Lin Unlikely to Make US Olympic Team - New York Times

The past three weeks have no doubt made many big-time college basketball programs and N.B.A. teams wish they had seized the chance to add Jeremy Lin to their rosters. Will the United States Olympic team similarly pass on Lin for this summer's London Games?

Lin has scored 38 points in a victory over Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, dished out 14 assists in a victory over the defending N.B.A. champion Dallas Mavericks and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Toronto Raptors. But according to Olympic team officials, he is not in serious contention to represent the United States in London.

Jerry Colangelo, the longtime sports executive and current director of USA Basketball, said that in the decades he has spent in sports he cannot recall anything similar to the way Lin has revived the Knicks and ascended into an international phenomenon.

But while Colangelo said Lin was "a great story for the N.B.A., for the Knicks, for this young man and what he's accomplished in such a short period of time," he also noted that "the players who already have time invested in the system have equity built up."

When Colangelo took over the American basketball program in 2005, he helped to construct the selection process, with a focus on continuity. The goal is to familiarize players with Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his offensive and defensive philosophies, and with one another.

Twenty potential Olympic team members were identified in January. Of that group, 18 won a gold medal at either the 2008 Olympics in China or the world championships in 2010. On a conference call to discuss the finalists when they were named, Krzyzewski and Colangelo noted the depth at point guard, Lin's position: Chicago's Derrick Rose, the reigning most valuable player in the N.B.A.; Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook; Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers; and Deron Williams of the Nets, who scored 38 points against Lin and the Knicks on Monday.

Competition for the point guard position on the 12-man roster will be fierce, Lin or no Lin. In fact, when Chauncey Billups was removed from the list of possible Olympians because of a recent injury, officials chose not to seek a replacement point guard.

Still, Colangelo said he would continue to monitor Lin's progress. He did not rule out the possibility, however small, that Lin could be a late addition.

More likely, Lin could be among the younger players who are invited to train at the national team's facility, scrimmaging against the Olympic squad and learning the system. Colangelo described Lin as a candidate for that assignment.

Of course, if the United States team does not want Lin, he could try to play for a different country.

Lin's parents were born in Taiwan and retain dual citizenship in Taiwan and the United States. Lin was born in California and has American citizenship but has been offered dual citizenship in Taiwan by its foreign ministry here, his uncle Lin Chi Chung, said. However, Taiwan, which competes in the Olympics as Chinese Taipei, did not qualify for the London Games in basketball.

Or perhaps Lin could play for China, which has secured an Olympic berth and has lacked strong play at point guard in recent years. Lin's maternal grandmother fled mainland China for Taiwan in the late 1940s, and China has expressed an interest in Lin for its Olympic team.

Meanwhile, Colangelo will be watching.

"There are players who have sat on the bench and come in and surprised people before," he said. "But this is more than a surprise. He shocked people. It really makes you think about how many guys might be out there who can play but just never got an opportunity."

23 Feb, 2012

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