PHOTO / Sports

NBA stars open training camp for Worlds
Updated: 2006-07-20 10:07

U.S. basketball team opened its training camp for the 2006 World Championship in Las Vegas, taking another step toward trying to reclaim its global basketball supremacy.

Dwyane Wade (Miami), LeBron James (Cleveland), Chauncey Billups (Detroit), Gilbert Arenas (Washington) and Carmelo Anthony (Denver) will lead a talented group of NBA stars who have assembled for the one week camp in the run up to the Worlds in Japan.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said his priorities will be developing chemistry and teamwork as the Americans plan to pull out all the stops to avoid a repeat of their disappointing third place performance in the Athens Olympics.

"This is USA basketball," Krzyzewski said. "This is a team that has to share the ball and share responsibility.

"It's good to look at everyone as a role player. In 1992 they had Michael Jordan in his prime, but other great players played a role. They all played defence and were unselfish."

The U.S. team opened with 20 players, though only 18 will be competing for the final 12 spots. Six players won't be available because of injuries or personal reasons, including Kobe Bryant, who pulled out Saturday after having knee surgery.

The United States is in group D with 2004 Olympic silver medallist Italy, Puerto Rico, Slovenia, China and Senegal in the Worlds which begin August 19 in Japan.

The winner of the 24-team Worlds receives a berth to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.