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July 9, 2012

Former Deacs to compete in London Olympics

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Three former Wake Forest basketball players- Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Paul and Darius Songaila - will compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, representing three different countries.

Paul, who played two seasons at Wake Forest from 2003-05, will be a member of the United States squad in London. The Winston-Salem area native will be competing in his second straight Olympic Games after winning a gold medal with the Americans in 2008 in Beijing, China.

Songaila will play for his native country, Lithuania, who earned a spot in the Olympics at the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament last week in Caracas, Venezuela.

Songaila, who played at Wake Forest from 1999-2002, will be competing in his third Olympic Games after winning a bronze medal in 2000 in Sydney, Australia, and then helping Lithuania to a fourth-place finish in 2004 in Athens, Greece.

Songaila was injured during the 2008 Olympics and did not compete, as Lithuania finished fourth that year. He is still Wake Forest's most experienced basketball Olympian with three Games to his credit, including this summer's event. Songaila also ranks in the top 10 all-time on the Lithuanian national team in career games played and in career points scored.

Aminu will be making his first appearance in the Olympics after helping Nigeria earn a spot with a third-place finish at the FIBA Qualifying Tournament last week in Venezuela. Aminu is a U.S. native, but his father is Nigerian and the Aminu's can trace their family's heritage back to Nigerian royalty.

Aminu, who played two seasons at Wake Forest from 2008-10, helped Nigeria earn its first-ever Olympic berth in basketball. The Nigerians pulled off upsets of Lithuania and Greece last week before defeating the Dominican Republic in the third-place game on Sunday to earn the final spot for the London Games.

The basketball portion of the Olympics gets underway on Sunday, July 29. The United States, Lithuania and Nigeria will all compete in Group A, along with Argentina, France and Tunisia.

Olympic Basketball Schedule:
Sunday, July 29 - Nigeria vs. Tunisia; U.S. vs. France; Lithuania vs. Argentina
Tuesday, July 31 - Lithuania vs. Nigeria; U.S. vs. Tunisia
Thursday, August 2 - Lithuania vs. France, Nigeria vs. U.S.
Saturday, August 4 - Lithuania vs. U.S.; Nigeria vs. Argentina
Monday, August 6 - Lithuania vs. Tunisia; Nigeria vs. France; U.S. vs. Argentina
Wednesday, August 8 - Men's Quarterfinals
Friday, August 10 - Men's Semifinals
Sunday, August 12 - Men's Gold Medal Game and Men's Bronze Medal Game


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