Kawhi Leonard from the US Olympic basketball team; SDSU freshman name change – San Diego Union-Tribune

Less than 24 hours after saying his right knee is “feeling good so far” and expecting him to suit up for Team USA’s exhibition game against Canada on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Kawhi Leonard is out of Paris for the Summer Olympics.

USA Basketball announced Wednesday morning that the San Diego State alum has been replaced by Boston Celtics guard Derrick White on the 12-man roster.

“Kawi has been building up to the Olympics over the past several weeks and had some strong practices in Las Vegas,” USA Basketball said in a statement from its pre-Olympic training camp at UNLV. “He felt ready to compete. However, he believes USA Basketball and the Clippers decided it was in his best interest to spend the rest of the summer preparing for the upcoming season rather than participating in the Olympic Games in Paris.

Leonard, 33, missed the final eight games of the NBA regular season and most of the Clippers’ first-round series against Dallas. He’s had two months off since being eliminated by the Clippers, but the knee hasn’t responded as well as he’d hoped.

There’s also this: The Clippers lost Paul George in free agency, and they’re opening a $2 billion Intuit Dome in Inglewood. Owner Steve Palmer, no doubt, was not interested in further injury to the franchise’s face from an Olympic tournament shortened to six games in 14 days.

Leonard missed the end of the 2021 playoffs after tearing his ACL, then the entire 2021-22 season, and then appeared in two playoff games in 2023 after tearing a meniscus in the same knee. He played in 68 regular-season games last season, his most since 2016-17, then shut it down midway through the playoff series against the Mavericks.

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A day earlier, however, he spoke confidently of his life-long “dream” of adding interlocking rings to his legacy.

“I’m competing with these guys,” Leonard told the media on Tuesday about what he’s looking forward to the most. “Seeing the city of Paris, watching other Olympic (events) and rooting for America.”

Asked about his knee, he said: “Yes, I think I’ll be fit tomorrow (against Canada). So far so good. It’s in a neutral position and I hope it stays that way.

On his advice to other athletes about returning after knee surgery, he said: “Be true to yourself, don’t skip any days of your rehab, be patient. That’s all you can do. Whatever happens, happens.”

Summer League

The NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League begins Friday, but former Aztec Keshad Johnson got a start with the Miami Heat in San Francisco and the California Classic in Sacramento. In his first two games, the 6-foot-7 forward averaged 9.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3 of 8 3s.

Nathan Mensah, Johnson’s teammate in the 2023 run to the national championship, played in the California Classic for the San Antonio Spurs after spending most of his rookie season with the Charlotte Hornets. Through three games, the 6-10 post averaged 6.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.

Jaden Leetey plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who along with 29 other NBA franchises kick off the summer games Friday in Las Vegas. The Spurs and Heat start Saturday.

New house

Keith Dinwiddie is on the move again. The former SDSU guard transferred to Weber State after two seasons as an Aztec, then Division II St. Mary’s of San Antonio last season.

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Now he heads to Division II Chico State.

Dinwiddie was Fairfax High School’s Los Angeles City Division Player of the Year, but never found his footing at SDSU, appearing in 23 games (one start) over two seasons with a career-high 13 points against NAIA St. Catherine. Weber started 11 games in an injury-plagued year at State of the Big Sky Conference, then averaged 10 points (with a high of 23) on 37.9 percent shooting from 3 in 21 starts for a 12-16 St. Mary’s team.

Significant

The 7-foot incoming freshman David Majak Dropped his Americanized name and used his South Sudanese first name Thok wine. The correct pronunciation is Thock-bore May-zhok … walk-on guard Ryan Schwarz Entered the transfer portal last spring, but wanted to return to SDSU for 2024-25 with fellow walk-ons. Cam Lavin And Desai Lopez. Brown Graduate Transfer Who is Ferrari? And technically a walk-on …former Aztecs teammate Matt Bradley and Adam Seago officiating the one-day tournament Youth Skills Camp on 25th July at the OC Hoop Legends facility in Lake Forest. … Mountain West basketball media day, when the preseason poll will be released, is scheduled for Oct. 17 in Las Vegas.

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