Hill, Mourning, Allen get final three spots on U.S. team

Wednesday, January 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Vince Carter's dream of making the Dream Team will have to wait four more years. Carter lost out to Ray Allen of the Milwaukee Bucks on a 6-3 vote Tuesday as the nine-man USA Basketball selection committee selected the final three players for the 12-man roster. Grant Hill and Alonzo Mourning got the other spots.

There was no official announcement, but several NBA sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the results to The Associated Press. Hill, Mourning and Allen all have expressed interest in playing for the U.S. team, so there should be no impediment to finalizing their selections in the next few days.

Carter, the 22-year-old Toronto forward leading all players in All-Star balloting, said recently that it was his dream to play for the U.S. team in the Olympics next summer in Australia. But the selection committee, seeking someone who would accept a 12th-man mentality, went instead with Allen, the better shooter and the more veteran player. "Vince is nobody's 12th man," Raptors coach Butch Carter said. "Evidently he hasn't shown enough separation between himself and the rest of the talent pool."

The U.S. team also includes Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Steve Smith, Allan Houston, Tim Hardaway, Vin Baker, Tom Gugliotta and Tim Duncan. The choice of Hill came as no surprise. He was originally chosen for the team two years ago only to withdraw because the Olympic qualifying tournament, held last summer in Puerto Rico, conflicted with his wedding.

Mourning gets the spot that was expected to go to Shaquille O'Neal, who indicated recently that he preferred to spend more time with his 3-year-old daughter rather than devote 42 straight days to the national team. Allen, a fourth-year guard, beat out Carter for what was widelyconsidered the only truly wide-open spot available on the roster. No other guards, including Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant and Eddie Jones, received serious support during an approximately 30-minute conference by the selection committee.

Carter had gained support in recent weeks as his high-flying style of play and consistently productive scoring led the Raptors into contention for first place in the Central Division. "It's over. It's not a big deal," Carter said. "Yes, it's a chance of a lifetime but I'm young. There's another in four years. "I'll never ever say it was a bad decision because Ray Allen is a great basketball player also. Obviously he deserves it."

Carter entered Tuesday night's games ranked fifth in the league in scoring at 24.3 points per game. Allen ranked 14th, averaging 21.9. Allen, however, is the better 3-point shooter, 42.4 percent to Carter's 34.7 percent. "I'm very disappointed for Vince. He deserves to be on the team," Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald said. "He's one of the best players in the world right now. He doesn't understand how mean this business can be, but he got a good taste of it today and he's got to answer it," Butch Carter said.