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03-04-2008, 01:49 PM
NBA's Donnie Nelson named China assistant coach

Agence France Presse

BEIJING - Golden State Warriors general manager Donnie Nelson has been named an assistant coach to China's Olympic basketball team in the lead-up to the Beijing Games, the sport's chiefs have announced.

The China Basketball Association named Nelson as an assistant to Lithuanian head coach Jonas Kazlauskas when a training squad for the August Olympics was announced last week.

Nelson will report to Beijing as soon as the Warriors finish the ongoing NBA season, according to the Basketball Pioneers newspaper, which carried an article on his appointment on Monday.

The Chinese side has scheduled 18 warm-up matches before the Olympics, but will be missing Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming, who is suffering a stress fracture to his left foot and will be sidelined for up to four months.

Former Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Del Harris coached the Chinese Olympic team to an eighth place finish in the Athens Games, when Nelson served as a team consultant, a post that he has held ever since.

Centre Wang Zhizhi became China's first player in the NBA when he was selected by the Mavericks in 2001. Although he played in the world's top league for four years he saw little playing time.

04-06-2008, 08:01 AM
Yao says he will be ready for Olympics

Agence France-Presse

BEIJING - Chinese basketball star Yao Ming has declared he will be ready for the Beijing Olympics after a successful first month of rehabilitation from a leg injury, state press reported on Saturday.

"I don't think I will miss the Games," the Houston Rockets centre told reporters in Beijing on Friday after returning to China, according to the China Daily newspaper.

"I've started to do some workouts at the gym and everything is going okay for me. I'm not feeling any pain in my left leg."

Yao underwent surgery at the beginning of last month to repair a stress fracture in his left foot, an injury many had feared would keep him from leading the Chinese national team at the Olympics in August.

The injury has forced Yao to miss the rest of the season for the Rockets. Before his injury, Yao was enjoying one of his best seasons in the NBA, averaging 22.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

Yao said Friday he wanted to come back to China partly because he had become bored during his first month of rehab in the United States, but also to have some traditional Chinese medicine treatment.

Yao defended his decision to seek Chinese medical help in the face of what the China Daily said was criticism from some US basketball fans.

"There is no reason to dismiss it. It's been used in our country for thousands of years. I don't think it's short on science," he was quoted as saying.

04-17-2008, 09:21 AM
NBA playoffs will be key to deciding US Olympic team

Agence France-Presse
First Posted 08:22:00 04/16/2008

CHICAGO – US Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski will watch the National Basketball Association playoffs seeking clues for tough roster choices and hoping top stars stay healthy for August's hunt for Beijing gold.

"If all our players are in the playoffs, that's better. They will be in the best shape," Krzyzewski said on Tuesday. "We evaluate everything. We want to see what a guy does in his environment. That's the highest level."

Four years after settling for a humbling bronze medal at Athens and two years after a semi-final loss to Greece at the World Championships in Japan, the US squad of NBA stars tries to reclaim global supremacy.

"We have had an arrogance to say it's our game. It's the world's game. It originated here," Krzyzewski said.

"We've tried to educate people. It's actually the fastest growing game in the world. Let's get on that page instead of saying, 'We're American. We should win.'”

Jerry Colangelo, the former Phoenix Suns executive who serves as the US team's top executive, revamped the selection process after watching top stars pull out before Athens, critically wounding the American effort.

"Watching the Olympic team and its performance in Athens left a lot to be desired," Colangelo said. "It wasn't pretty. That's as simple as I can be. It was just bad. It was pretty ugly. Change needed to take place."

Krzyzewski has watched the world close the talent gap since the 1992 US Olympic "Dream Team" shone at Barcelona, with NBA players leading Argentina to 2004 Olympic gold and Spain to the 2006 world title.

"I don't think we should be shocked at how good our opponents are," he said. "Defeat can hasten the learning process. You can't be shocked when you lose to these teams."

