Andre Iguodala and James Harden, two players who played their college basketball at Arizona and Arizona St., respectively, did not see a whole lot of playing time in Sunday's gold medal game between the USA and Spain. Iguodala played just under three minutes in the first half, while Harden came in as a late-game substitution once the game was out of hand.
While neither player will get the publicity that LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant get -- and, honestly, they shouldn't -- the two were key cogs in winning that second-straight gold medal in London.
Iguodala was the seventh or eighth man off the bench most nights, doing a little bit of everything for Team USA. Now a veteran who's been around the block a few times, Iggy never had a problem making the extra pass, boxing out in the paint or diving for a loose ball. He knows he isn't an elite scorer, and he played like it. Any one of the guys on the U.S. is talented enough to take over the game, but the former Wildcat chose to play his game and do whatever it took to help the team out.
Harden did not leave the bench in a handful of games, which can be tough for a player with his talent level. Despite recording less than 10 minutes of playing time nearly every time Team USA took the court, Harden never once showed displeasure with the coaching staff and was always ready to contribute when taking the floor. He hit two key free throws late in Sunday's gold medal game, sealing a victory for the U.S. For a guy who hadn't played a whole lot in London, he didn't let the pressure get to him when toeing the free throw line.
The state of Arizona has a lot to be proud of when their olympians return home this week. Thanks to two guys who were the essence of a team player these past few weeks, the United States men's basketball team remained the best in the world. Every team needs role players to contribute, and that's exactly Iguodala and Harden did for their country.