USA Basketball officials have begun forming the 2004 men's Olympic team and Washington Wizards swingman Jerry Stackhouse said he would be honored to be on the 12-man squad.
"I'd love to go, no question about it," said Stackhouse, sixth in the NBA in scoring with an average of 23.9 points per game. "I don't know what the criteria is for that. I never really put a lot of stock into whether I was selected or not, but if I had an opportunity to do it I would."
Stackhouse has never been invited to participate in any of the major international competitions and he could be on the outside looking in for the Olympics. Several swing players -- Tracy McGrady, Ray Allen and possibly Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant -- have committed or are expected to commit to joining the team.
"I don't know what it is," Stackhouse said as to why he has never been asked to compete. "I have my opinions about it. I don't waste a lot of time dealing with that. What I do on the basketball court speaks for itself. If that's not something that would bode well with the Olympic committee, then I can't do anything about it."
The USA Basketball committee -- a 10-member group composed of eight NBA officials, one current player and one NCAA representative -- hopes to have six "core" players intact by the end of the month and nine on board by Jan. 1. The final three positions will be filled before the Tournament of the Americas, which will be held next summer. The U.S. squad must win a medal at the tournament to qualify for the Olympics.
Players must commit to competing in both events, officials said, although the final three players on the roster for the Tournament of the Americas could be different for the Olympics. The majority of the team will be made up of NBA players.
The desire to play in the Olympics for many players, Stackhouse said, is to gain revenge for Team USA's sixth-place finish at the world championships last summer in Indianapolis. Some of the players expected to be on the 2004 Olympic team declined to play in those championships or were injured.
"Wrong guys, plain and simple," Stackhouse said as to why the U.S. team finished so poorly, suffering its first three losses since NBA players were invited to compete in 1992.
USA Basketball is expected to name its head coach -- Philadelphia's Larry Brown is the likely choice -- by the end of the month.