Sources say Brand, Wallace chosen for US Basketball Team

Saturday, May 25th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ Ben Wallace and Elton Brand were selected to fill the final two roster spots for the United States team in the World Championships this summer, The Associated Press learned Saturday.

The choice of two power forwards reflected the concern of the American team that it needed some size to match up with some of the better teams in the tournament.

Wallace, the Detroit Pistons forward who led the NBA in rebounding and blocked shots, will give the American team another low-post player capable of doing the dirty work inside.

Brand also is a tenacious rebounder, and a much better offensive player than Wallace.

The selections were made Thursday by the USA Basketball Selection committee but have not yet been announced publicly. Two executives with knowledge of the committee's choices, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the selections of Wallace and Brand.

The players who have already decided to play for the United States in the tournament, which is to be held Aug. 29-Sept. 8 in Indianapolis, are Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Michael Finley, Shawn Marion, Antonio Davis, Jermaine O'Neal, Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz and Andre Miller.

The selection committee also was expected to select a player to fill an open spot on the roster as an alternate. Duke point guard Jay Williams, expected to be one of the top picks in the upcoming NBA draft, has already been named an alternate.

George Karl of the Milwaukee Bucks will coach the U.S. team.

Several NBA players will be competing for foreign teams in the 16-nation field, including six players from the Dallas Mavericks.

In addition to LaFrentz and Finley, Steve Nash will play for Canada, Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Bradley for Germany and Wang Zhizhi for China.

China's roster includes 7-footer (2.1 meters) Wang Zhizhi of Dallas, 7-foot-6 (2.25 meters) center Yao Ming _ expected to be a top lottery pick in this June's NBA draft _ and 6-foot-11 (2.07 meters) Menk Bateer of the Denver Nuggets.

Yugoslavia, the European champion, has a front line that includes NBA players Predrag Drobnjak and Vladimir Radmanovic of Seattle, and Zeljko Rebraca and Ratko Varda of Detroit, along with shooting guard Peja Stojakovic of Sacramento, an NBA All-Star.

Other NBA players expected to play in the tournament include Pau Gasol of Spain, Todd MacCulloch and Jamaal Magliore of Canada, Hedo Turkoglu of Turkey and Andrei Kirilenko of Russia.