Team USA doesn’t plan on taking the easy path to defending its Olympic gold medal.
In advance of the 2012 Olympics in London, the United States has lined up five exhibition games, including showdowns with nemeses Spain and Argentina.
The U.S. also will play Brazil, the Dominican Republic and host Britain in the lead-up to the Olympics, USA Basketball announced Friday.
“We have again scheduled an extremely challenging lineup of exhibition opponents for our USA Men’s National Team,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. “In addition to playing world powers Spain and Argentina, the team will also face FIBA Americas powers Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
“Add in what I’m sure will be a very competitive game in Manchester vs. Great Britain, and we have an exciting tour schedule we believe will help get our team as best prepared as possible for the summer.”
Team USA lost to Argentina at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis and the 2004 Olympics in Athens. It beat Argentina in the bronze medal game at the 2006 Worlds and the semifinals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Spain won the 2006 World Championships after beating Greece, which stunned the U.S. in the semifinals. In the 2008 Olympics, Spain battled Team USA to the final minutes of the gold medal game before losing, 118-107.
Spain rebounded by winning Eurobasket 2011 and is considered the biggest threat to Team USA’s recently reclaimed international dominance. The Americans, Spaniards and Argentines are 1-2-3 in FIBA’s world rankings.
Here’s Team USA’s summer schedule:
July 6-11 – Training camp in Las Vegas
July 12 – Exhibition game vs. Dominican Republic in Las Vegas
July 13-15 – Training camp moves to Washington
July 16 – Exhibition game vs. Brazil in Washington
July 17-18 – Training camp moves to Manchester, England
July 19 – Exhibition game vs. Britain in Manchester
July 22 – Exhibition game vs. Argentina in Barcelona, Spain
July 24 – Exhibition game vs. Spain in Barcelona, Spain
The players invited to training camp as roster finalists are LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams.
The roster must be reduced to 12 players. Billups has a torn Achilles tendon and will not participate.
Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski’s staff includes assistants Mike D’Antoni of New York, Nate McMillan of Portland and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse University.