Olympic Basketball is a sport that the U.S. typically dominates, and, this year may be no different.
It's an early morning that starts with stretches. Bleary eyes, stiff muscles. But within moments... quiet is overcome with trash-talking... and squeaking sneakers.
Here at Sierra Sport in Fresno. This is a daily routine for these few. The game of basketball.
And within a few weeks at the end of July on a much much larger stage, representatives from our country will go into battle against the world's elite.
Angelo Gonos will surely watch. "Basketball is our sport. It's not soccer. We're gonna win if we play our best players."
The NBA season will be over by late July. So the NBA's best will be invited. Some big names need no invitation. Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Chris Paul. Dwight Howard, if healthy. They're a given.
"I would still go young. A combo of young and. But you need young guys to keep up with the Europeans."
A big question going in. Does Team USA bring along veterans with a lot of miles but a lot of experience.
"We played our best players I think we should do that. The rest of the world does so why shouldn't we?"
The sport of basketball has taken off world-wide. What's being played in this gym in Fresno is also being played in some of the most remote parts. Some would credit the dream team. A team in the 90's that some would say was the best team ever assembled in any sport or any game in any country.
"That's the dream team. That team is what people expect from USA."
Basketball thrives in Europe, Asia, and now South America. Meaning it won't be an easy road to the Gold. Here's how the games break down. USA is in Group A with real juggernauts in Argentina and France. Group B is also stacked. Brazil, China, and the always competitive Spaniards.
"The Europeans have gotten bigger, stronger. We need to match that with big guys."
All these teams will play in a series of preliminary games to establish seeding. And the last one standing gets the gold.
The Olympic Basketball tournament gets underway on July 28th. The women's gold medal games take place on August 8th. The men's medal rounds begin on August 12th.
You can follow all of the exciting action on KSEE24 and NBC as well as NBC's Olympic website, NBCOlympics.com.