Tuesday, August 31, 2004

TeamUSA Hoops and the Jr.Squad

This article tries to parallel the bronze in the Olympics with the bronze at the Global Games, where all 4 incoming GT recruits (Dickey, Fredrick, Morrow, Smith) were on the team.

What American basketball critics refuse to accept is that international play has improved by leaps and bounds as players receive more of a concentrated dose of instruction and training in basketball fundamentals starting at an early age.

This was clearly seen this past June when a U.S. junior national team which include prep all-stars like Calhoun County guard Zambolist "Buck" Fredrick and fellow Georgia Tech signee forward Ra'Sean Dickey competed in the fifth annual Coca-Cola Global Games in Dallas, Texas. After edging China (89-88) and routing China (121-91), the U.S. dropped two straight games to Croatia (96-91) and Lithuania (94-76). In both losses, the U.S. averaged 41.2 percent from the field, 27 percent from three-point range, 72.2 percent from the foul line and were outrebounded by a total of 101-85.

Like Team USA, the junior nationals earned a bronze after surviving a last-second three-point attempt by Puerto Rico to win in overtime 108-107. Nevertheless, what does this foretell about how future Team USA squads will fare against an ever-improving international field?