Deron Williams has less competition for USA Basketball roster spot

Deron Williams has less competition for USA Basketball roster spot



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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.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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