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US Pro Basketball Welcomes New Leadership

After dominating world basketball for years, the United States men's national team is seeking to rebound from two international tournament disappointments.

Jerry Colangelo

Jerry Colangelo, former owner of the National Basketball Association's Phoenix Suns, has been tapped to turn around the U.S. team. He is now the managing director of the U.S. men's national basketball team through the 2008 Olympics.

“There is only one objective here. And that is to get back to the preeminent role that we have always had,” he said. “And that is being the number one basketball country in the world. And anything short of that would not be acceptable.”

The 65-year-old Colangelo will personally select the players. He replaces the 10-member committee that selected past U.S. international teams. Colangelo will shape the U.S. squads appearing in the 2006 world championships and 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The U.S. teams have been made up of NBA players since 1992 and had won the gold medal at every Olympics until finishing with bronze at last year's Athens Games. The United States also finished a disappointing sixth at the last world championships in 2002.

Colangelo remains the CEO of the Phoenix Suns until the team's sale is complete. He is also chairman of the NBA's Board of Governors, and he headed a group that evaluated the professional game and made rule modifications.