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July 7, 2012

Iguodala headed to Olympics with Team USA

LAS VEGAS - Andre Iguodala has had quite the string of good fortune the past few months. The former Arizona standout was selected to his first All-Star team after eight years in the NBA and his Philadelphia 76ers were just a win away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001.

Now, add a U.S. men's national team roster spot and a trip to London for the Olympics to his plate.

Iguodala was one of 12 players selected by Team USA chairman Jerry Colangelo, who announced the roster Saturday night at the Wynn Hotel and Casino. The 6-6 forward will team with league most valuable player LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Tyson Chandler, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and James Harden in an effort to defend the gold medal won in Beijing in 2008.

"It's been a really good week for me, especially today," Iguodala told GOAZCATS.com. "I'm excited about the opportunity so I really want to make the most of it."

Earlier in the day, Iguodala received a call to meet with Colangelo in his hotel room. Also there was Harden and Griffin, who were among the final six players competing for just three spots after it was announced there were already nine "locks."

Iguodala said he "felt good coming in," but acknowledged that the selection committee had a tough decision to make. Left off the team were No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon and Rudy Gay.

"Everyone played well," Iguodala said. "It's tough to make a decision in two days. I think the way we were playing, we could've went a whole year and still couldn't decide with the way the first two practices went."

Among Iguodala's strengths is his defense, which helped separate him from the others since he is expected to primarily be used as a specialist who will not command a high volume of shots - if any - on a team loaded with scoring options.

"I understand my game within this team," Iguodala said.

Iguodala has some prior international experience with U.S. head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who led the Americans to the gold four years ago. Both were part of the gold medal-winning 2010 FIBA World Championship team that qualified the U.S. for the Olympics.

"We've been together for a while now through a few select teams and the world championships," Iguodala said. "I think he does a really good job of adjusting from coaching college guys to coaching grown men in the NBA and professional ballplayers.

"I've enjoyed the way he's coached me and our team the last few years."

He will be third former Wildcat to appear in the Olympics, joining Richard Jefferson (2004) and Robertas Javtokas (2004 and 2008), who played for Lithuania and is expected to do so again in 2012.

The Summer Games will start July 27 and end Aug. 12.

"All of us here at Arizona would like to congratulate Andre Iguodala on making our 2012 Olympic basketball team," UA head coach Sean Miller said in a statement. "In today's world of pro sports, there aren't many accomplishments that hold the significance of making this team. Like Andre, our former players continue to set such a great example for the players currently in our program."

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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