10 College Hoops Stars Who Could Represent the USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio
The 2012 USA men's basketball team has seven players on the roster that did not play on the 2008 "Redeem Team." Whether it is because of injury or deteriorating skills, those players ceded their roster spot to a new wave of talented stars.
One player that didn't make the 2008 team was Kevin Durant. He had just finished his rookie season and was far from the polished scorer that we see today.
Kevin Love, another member of the 2012 team that was not on the 2008 squad, had just finished his career at UCLA before the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Here, we'll take a look at 10 players that have the potential to fill a spot on the 2016 USA men's basketball roster.
No incoming freshmen will make this list because, alas, they are not yet college hoops "stars."
Trey Burke is one of the best point guards in the college game. But, to say he'd make the 2016 Olympic roster might be a stretch.
He's undersized but physical. He's not ultra-athletic like superstar guards Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose, both of whom may represent team USA in 2016.
But, Burke has a chance. He sees the floor well and has the poise that's needed in Olympic-style basketball. If he continues to improve, he could challenge for a roster spot in four years.
Syracuse was the deepest team in the country last season. Michael Carter-Williams, a potential lottery pick in 2013, played just over 10 minutes per game.
I'm high on Carter-Williams like everyone else. He'll have the chance to shine next season as a starter for Jim Boeheim, a coach that knows his fair share of Olympians.
Like everyone on this list, it will take four years of hard work and maturation for Carter-Williams to sniff out a roster spot in 2016. With his skill set, though, it's a definite probability.
Jamaal Franklin is a college basketball star. He plays almost every position for San Diego State, and his versatility is unquestionable. He'd make a valuable bench asset for the United States Olympic team.
But the USA roster is already loaded with young wings that are just as versatile as Franklin. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, James Harden and Andre Iguodala are all younger than 30.
Granted, three of the aforementioned players would be over 30 by 2016. Franklin would have the youth to challenge these NBA superstars that are past their prime, provided he improves by that time.
Doug McDermott may be a questionable addition to this list. He is clearly a superstar at the collegiate level, but collegiate superstars don't always transition well to the NBA game.
McDermott fits that description, but he could work his way on to the roster. He can score from anywhere and has a great knowledge of the game.
His toughness and intelligence would make him a solid role player on a future Olympic squad.
James Michael McAdoo
One of the stars of the college game that is seemingly destined to be just as good in the NBA is James Michael McAdoo.
He has NBA size. He has the proverbial "high basketball IQ." He's played with ultra-talented teams before.
McAdoo seemingly has it all, but he still needs to put together an excellent college season. Last year, he wasn't asked to be much more than a role player behind guys like Tyler Zeller and John Henson. But, in 2012-13, we'll see an increased role for McAdoo and (hopefully) his talent will shine through.
Off-court issues are the only thing holding Tony Mitchell back. He's long, athletic and explosive. On the court, he's a hard worker.
Last season, Mitchell averaged a double-double with more than 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. He also blocked three shots per game.
He's widely considered a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA draft. He'll have to fall into the right situation, but he is one player that could be a future NBA stud.
Mike Moser is another college star that won't wow any NBA scouts with numbers or size. But, his motor, defensive skill and quickness would make him a great Olympic player.
Stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant will still be shining in 2016. But role players, like Andre Iguodala this season, may not be on the same level in four years.
That's a position I could see Moser filling for the 2016 Olympic team. No one would expect him to shoot 15 shots a night, but he could come in and play strong defense for team USA.
Andre Roberson and Tony Mitchell are very similar. Neither are polished offensively, but both are lanky, athletic and hustle on the court.
Roberson will have plenty of chances to shine next season in a much-improved Pac-12. Going against the likes of UCLA and Arizona will put him in the limelight, and that will showcase just how talented he is.
However, if Roberson fails to develop offensively, his best shot at making an Olympic roster would be as a defensive stopper.
Finally, another guard makes the list.
College basketball was short on dominating point guards last season, and it looks like more of the same in 2012-13.
B.J. Young will be one of the best in the country, and if you haven't heard of him, you will. He's a projected lottery pick next season, and he's got the chance to be something special.
At 6'3", he's got great size for a point guard. He needs to fill his frame, but Young has the tools to become a star point guard in the NBA. The Olympics will follow.
If the 2012 Olympic team is any indication, the USA men's national team will need big men in the future.
Cody Zeller will be considered for the 2016 team, there's no doubting that. He has the coveted size that the 2012 team is lacking. He is an incredible scorer in the paint. He might struggle with the physicality of international basketball, but that's a stretch.
Zeller is the closest thing college basketball has to a lock for the 2016 Olympics. As long as he doesn't regress or suffer an injury leading up to the event, he'll be playing in Rio.