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Preview of April events // BASKETBALL

Selection date: Ten of the 12 spots already have been determined. The final two players will be selected during the week of April 22.

How team is selected: The USA Basketball committee headed by Rod Thorn, the NBA's vice president of operations, chooses the team.

Who's on: Anfernee Hardaway (Orlando), Grant Hill (Detroit), Karl Malone (Utah), Reggie Miller (Indiana), Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston), Shaquille O'Neal (Orlando), Scottie Pippen (Chicago), David Robinson (San Antonio), Glenn Robinson (Milwaukee), John Stockton (Utah).

Who's vying for final spots: Shawn Kemp (Seattle), Jason Kidd (Dallas), Gary Payton (Seattle), Mitch Richmond (Sacramento). Kemp appears to be a front-runner, since some committee members have stated a preference for a forward and he clearly is the best available. If Kemp gets one spot, the other likely will go to a guard. Kidd and Richmond are the leading contenders, although Payton also could get heavy consideration. Kidd, in his second season in the NBA, might be the most talented of the group. But there might be sentiment to put the 30-year-old Richmond on the team, figuring that Kidd, 23, will get other opportunities. A final wild card is the possibility that former Dream Teamers such as Charles Barkley or Michael Jordan might change their minds about coming back.

Athletes with Florida connections: Hardaway and O'Neal are Orlando residents. Richmond, one of the leading candidates, is a Fort Lauderdale native.

U.S. coaches: Lenny Wilkens, coach of the Atlanta Hawks, is the winningest coach in NBA history. He has taken teams to the playoffs in 13 of his 23 seasons and won the NBA title with Seattle in 1979. Bypassed for the 1960 Olympic team as a player, Wilkens was an assistant coach on the 1992 gold medal-winner, the original Dream Team. Bobby Cremins (Georgia Tech), Clem Haskins (University of Minnesota) and Jerry Sloan (Utah Jazz) are assistant coaches.

Did you know: The Orlando Magic began the season with two Olympic gold-medal winners in the locker room _ and neither was Hardaway or O'Neal. Center Jon Koncak and forward Jeff Turner, who recently retired, were both on the 1984 Olympic team that finished first. That squad was made up of college players and also included future NBA stars Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan and Chris Mullin.

_ JOHN ROMANO

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