Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Horford Stands Out; Chosen for USA Select Team

“I would like to express my appreciation to the USA Basketball committee for selecting me to the Select Team, as we (Team USA) do our best to win the gold this summer in Beijing. It is a tremendous opportunity, and I look forward to competing against Team USA next week in Las Vegas.”

These are the words of Al Horford, who was chosen Wednesday by USA Basketball to the 2008 USA Basketball Men's Select Team that has been chosen to help prepare the 2008 USA Senior National Team for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, scheduled to take place Aug. 10-24 in Beijing, China.

He will join LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City NBA), Jeff Green (Oklahoma City NBA), Luther Head, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Martin, O.J. Mayo, Derrick Rose, and Rodney Stuckey in training and scrimmaging against the USA Senior National Team from July 21-24.

It's an interesting mix of players, of which Horford and Aldridge are the only big men on the team, a situation that Al is particularly familiar with. Horford will bang with someone he is sometimes compared to (Carlos Boozer) and someone with whom Hawks fans are hoping will be an annual rival within the division (Dwight Howard).

As a Hawks follower, it gave me great pride in seeing Joe Johnson surprise people on the Varsity team (the Senior Team) the last time and it is even more so with Horford, who emerged onto the NBA picture with his performance in the Rookie/Soph Game on All-Star weekend (with a powerful endorsement from Charles Barkley, and then through the Hawks spirited seven game tussle with the Celtics.

Sidebar: The release, made possible by the Atlanta Hawks and USA Basketball, was also interesting because it listed Durant and Green as "Oklahoma City NBA" instead of the team name. It's the first time we've seen that in print, though the outcome of the sad Seattle story has been entirely known for so long.

That Horford has been included here is an indication of the solid work and abilities that he provides on a daily basis for the Hawks. The proven young players on the team (Iguodala, Martin, Head) all have the same reputation, and it's good to see a Hawk, especially one that was drafted by the team, stand out in this manner so soon.

Reading his words, you real feel as if Horford is so connected to the process and the honor/challenge, he will feel as though he contributed to any medal the Varsity team earns in Beijing.

It makes a Hawk fan proud---something not easily said over the past decade.

2 comments:

Craig said...

Horford is a stud, he's the type of player you can eventually win an NBA chamPionship with, especially since he's already done it twice in college.

Jason Walker said...

Craig,

You're right---It's easy to see a picture of Horford hoisting a NBA trophy, especially after seeing it happen two times at Florida.

Al just seems to be the kind of player that is labeled a winner and affects the people around him.

He was a great choice for this franchise, not just for the talent, but these intangibles as well.