Jerry Colangelo is expected to be named to oversee the men’s side of USA Basketball later this month. The selection is expected to be announced on April 20 at the organization’s meeting in New York.
The Suns chairman’s big job will be to manage the selection of players and coaches for Olympic competition.
The selection process for the 2004 team was heavily criticized.
The team featured some big-name offensive-oriented players, plus some up-andcoming stars such as LeBron James and Amaré Stoudemire who played for coach Larry Brown, famous for his reluctance to use young players.
The result was a disappointing third-place finish in Athens.
AMARÉ TO PLAY
Stoudemire practiced on Thursday and says he’ll be ready to go tonight.
Stoudemire missed home games against Denver and Philadelphia, his only misses of the season, because of a sore left ankle. The Suns won both games in impressive fashion.
"The trainer (Aaron Nelson) did a great job of getting my range of motion back," Stoudemire said. "I was able to run, jump and dunk, and I had explosiveness."
There has been speculation around the team that Stoudemire — who on last week’s road trip questioned whether he was getting enough touches in the team’s offense — may have been sending a "message" by not playing the past two games.
Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said he doesn’t believe this, that although Stoudemire probably could have found a way to play if these were playoff games.
"He was hurt," he said. "He wanted to be 100 percent. And he didn’t think he could be 100 percent."
Stoudemire later backed down from his earlier comments, saying, "A few games, we could have scored more in the fourth quarter. But we do a good job of getting everybody involved."
On a team with so many weapons, "You’ll have nights where some guys don’t get as many touches."
Stoudemire appeared supportive of his teammates on the bench the past two games.
HUNTER’S ACHILLES’ HEEL
His impressive last two games aside, Steven Hunter continues to struggle at the free-throw line.
He hit only 2-of-6 Monday vs. Denver, and three of his misses weren’t close. He was 1-for- 4 vs. Philadelphia Wednesday.
For the season, Hunter is one of the few NBA players who shoots better from the field (64 percent) than the free-throw line (46 percent).
He’s been working with assistant coach Marc Iavaroni and consultant Jeff Hornacek. Monday’s results show he needs to keep shooting.
"If I would have hit my free throws, I could have had 20 points," Hunter said of Monday’s game.
"Once I start making my free throws, my whole game will change."