Tim Hardaway, Steve Smith, Allan Houston, Vin Baker, Tom Gugliotta and Jason Kidd.

The team will assemble in August for training camp before competing in the Olympics from Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Sydney, Australia.

As usual, the United States will be a prohibitive favorite to win the gold medal.

The U.S. team has a record of 101-2 in Olympic play, including 16-0 since professionals were allowed to play beginning in 1992 with the original Dream Team in Barcelona.

That team routed opponents by an average of 43.8 points. Since then, the average margin of victory in Olympic, world championship and Olympic qualifying tournaments has steadily shrunk.

Recent scares for the U.S. team, if they can be called that, include the 1996 gold medal game in Atlanta and last summer's first-round game against Brazil at the qualifying tournament in Puerto Rice.

Against Yugoslavia in 1996, the U.S. team led by just one point with 14 minutes remaining before breaking the game open and winning by 36.

Against Brazil, the Americans led by three points early in the second half before going on to win by 17.

When the Olympics begin, there's no telling whether the rest of the world will have caught up some more to the best basketball players on the planet.

"Yugoslavia always has a good team. You can't count Russia out, and I hear the home team (Australia) has a pretty good team with some good shooters," Mourning said.

Aside from those three, the rest of the Olympic field consists of China, Angola, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, France, Lithuania and Canada.

Mourning, a center for Miami, was a member of the 1990 Goodwill Games and world championships team and the 1994 world championships team. He is averaging 23.0 points and an NBA-leading 4.59 blocks a game for the Heat.

Hill, a member of the Olympic team in Atlanta, is averaging a career-high 27.8 points for the Detroit Pistons.

Allen, who beat out Vince Carter of Toronto for the final spot by a 6-3 vote of the selection committee, is averaging a career-high 21.9 points for the Milwaukee Bucks.

"The three players bring a tremendous amount of additional talent to our national team," said NBA vice president Rod Thorn, also chairman of the USA Basketball selection committee. "Mourning brings a terrific inside game, rebounding, shot-blocking and the ability to run the open court.

"Hill can score and pass, play multiple positions and has tremendous flexibility, while Allen is a pure shooter who will help us when we go against a zone defense plus he's an all-around athlete who can play many positions."


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