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2011 FIBA Americas Championship: Al Horford, John Calipari Seek Olympic Berth For Dominican Republic

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Atlanta Hawks All-Star center Al Horford will take part in the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship that begins on Tuesday in Mar del Plata, Argentina as he suits up for the Dominican Republic's National team. There are two Olympic bids on the line in this tournament with the third, fourth, and fifth place finishers earning a trip to the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament next summer. 

Horford's Dominican Republic squad will be coached by University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari who is in his first stint as a National Team Coach. There is no shortage of NBA talent as Horford is joined by Sacramento's Francisco Garcia and Detroit's Charlie Villanueva. However despite the NBA talent, the Dominican team has suffered through some disappointing results in recent seasons and Calipari is charged with changing the atmosphere of the program. 

The Dominican's biggest competition in Group A will come from Brazil who will be missing three of its four biggest name stars. Leandro Barbosa, Nene, nor Anderson Varejao will be taking the floor for Brazil in the tournament leaving only San Antonio's Tiago Splitter as the big name star. Even without the big NBA names, Brazil is still a formidable squad possessing some solid European talent. They may not be able to contend for the tournament championship but will provide a stiff test for the Dominican Republic. 

Argentina headlines Group B and is the favorite to take the overall tournament championship. The team is loaded with NBA talent like San Antonio All-Star Manu Ginobli and Houston Rockets forward Luis Scola

Dominican Republic Schedule 2011 FIBA Americas Championship (All games can be seen online with ESPN3.)

Aug 30 Vs. Cuba 10:30 a.m.
Aug 31 Vs. Venezuela  10:30 a.m.
Sept 1  Vs. Canada  5:00 p.m.
Sept 2 Vs. Brazil  5:00 p.m.