Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The 2012 Summer Olympics in London are
quickly approaching, and several amateurs from the NCAA are expected to play
for their respective countries. The following players are on preliminary
rosters of qualified teams:
United States - Anthony Davis (Kentucky) - The predicted No. 1 overall pick in
the upcoming NBA Draft may be making a trip overseas before making his
professional debut. Davis showed he is a tremendous shot blocker with great
size, length and athleticism while leading Kentucky to the national title
during his freshman season. Dwight Howard had back surgery in April which make
his participation in the summer games impossible, thus opening a void up front
on the USA's roster as it selects its final 12. Davis will be the first player
to play for the United States without any major professional experience since
1992 when Christian Laettner was selected to the Dream Team.
Following the London games, the NBA will push for the Olympics to implement an
under-23 format similar to the one soccer uses to prevent its stars from
playing all year round. If the new format is selected and Davis makes the final
cut, the 19-year old star will be the only player on the roster eligible to
play in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Davis will get his first taste of playing against the elite as he practices
with the Mike Krzyzewski-coached U.S. national team.
Great Britain - Andrew Lawrence (College of Charleston) - The 6-1 guard
competed for his country in the 2011 qualifying events and is hoping to be a
contributing backup guard for Great Britain. This past season as a junior,
Lawrence averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 assists per game while leading the
College of Charleston to a 19-12 overall record. The Cougars' point guard was
a candidate for the 2012 Bob Cousy Award as he consistently displayed his
excellent ball handling and passing skills while also serving as a viable
Northwestern guard Alex Marcotullio and UAB forward Ovie Soko are both members
of Great Britain's preliminary 21-man roster. Marcotullio was a key component
off the bench for the Wildcats, who narrowly missed being the first team in
school history to reach the NCAA Tournament. He appeared in 29 games and
averaged 5.2 points. Soko, who has announced his intention to transfer at the
end of the season, averaged 8.3 ppg in 2011-12 for the Blazers.
Australia - Matthew Dellavedova (Saint Mary's-CA) - The Gaels made history this
past season by winning both the West Coast Conference regular season and
conference tournament championships for the first time in school history.
Dellavedova earned the WCC Player of the Year Award and led the team with 22
points in the conference tourney championship game. The 6-4 point guard was a
member of the Australian National Team that qualified for the 2012 London
Olympics last summer with a series win over New Zealand. He backed up SMC Alum,
Patty Mills during the qualifying series.
There are still three spots open in the Olympic basketball tournament.
Robert Loe, who started all 34 games for a Saint Louis Billikens squad that
reached the Sweet 16 in 2012, is a member of New Zealand's Senior National
Gregory Echenique, a center for Creighton, started for the Venezuelan National
Team this summer, which placed fifth in the FIBA Americas Tournament and will
play in an Olympic qualifier.
Karl Towns, a 16-year old center for St. Joseph's High School in Metuchen, New
Jersey, made the Dominican Republic's National Team and will compete in the
qualifying contests in early July. The young center, who is a highly-coveted
NCAA recruit, will be playing alongside NBA forwards under the direction of the
DR's coach, Kentucky's John Calipari.
The experience these NCAA athletes get playing against the world's best during
their off-season can help them makes huge strides that can only benefit them
moving forward. When these amateur players are exposed to a professional work
ethic, the result usually makes their college coaches very happy.
The Sports Network