A pool of players has been used the past two years. Between 15 and 18 players will gather at a camp in Las Vegas in late June after the NBA Finals and a 12-man Olympic roster plus three alternates will be announced June 30.

"Coach K" and Colangelo will have some tough choices to make among star players who want a chance to bring home gold for their nation.

"We're like two guys at a dance. We fall in love with everybody," Krzyzewski said. "All these guys want to play for the United States. They want to represent their country. If that's a problem, it's a good problem to have."

The biggest headache could be in filling three point guard spots, one almost certain to go to Dallas star Jason Kidd.

"That's the biggest decision we have to make," Krzyzewski said. "Jason is older. We worry about injuries. We have to have a good point guard in their all the time. It's how you fit the whole team, the versatility within a system."

The US squad will train for a week in Las Vegas, play an exhibition game, then fly to Asia for pre-Olympic exhibitions and training before arriving in Beijing on August 6, four days before its Olympics opener.

"We have a unique opportunity, not only to go for the gold medal and hopefully win it but also show how the game should be played - camaraderie, enthusiasm, attention to detail, those things that make basketball what it is."

Krzyzewski was pleased at last year's undefeated run through the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifier in Las Vegas.

"Hopefully we will show a higher level," he said. "The guys who played for us last year had pretty good seasons. We would hope not only to produce gold medals but produce higher quality of play at all levels."

When it comes to political issues, Krzyzewski will stress responsibility to his players and the fact they represent their nation and team.

"They have a right to say anything they want," he said. "None of these athletes has a responsibility to be political. They have a responsibility to represent their country in the best possible manner. That's what we'll focus on.

"Sometimes through a performance you show more than what you say."

04-23-2008, 06:32 AM
ARG – Fab five will play for Argentina in Beijing

BUENOS AIRES (Olympics) - Argentina will be missing Walter Herrmann but the rest of their NBA-based contingent will be at the Beijing Games.

That means Andres Nocioni of Chicago, Luis Scola of Houston, Carlos Delfino of Toronto and both Manu Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto of San Antonio will be at the Olympics to defend the gold medal they captured in Athens four years ago.

German Vaccaro, the vice-president of the Argentina Basketball Confederation recently visited North America and he said: "I met with the Argentinian players that play in the NBA and they officially confirmed to me that they will be playing at the Olympics in Beijing.

“It´s worth noting the interest that each of the Olympic champions showed when talking about the itinerary, the training venues, the trips....

"They proved yet again their closeness with the national team."

Vaccaro’s words will be reassuring for coach Sergio Hernandez.

Before Herrmann’s unexpected decision to retire from the national side several weeks ago, veteran point guard Pepe Sanchez announced he would no longer play for Argentina and would instead focus on his basketball career in Europe.

04-23-2008, 06:35 AM
ESP – Rodriguez knows Olympic place is anything but secure

MADRID (Olympics) - If the United States’ brain trust of Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski is facing a hard decision on which playmakers to take to the Olympics, Spain coach Pepu Hernandez may have an even tougher choice to make on his point guards.

Sergio Rodriguez, a member of the senior team the last three summers, including the past two when Spain won a world title in Japan and silver at last summer’s EuroBasket, could be the odd man out after not receiving much playing time with Portland in the NBA.

Jose Calderon of Toronto is a lock to make the squad while Carlos Cabezas of Unicaja Malaga, emerging star Ricky Rubio of DKV Joventut and Rodriguez would appear to be battling for two spots.

Teenager Rubio has been one of the big stories in Spain this season, helping DKV win the ULEB Cup and the Copa del Rey, and contend for the ACB title.

"Pepu Hernandez and the federation will need to decide whether I go to the Olympics,” Rodriguez says.

“They know how I play and what I can bring to the team.

“I have been with the national team since I was 14 and for me, it´s my team every summer. It´s their decision and I will respect it but I do have a lot of enthusiasm to play at the Olympics.”

