USA Basketball: Door 'Wide Open' for Possible Tayshaun Prince Return
In an interview earlier this week with FanHouse, the Detroit Pistons forward was asked how it came to be he was one of just three 2008 Olympic holdovers not selected earlier this month for the 27-man pool to determine players who will represent Team USA in this summer's World Championships and the 2012 Olympics. Among the other two, Dallas guard Jason Kidd has retired from international competition and Milwaukee guard Michael Redd is out for the season due to a serious knee injury.
"Their decision,'' Prince said of USA Basketball officials. "They didn't tell me nothing. They didn't call me.''
Prince missed about two months early in the season due to ruptured disk in his back, although he had played in 16 straight games entering Friday. While Prince said he doesn't consider himself healthy enough to be available this summer, he said he deserved a call before the roster was announced.
"I sure would have liked a call before the situation went down,'' Prince said. "I saw on ESPN the list of guys.''
However, USA Basketball chief media/communications officer Craig Miller, after reaching out to chairman Jerry Colangelo and men's national team director Sean Ford, said Prince was contacted "a few days'' before the list was announced Feb. 10. Miller said there initially were some difficulties in locating Prince's proper cell phone number, but that Ford reached out to Prince and heard back that he was preparing for a game and would get back to Ford.
After USA Basketball officials didn't hear from Prince, the list was put out without his name on it. Miller said the understanding was Prince wouldn't be available this summer due to his health, something Colangelo touched upon Feb. 10 and something Prince doesn't dispute.
Prince said his belief was Ford left a message a "couple of days'' after the list was announced. He said he hadn't had time to get back to Ford.
Regardless, Prince said he is open to one day returning to Team USA.
"I look at it this way,'' said Prince, who averaged 4.3 points and 11.1 minutes while getting into all eight 2008 Olympic games. "They know what I can do. If they decide they want me down the road or what not, I'd be willing to take the call or what not. But I think they just assumed what happened to me during the course of the season, my ruptured disk in my back, I would take this summer off, and they're probably 100 percent right. We'll see what happens.''
Miller, after talking with Colangelo, said Team USA would put Prince back in the player pool if he has interest.
"It's wide open,'' Miller said of the door for Prince. "Jerry has said the roster is fluid. He would be welcome.''
So chalk this up as another possible communication. Colangelo said shortly after the player list was announced there were some issues involving whether Boston guard and All-Star Rajon Rondo was interested.
Rondo was not on the list. But after Rondo said he's very interested, he's expected to be added before the July 22-25 training camp in Las Vegas.
Although Redd is obviously out this summer, Miller said his name could be returned to the pool at a later time.
Colangelo holds all members of the gold-medal winning "Redeem Team'' in high regard. So it's not surprising Prince will be given another opportunity if that's what he seeks.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@christomasson