Kirk Hinrich joined Greg Oden and Shane Battier in pulling out
of U.S. training camp Monday, removing what may have been one of
the toughest roster decisions the team would have faced.
Seattle forward Nick Collison also was added to the squad,
leaving the Americans with 16 players as they return to Las Vegas
for practice starting Wednesday. The roster must be trimmed to 12
the day before the FIBA Americas tournament begins on Aug. 22.
Hinrich and Battier withdrew for personal reasons. Oden, the No.
1 pick in the NBA draft by Portland, had his tonsils out last month
and opted not to take part in camp.
Hinrich played in all nine games for the Americans last year in
the world championships, starting three of them. But with Jason
Kidd and Chauncey Billups joining the team this summer, the Chicago
guard was likely going to have a tough battle with Utah's Deron Williams for the third point guard spot.
Hinrich played only 13 minutes last month in the intrasquad
scrimmage to close minicamp. Only J.J. Redick played less.
Battier also was a frequent starter in Japan. He was in minicamp
but wasn't expected to return this week because of a family matter,
with Detroit's Tayshaun Prince or Mike Miller of Memphis possibly
taking his spot.
The Americans will train from Aug. 15-20 at a Las Vegas high
school, scrimmaging against a select team of young NBA players.
They face Venezuela in the opener of the 10-nation regional
qualifying tournament, needing to finish in the top two to clinch a
spot in the 2008 Olympics.
The rest of the players expected in camp include: Kobe Bryant,
LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Michael Redd.
The select team also lost a pair of players Monday when
Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge (sore left heel) and Golden State's
Monta Ellis (strained back) were forced to withdraw. Eight players
remain for that roster, though USA Basketball managing director
Jerry Colangelo previously said that Redick may be moved to the