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Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, June 13, 2000


Olympic Rings

USA Basketball officials
likely will replace Hill

Star-Bulletin wire services


INDIANAPOLIS -- Looks like Grant Hill won't make it to Sydney.

"Although we don't have final word, I think there's a real chance unfortunately that (Hill) might not be able to play," USA Basketball president Russ Granik said yesterday. "It may be necessary that we're going to have to find one replacement. We'll try to do it as soon as possible."

Hill broke his left ankle late in the season and had a pin surgically inserted after the Detroit Pistons were swept by the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

When Hill was selected for one of the final three spots, team officials said they wanted to add a player with slashing, ballhandling and scoring skills -- all qualities embodied by Hill.

"My guess is the committee would look at players who have similar skills," Granik said. "There's lot of possibilities at that kind of position. One who has sprained his ankle here (Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers) is a possibility, (Charlotte's) Eddie Jones is a possibility."

Absent from Granik's short list was another of the league's top small forwards, Jalen Rose of the Indiana Pacers, who was not surprised to hear he was omitted.

Eager to throw his name into the mix, Rose hinted the spot should go to the player who emerges victorious from the Lakers-Pacers championship series.

"If we're going to talk about that position, I like my stats and the things I've done for my team as much as any (small forward) in the league," Rose said. "Of course I would love to play on the Olympic team. I was circling 2004, but 2000 ain't gone yet. If they're going to call, I'll give you my number."

The USA Basketball selection committee plans to discuss Hill's status and possibly choose a replacement before the end of the month.

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