Some players might be a in a bad state of mind if they’d experienced the type of year Rodriguez has.

"I think the fact that I have a happy character and I always try to find the positive side of things helps me,” Rodriguez says.

“But without a doubt, it has been a difficult year for me, yet I have learned a lot and matured.

"I don´t consider it a lost year. Of course, it´s not the year I would have liked to have had, but I believe this will help me in the future.”

Rodriguez is putting on a brave face. He knows that another year like this one will definitely be perceived as a setback in his career.

"I am 21 years old, and the first two years here have been to adapt,” he says.

“Next year, it would be very hard to put up with a similar campaign.

"I would like to play more because I feel I could do it and help my team, but I don´t look back. I know I have to continue to work, which is what I have been doing."

What Rodriguez believes is that despite not receiving much time on the court with the Trail Blazers, he has improved.

"I think I´m a better player than two years ago,” he says. “I have improved physically, mentally and in terms of play. I just need continuity, and to be given confidence.”

As for Beijing, Rodriguez knows he will have to work extremely hard the preparation period to prove he deserves one of the places.

Rodriguez, believe it or not, actually believes the predicament facing Hernandez is a good one to have.

"It´s good that there is a lot of competition for my position in the national team,” he said.

“We are not world champions for anything.”

04-24-2008, 07:30 AM
Next Saturday Spain will know first round rivals of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing

Next Saturday, the 26th of April, the groups of the men´s basketball tournament of the Olympic Games in Beijing will be formed. The FEB president, José Luis Sáez, will be present at the drawing, which is set to begin at 5:30 local time in China´s capital (11:30 a.m. local time in Spain) at the Wukesong Arena, where the Olympic basketball competition, and a friendly tournament of the women´s league to test the facility, will take place.

The national Spanish men´s team will find out who their first round Beijing 2008 Olympic tournament rivals are on Saturday, April 26th. FIBA and the BOCOG, which stands for the XXIX Olympic Games Organizational Committee, will carry out a drawing at 5:30 p.m. local Chinese time (11:30 a.m. local Spanish time) to determine the groups of the men´s and women´s competitions. The event will take place at the Wukesong Indoor Stadium of Beijing, where all Olympic basketball games will be played.

The president of the FEB, José Luis Sáez, has traveled to the Chinese capital on Tuesday with executive director Jesús Bueno, to be present at the drawing on Saturday, and also at meetings held by the FIBA central committee, of which the president is a member.

Lubomir Kotleva, FIBA athletics director, will carry out the drawing (which can be seen live on fiba.com) and will explain the procedure of how the groups will be made for the Olympic men´s tournament to all present. It´s important to keep in mind that between June and July classifying tournaments will award spots to play in the Olympics to the teams that qualify. There are three spots available for the men´s tournament, and five available for the women´s tournament. The drawing of the competition groups for the women´s games will take place on Sunday, June 15th in Madrid, just as the women´s Pre-Olympic tournament comes to a close in Spain´s capital.

The men´s teams which have already classified for the Olympics in Beijing are: Spain, U.S.A., Russia, Lithuania, Iran, China, Australia, Argentina and Angola.

There are three spots still available to complete the total of twelve teams that will participate in the men´s tournament, and they will be decided at the classification tournament held among Brazil, Greece, Lebanon, Cape Verde, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Koream Solvenia, Cameroon, Croatia, and Puerto Rico in Athens (Greeece), from July 14th-20th.

The women´s competition still has five passports to the Olympic Games available. The countries which are already playing are: Australia, China, Korea, Mali, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States.

The Spanish women´s national team will have the possibility of winning one of the 5 spots up for grabs at the Pre-Olympic tournament that will be played among Japan, Latvia, Senegal, Anola, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Figi, Belarus, Taiwan and Cuba, in Madrid (at the Telefónica Arena, June 9th-15th).

04-25-2008, 04:35 AM
U.S. Olympic Basketball Continues Quest for Gold
By Paul Levitan

The U.S. Olympic basketball team goes to Beijing with a special mission: to recapture the gold medal for the first time since 2000.

