LOS ANGELES -- In a week in which Harold Miner set USC's career scoring record, got four stitches in his tongue and endured a 3-for-18 shooting performance against the University of Washington, Miner also found himself being included in some pretty select company.
The long-range-shooting Miner, who is averaging 26.4, suddenly has emerged as a candidate for the U.S. Olympic basketball team for this summer in Barcelona, Spain. Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly, who will coach the team, included Miner on his short list -- six names -- of players he thinks would fit in well in the one or two spots that will go to college players.
Along with Miner, Daly is high on Duke's Christian Laettner, Louisiana State's Shaquille O'Neal, Georgetown's Alonzo Mourning, Oklahoma State's Byron Houston and Ohio State's Jimmy Jackson. Among the six, Miner admittedly is the longest shot, but then, Miner is no stranger to making long shots.
"He's received no more significant accolade than being one of the people considered for an Olympic berth," said USC coach George Raveling. "That's the finest compliment he's been paid since he picked up a basketball."
"When I told him about it," Raveling said, "Harold said, 'Gee, that's nice.' "
It has yet to be decided whether one or two college players will be added to the roster of NBA stars who are expected to steamroll through the competition this summer in Spain. It has long been thought that O'Neal was a lock for the squad, but with centers Patrick Ewing and David Robinson already aboard, there is growing sentiment that a third big man would be a waste of a roster spot. Regardless of which college players make the team, their playing time figures to be minimal at best.
One of the things that could work against Miner is his lack of international experience. He was invited to try out for the Pan American Games last summer but turned USA Basketball down, preferring the games on the playgrounds of Inglewood, Calif., to those in Cuba.
Daly might like Miner, but the coach doesn't have one of the selection committee's 12 votes. However, one of the votes does belong to Raveling, who isn't sure how he would vote.