: Even before Jerry Colangelo met with Michael Redd last week at a swank Chicago hotel, he knew quite a bit about Michael Redd's myriad basketball abilities.
That is why Colangelo, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Phoenix Suns who is overseeing the selection of the 2008 United States Olympics men's basketball team, arranged for an interview with Redd in the first place.
Colangelo believes Redd, with his exceptional perimeter shooting skills, could be a valuable asset for the U.S. team.
"He's a very talented young guy,'' Colangelo said in a telephone interview from his office in Phoenix Tuesday. "He can score, and he can shoot. Those are strong attributes when putting together an international team.''
Indeed, the 6-foot-6 Redd is averaging 24.8 points a game and shooting a blistering .468 from 3-point range. He is a career 40 percent 3-point shooter. But while Redd’s scoring and shooting assets helped him gain consideration for the U.S. Olympic team, Colangelo wanted to get a better feel for Redd's personality and measure how interested he was in representing his country in the 2008 Games, which will be held in Beijing, China.
Colangelo had an in-depth and candid conversation with Redd for approximately 1 1/2 hours, and came away even more impressed with the 26-year-old.
"The interview went extremely well,'' Colangelo said. "He's a fine young man. He should be very proud of what he's accomplished. He's a good one, a good person. Everyone speaks very highly of him.
"He came as advertised.''
Colangelo said Redd was one of around 30 players whom he has interviewed or will interview before the NBA All-Star Game in February. Colangelo has said he wants a three-year commitment from the players he chooses. He said Redd was up front with him during the interview and appreciated his candor.
"He told me about his personal situation,'' Colangelo said. "He told me he's getting married this summer and about his honeymoon. So, there's a little bit of a conflict there. But we talked that through also.''
While Colangelo was impressed by Redd's words, he was just as impressed by his actions.
"He jumped into a limo and it took him 2 1/2 hours to get there,'' Colangelo said. "I was really impressed that he'd go out of the way on his off day to do this. That shows you something about him.''
Colangelo said after he's done interviewing candidates for the team, he'll whittle the field to 20. Colangelo politely refused to reveal any of the players on his list, although guard Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers recently said he would be on the team. Dwyane Wade, a former Marquette University and current Miami Heat star, is also believed to be on Colangelo's short list.
In addition to the 30 players Colangelo will personally interview, it is believed he'll assemble another group of about 15 players who are either in high school, college or young NBA players. They’ll be evaluated and given serious consideration for future international competition.
Colangelo declined to mention any candidates for that group, but there has been speculation that New Orleans/Oklahoma City guard Chris Paul, New York forward-center Channing Frye and Bucks point guard T.J. Ford will be among the top prospects.