Bosh officially a Yankee dandy

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

Chris Bosh is an NBA all-star and is now officially a member of the USA men's basketball team.

The only thing left to make this season complete for the 21-year-old forward is for the Raptors to go on a huge winning streak and qualify for the NBA playoffs.

Bosh likely will have to settle for the first two honours this season. But no matter how you slice it, this season will be remembered as Bosh's coming out party as one of the league's premier power forwards.

Bosh was one of 23 players, including 18 who had previously played for USA teams, officially named to the national team yesterday -- although the media got hold of the list early last week. More than any other American team in history, this one will be the hungriest to succeed.

Long the powerhouse of international basketball, the American teams at the past world championship and Olympic Games failed to live up to expectations, finishing sixth and third respectively.

TIME FOR A CHANGE

Bosh and his new teammates hope to change that this summer at the worlds in Japan and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Dallas native said his selection to the USA squad is a bigger honour than making his first all-star team last month.

"(The worlds) only happen once every two years, the Olympics once every four years, and to have a chance to be a part of that, to be a part of the world's elite, instead of just the league's, I think it's a little bit more special," Bosh said.

"I'm definitely excited to be part of this. I know it's going to be a lot of hard work."

Of the 23 players selected to Team USA, just over half will make the final team for the worlds and the Olympics, although Bosh is said to be a favourite to make the final roster.

This year's roster includes such superstars as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Amare Stoudemire, but there also are some key omissions and interesting invitees.

The biggest snub is Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson. There are a number of theories as to why A.I. was not invited the time around.

Raptors guard Mike James suggested Iverson is "too hip hop" for USA Basketball decision-makers.

The roster includes a couple of college players, Duke guard J.J. Redick and Gonzaga University forward Adam Morrison.

Also named was defensive specialist Bruce Bowen of the San Antonio Spurs.

"This is more of a complete team," Bosh said.

"You have to get defenders, you have to get shooters, you have to get guys that can rebound and you have to get guys who can just score the ball."


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