Alonzo Mourning, Grant Hill and Ray Allen will be invited to fill the remaining three spots on the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team, according to sources.
Selected during a conference call yesterday among USA Basketball officials, the national team's governing body, the players will be asked in the coming days to approve their selection to the 12-player squad. All have indicated a willingness to compete in the Summer Games in Sydney from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1.
Mourning, a Georgetown graduate who plays for the Miami Heat, received the invitation expected to go to Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal. O'Neal recently had suggested that he would rather spend time with his 3-year-old daughter than play on the Olympic team.
Mourning, the leading vote-getter for this year's All-Star Game, has emerged in the last two years as perhaps the best center in the game.
A graduate of South Lakes High in Reston, and now a forward for the Detroit Pistons, Hill was considered a shoo-in for selection.
Chosen for the national team in 1998, he pulled out of the Olympic qualifying tournament last summer in Puerto Rico because it conflicted with his wedding.
Allen, a Milwaukee Bucks guard, beat out Toronto Raptors phenom Vince Carter for the last remaining guard slot. In his fourth season, Allen was considered more experienced and a better shooter than the free-wheeling Carter, who has become a fan favorite this season.
The three players, should they accept their invitations as expected, will join a squad that includes Vin Baker, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tom Gugliotta, Tim Hardaway, Allan Houston, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton and Steve Smith.
USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said USA Basketball would not officially announce the full Olympic roster until all players had confirmed their willingness to participate.