By Paul Osborne

USA Basketball has announced the 28-player pool in preparation for the 2014 World Championships and 2016 Rio Olympics ©Getty ImagesJanuary 23 - USA Basketball has announced the 28 players who have been selected for the 2014-2016 men's national team pool, from which the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympic teams will be chosen.

The roster sees the return of 11 of the 12 players picked for the London 2012 gold medal winning squad with Los Angeles Lakers' star Kobe Bryant the only absentee following his decision not to try to chase a hat-trick of Olympic victories.

"This is the first step of building the USA Basketball National Team pool of players for 2014-16," said Jerry Colangelo, chairman of USA Basketball.

"This roster is extremely talented, deep and versatile.

"We are very fortunate to have 11 of the 12 members who won gold at the London Olympics wanting to be part of the national team programme again.

"To receive that kind of commitment is remarkable and it demonstrates how much it means to our players to represent USA Basketball and their country."

Two-time Olympic gold medallists Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Deron Williams all feature in the pool, having taken gold at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

They are joined by 2012 Olympic gold medallists Tyson Chandler, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, James Haden, Andre Iguoldala, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook, as well as 2008 Olympic gold medallist Dwight Howard, and Blake Griffin, originally named to the 2012 US Olympic Team roster but who was unable to participate due to injury.

The United States have won the past two Olympic gold medals with victory over Spain ©Getty ImagesThe United States have won the past two Olympic gold medals with victory over Spain
©Getty Images

"I think we have taken a step up from the pool that we had in the last squad, and it's exciting to see this many people interested in being a part of the programme," US 2012 and 2016 Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

"This is the first step and then we see what happens with all the guys with family situations, injuries, contracts and all that.

"We have to allow those things to go on then react accordingly but having a strong pool gives us some flexibility in that regard."

Two members of the American 2010 World Championship team, Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose, out for the second season in a row with a knee injury, are also in the line-up.

Completing the roster are National Basketball Association (NBA) standouts LaMarcus Aldridge, Bradley Beal, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Korver, David Lee, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, and Klay Thompson.

The roster includes the NBA's top 10 leading scorers in Durant, James, Anthony, Love, Aldridge, Harden, Curry, George, Griffin and Cousins, with all members of the roster having played for the national team on at least one occasion.

"Continuity and familiarity with international basketball are critical parts in our success, and between our coaching staff and these 28 players we certainly have that," said Colangelo.

"Every one of the selected players has been involved in USA Basketball previously and that speaks to how well our pipeline is working.

"Our first challenge will be the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup that is being held in Spain.

"With 24 teams competing for the world title, including host Spain who we have had memorable games against in the last two Olympic gold medal games, we know it will be a challenge to repeat as world champions."

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