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Olympic Squad Receives Tough Draw

US Olympic basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said his reigning Olympic champion squad of NBA stars received a tough grouping on Monday in FIBA's draw for the London Olympics.

The Americans were sent into Group A alongside 2000 Olympic runner-up France and 2004 Olympic champion Argentina plus reigning African champion Tunisia and the two top finishers in an Olympic qualifying tournament in June in Venezuela.

"Group A is going to be extremely competitive," said Krzyzewski, the veteran Duke University coach who guided the Americans to an unbeaten gold medal run at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

"It's a tough draw with a former Olympic champion in Argentina. France is another powerful team, a veteran team that is extremely talented. Tunisia continues to improve. And then our Group will add the top two teams from the FIBA World Qualifying Tournament.

"Only 12 teams qualify for the Olympics so you're going to have tough draws, and that's why winning a gold medal is such a great accomplishment."

Drawn into Group B from the ceremony in Rio de Janeiro were China, Britain, Australia, Spain, Brazil and the third-place nation from the qualifying event.

Russia, Greece, Puerto Rico and Lithuania are among the qualifying favorites in a field that will also include Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Macedonia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Jordan, Angola and South Korea.

Four teams from each group will advance to the August 8 Olympic quarter-finals after an initial round-robin schedule. Semi-finals are set for August 10 and the medals will be decided on August 12.

The Americans have won 13 Olympic gold medals, including four of the past five since NBA talent was allowed to compete in the Games. The US team settled for third in 2004. With NBA players, the Americans have a 37-3 Olympic record.

Among the NBA players who are finalists for the American roster are NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant, five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, Miami Heat playmakers LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and New York's Carmelo Anthony.

Argentina is expected to feature San Antonio Spurs playmaker Manu Ginobili, while the French lineup could include Ginobili's teammate Tony Parker.


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