The team is planning to field basketball standouts such as Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Jason Kidd, and it will be directed by renowned Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski. But experts say international basketball has changed considerably during the last decade and the Americans face steep competition.

Gold in basketball is especially important to American sports fans because they consider basketball a U.S. iconic game, along with baseball and American football. Baseball is ending its Olympic run and football was never part of the games.

Basketball is also the most international of the sports that originated in the United States. Invented by Dr. James Naismith in Massachusetts as a winter indoor workout for boarding school students, men's basketball grew in popularity in early 20th-century America, especially among city minorities. (See "Basketball Career Still an Inner-City Dream ( http://www.america.gov/st/sports-english/2008/April/20080401120426zjsredna0.8432886.html?CP.rss=true ).")


It is no wonder that since basketball's introduction to the games in 1936 America has won gold at all but four Olympics. Yet, the U.S. quest for Olympic basketball gold in 2008 will not be easy.

Until the end of the Cold War era, professional players were excluded from the Olympic Games. No National Basketball Association (NBA) stars were allowed on U.S. Olympic teams that had to face state-sponsored champions from the Soviet Union and other communist countries that were professional in all but name.

Still, great college basketball players like future U.S. Senator Bill Bradley in 1964 and Michael Jordan in 1984 led the United States to gold, but the games were relatively close. In the 1964 gold medal game, the U.S. team beat the Soviets by 14 points. In 1984, they did not have to face the Soviets because of the Soviet boycott of the Los Angeles games.

There also were times when U.S. teams did not win the gold. The most controversial game was the 1972 gold contest in Munich, Germany, which resulted in a Soviet victory. With the United States ahead by one point, the referees allowed the Soviet team three tries to inbound the ball with three seconds left. The final inbounds pass resulted in a game-winning Soviet shot.


In 1988, the American team had to settle for bronze when it lost to the Soviet team in the semi-finals. But that was the last "amateurs only" year in Olympic basketball.

In 1989, FIBA (the International Basketball Federation) allowed professional players, including those in the NBA, to play at the Olympics. This decision paved the way for America's 1992 "Dream Team," considered by many the best team in basketball history. It included Michael Jordan (in his second Olympic appearance), Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, David Robinson and John Stockton, to name just a few.

Magic Johnson played for the "Dream Team" after having tested positive for the HIV virus the previous year. His participation in the Olympics helped raise international awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS.

The entrance of the "Dream Team" into the Olympics marked a larger change in international basketball. Since 1992, NBA and major U.S. college teams have been welcoming an ever greater number of international players, thus improving the international level of basketball. For example, in the 1997-1998 season on NBA teams, there were 29 foreign-born players out of 435; in the current season, NBA rosters count 83 out of 450 as foreign-born.


As a result, in play after 1992, the U.S. margins of victory came to be smaller. In 1996 in Atlanta, the United States still won by large point margins. The 2000 games in Sydney, Australia, however, proved much tougher. In the semifinals, the U.S. men's team won against the Lithuanians by just two points before winning the gold in a close game against France.

In the 2004 Olympics, the U.S. team struggled in the preliminaries, losing to Puerto Rico and Lithuania. In the semifinals, it was beaten by Argentina and ended up with a bronze medal.

Is Beijing going to be a great comeback? The United States will face skillful and determined opponents. They include old acquaintances: Argentina, the 2004 Olympics winner, and Lithuania, which won bronze in 1992, 1996 and 2000. But China's team also is expected to do well, especially if the dominant Chinese center Yao Ming recovers from the injury he received in NBA play. Spain, Greece and Australia have been fielding top-notch teams as well.

Whether the United States wins the gold will be determined partly by how well Krzyzewski is able transform a diverse collection of basketball stars and mold them into a cohesive team. The competition is getting tougher, especially with most international teams fielding NBA players.

