Monday , Jul , 28 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Carter replaces Bryant on USA Basketball’s Senior Team

Colorado Springs, CO (Sports Network) – Toronto Raptors guard Vince Carter was added Monday to the 2003 USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team.

“It is a wonderful honor to once again be representing USA Basketball,” Carter said. “I am excited to be joining such a talented collection of players and I know we will all work extremely hard and with pride to represent our country.”


The roster spot opened up when Lakers guard Kobe Bryant withdrew his name after recently undergoing surgeries on his knee and shoulder.


However, Carter’s selection is just for the 2003 Senior National Team, while Bryant will keep his roster spot on the 2004 USA Olympic squad if the USA qualifies.


The team will compete in an Olympic qualifier, the FIBA Americas Tournament, from August 20-31 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Carter brings valuable international experience to the team. At the 2000 Olympics, Carter led his country in scoring by averaging 14.8 points per game to go along with 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Prior to that, as a high school senior, Carter played on the 1995 USA Junior World Championship Team.


“We are thrilled to have an exciting and versatile player like Vince back in a USA Basketball uniform,” said Stu Jackson, Chair of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team Committee.


During his five-year tenure in the NBA, Carter is a four-time All-Star and has averaged 24.1 points, 5.4 boards and 3.7 assists per game.


The USA men, gold medalists in 12 of the 14 Olympics it has played in, including the last three when NBA players have participated (1992, 1996, 2000), must earn a qualifying spot for the 2004 Olympic Games after placing sixth at the World Championships last summer.


A total of 10 men’s teams from North, South and Central America will participate in the Qualifying Tournament and only the top three finishers will earn a coveted qualification spot for the August 13-29, 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.