The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio are upon us. Despite playing on the national level, the Mountain West is well represented on the basketball court with four former MW hoopers on Olympic rosters. Only two players on the Team USA roster have played in the Olympics before, but the Americans remain heavy favorites to take home another gold medal.
Team USA Roster
Current Team | College | Career Pts/Reb/Ast | Olympic Experience
F, Carmelo Anthony - New York Knicks | Syracuse | 24.9/6.6/3.2 | 4th Appearance
F, Harrison Barnes - Dallas Mavericks | North Carolina | 10.1/4.6/1.5 | 1st Appearance
G, Jimmy Butler - Chicago Bulls | Marquette | 13.6/4.5/2.6 | 1st Appearance
C, Demarcus Cousins - Sacramento Kings | Kentucky | 20.2/10.8/2.7 | 1st Appearance
G, DeMar Derozan - Toronto Raptors | USC | 18.1/3.9/2.6 | 1st Appearance
F, Kevin Durant - Golden State Warriors | Texas | 27.4/7.0/3.7 | 2nd Appearance
F, Paul George - Indiana Pacers | Fresno St. | 16.9/6.2/3.1 | 1st Appearance
F, Draymond Green - Golden State Warriors | Michigan St. | 8.7/6.5/3.4 | 1st Appearance
G, Kyrie Irving - Cleveland Cavaliers | Duke | 20.8/2.7/3.4 | 1st Appearance
C, DeAndre Jordan - Los Angeles Clippers | Texas A&M | 8.7/9.6/0.6 | 1st Appearance
G, Kyle Lowry - Toronto Raptors | Villanova | 13.5/4.0/5.7 | 1st Appearance
G, Klay Thompson - Golden State Warriors | Washington St. | 18.4/3.3/2.3 | 1st App.
Mountain West players are in parentheses
Group A: Australia (Cameron Bairstow and Andrew Bogut), China, France, Serbia, United States (Paul George), Venezuela
Group B: Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Lithuania, Nigeria (Michael Umeh), Spain
Today (Saturday) - Group A: Australia vs. France (1:15pm ET), China vs. United States (6pm ET), Venezuela vs. Serbia (9:30pm ET)
Tomorrow (Sunday) - Group B: Brazil vs. Lithuania (1:15pm ET), Croatia vs. Spain (6pm ET), Nigeria vs. Argentina (9:30pm ET)
There are two groups of six teams. Every team in each groups plays against one another and the top four from each group move on to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals begin August 17.
Former Mountain West Players
Paul George (USA)
Although George never appeared in a true Mountain West game, MW fans would be remiss to not call this conference his home. The 6-7 forward spent two seasons with the Fresno State Bulldogs in 2009 and 2010 while Fresno was a member of the Western Athletic Conference. George was solid in college, scoring 16.8 points per game his sophomore season before turning pro. No one, however, could have predicted his quick rise to NBA fame.
Before his age 26 season, George has already been named to three All-Star teams, quickly recovered from one of the most excruciating basketball injuries in recent memory, and will appear on the NBA 2k17 video game cover this fall. He is the centerpiece of the Indiana Pacers team that has been flying under the radar the past few seasons. Many consider George next in line behind LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in terms of best scoring forwards in pro basketball.
Even though George is one of a dozen of the best hoopers the United States has to offer, the Palmdale, California native should see an abundance of playing time on this talented yet inexperienced Team USA roster. Look for George to make a huge impact.
Andrew Bogut (Australia)
Melbourne, Australia is home to the second best Mountain West player of all time (we see you, Kawhi Leonard.) Bogut enjoyed two seasons in the Mountain West as a Utah Ute (which has since left for the Pac-12), and was named the John Wooden Player of the Year as a sophomore. Utah reached the Sweet 16 in 2005 behind Bogut, who logged 20 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks a game for the MW champs.
By that time, Bogut knew it was time to take his game to the professional level. The Aussie was selected 1st overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the ‘05 Draft, ahead of Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and New Mexico’s Danny Granger. Bogut enjoyed seven consistent seasons with the Bucks - averaging double figures in six of the seven seasons - before heading to the Bay Area and becoming a role player for the Golden State Warriors.
Bogut is in the twilight of his basketball career, but he will be key piece for the Australian national team. The Aussies shouldn’t be slept on in the Olympic Games, as they return Matthew Dellavedova and Patty Mills in the backcourt on a feisty roster.
Cameron Bairstow (Australia)
The second Aussie on our list, Cameron Bairstow, spent four seasons with the New Mexico Lobos. There aren’t many college players that you can find that improved as much in four years as Bairstow, who averaged 2.6 points and 1.8 rebounds as a freshman. In his senior season in Albuquerque, Bairstow tallied 20.4 points per game to go along with 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.5 blocks a night. Bairstow appeared on the Wooden award watchlist midway through his senior year.
The pro game hasn’t been nearly as kind for the 6-9, 250-pounder. Taken 47th overall by the Bulls in the 2014 Draft, Bairstow’s career has been in limbo. Bairstow was traded in June for Detroit wing Spencer Dinwiddie, and has since been cut by the Pistons.
Michael Umeh (Nigeria)
Michael Umeh, a Nigerian guard and former Runnin’ Rebel. Umeh appeared in 111 games in four years in Vegas, with his best season coming as a junior, scoring 11 points per game and knocking down 39% of his shots from beyond the arc.
Umeh, now 31, has played overseas since his graduation. He has called Spain, Germany, Italy and now Israel home. Look for Umeh to guide his Nigerian squad through the 2016 Olympic Games.
Andy Ogide (Nigeria)
Joining Umeh on the Nigerian team is former Colorado State forward Andy Ogide. Ogide actually started his college basketball career in the SEC at Mississippi for one year before transferring to Fort Collins and finishing up his career in the 2010-11 season. He was a first-team all-league selection as a senior.
Since graduating, Ogide has played professionally in Spain, France, Russia and Israel.