Sixers Well-Represented Among USA Basketball’s Olympic Roster Finalists

Tobias Harris Sixers

Getty Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris handles the ball during a game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Ben Simmons’ will-he-or-won’t-he saga with the Australian men’s senior national team has been well-documented. After the Philadelphia 76ers star declined to join the squad — which is nicknamed the Boomers — for the 2016 Olympics and the 2019 FIBA World Cup, fans in the Land Down Under are hopeful that Simmons will finally be open to an Olympic run in Tokyo this summer.

Whether or not he’s actually aiming to participate in Olympic competition remains to be seen. However, he is not the only 76ers player in the mix for a spot on their national team.

On Thursday, two players on the Sixers roster were listed among the field of finalists for USA Basketball’s entry into the hoops world’s preeminent international tournament.

Tobias Harris & Dwight Howard Selected as Team USA Finalists

As announced by USA Basketball, 57 players will comprise the pool from which America’s senior national team will be selected. Among them are Sixers forward Tobias Harris and center Dwight Howard.

The organization had previously announced a 42-man player pool in February of 2020 before the Olympics were postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Harris and Simmons were part of that original group.

In adding 15 more names to the list for national team consideration, Jerry Colangelo — the team’s managing director since 2005 — cited a need for flexibility as the outfit seeks to field the best roster possible for the competition, which will tip-off in July.

“With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it’s important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible. These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that,” said Colangelo.

“Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”

A Team USA Veteran

Although Harris’ experience with USA Basketball has largely been limited to a stint with the Select Team and a pair of national team training camps, Howard was a key cog in the American program during the late 2000s.

He was part of a bronze medal-winning effort at the 2006 FIBA World Championships. One year later, he joined the squad that steamrolled the competition at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship en route to a gold medal.

Dwight Howard Team USA 76ers

GettyUSA Basketball’s Dwight Howard is seen during a 2008 training session.

However, his most significant contribution to the program came in ’08 when he was part of the “Redeem Team” at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Over eight appearances with the squad, he averaged 10.9 points (on nearly 75-percent shooting from the floor), 5.8 rebounds and nearly one block in 16.3 minutes per game.

Despite a late-game push by Pau Gasol and Spain in the gold medal final, Howard and company prevailed 118-107 to take home the hardware.

Other Sixers in the Olympic Mix

In February, second-year wing Matisse Thybulle was named to the Aussie Boomers’ 24-man player pool along with Simmons.

In late 2020, Vincent Poirier, who helped France to a bronze medal at the ’19 World Cup, said that he would take Olympic gold over an NBA title.

Meanwhile, Turkish national Furkan Korkmaz has represented his home country in multiple international tournaments.

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