Starting with the quarterfinals, the Olympic basketball competition is a single elimination tournament, so a single loss could cost a team not only a gold medal, but a chance to win any medal at all. With so many good national Olympic basketball teams, the quest for gold in 2008 could be more unpredictable than ever.

For more information, see the USA National Basketball ( http://www.usabasketball.com/ ) Web site.

04-25-2008, 06:17 AM

Just the Facts ... 2008 Olympic Men's Basketball

SITE: Beijing, China
DATES: August 8-24, 2008
DRAW: April 26, 2008
SITES OF COMPETITION: Wukesong Basketball Arena
COMPETITION DATES: Preliminary Round Play: August 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18; Quarterfinals: August 20; Semifinals: August 22: Finals: August 24
GOLD MEDAL GAME: August 24, 2008

1. CHINA (Host Country)
2. SPAIN (2006 FIBA World Champion)
3. ANGOLA (FIBA Africa Zone Champion
4. USA (FIBA Americas Zone Champion)
5. ARGENTINA (FIBA Americas Zone Runner-up)
6. IRAN (FIBA Asia Zone Champion)
7. RUSSIA (FIBA Europe Zone Champion)
8. LITHUANIA (FIBA Europe Third Place Finisher)
9. AUSTRALIA (FIBA Oceania Zone Champion)
10. 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament Champion
11. 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament Runner-up
12. 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament Third Place Finisher

2007 FIBA Africa Zone Olympic Qualifying Tournament: Lubango and Luanda, Angola,
August 15-26. Angola won the tournment and the Olympic qualifying berth by defeating Cameroon 86-72 on Aug. 26. Cameroon and Cape Verde finished second and third respectively to earn the qualifying berths for the 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

2007 FIBA Americas Zone Olympic Qualifying Tournament: Las Vegas, Nevada - Aug. 22-Sept. 2. The United States won the FIBA Americas Championship defeating Argentina 118-81 in the gold medal game on Sept. 2. The United States and Argentina earned FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying berths, while Puerto Rico, Brazil and Canada finished third through fifth to earn the qualifying berths for the 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

2007 FIBA Asia Zone Olympic Qualifying Tournament: Tokushima, Japan - July 28-Aug.5. Iran won the tournment and the Olympic qualifying berth by defeating Lebanon 74-69 on Aug. 5. Lebanon and South Korea finished second and third respectively to earn the qualifying berths for the 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

2007 FIBA Europe Zone Olympic Qualifying Tournament: Madrid, Spain - Sept. 3-16. Russia won the FIBA EuroBasket gold medal after defeating host Spain 60-59, while Lithuania earned bronze after dispatching Greece 78-69. With Spain already qualified for the Olympics by vitue of winning the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Russia and bronze medalist Lithuania earned Europe's two Olympic qualifying berths. Greece, Germany, Croatia and Slovenia finished fourth through seventh respectively to earn the qualifying berths for the 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

2007 FIBA Oceania Zone Olympic Qualifying Tournament: Australia - August 20-24, 2007, best of three series between Australia and New Zealand. Australia won the first two games of the three game series to take the qualifying berth. New Zealand earned the qualifying berth for the 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The final three qualifying berths for the 2008 Olympics men’s basketball competition will be determined through the 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men that is scheduled for July 14-20, in Athens, Greece.

A total of 12 teams will compete in the 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament and those 12 teams were determined based on finishes in each of FIBA’s five zone qualifying tournaments. The FIBA Africa Zone placed two teams -Cameroon, Cape Verde; the FIBA Americas Zone advanced three teams - Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada; the FIBA Asia Zone placed two teams - Lebanon, South Korea; the FIBA Europe Zone advanced four teams - Greece, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia; and the FIBA Oceania Zone sends one team - New Zealand.

The 12 teams will be divided in four groups of three teams each and will play a single round robin. The two best placed teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals, semifinals, finals and consolation games which will determine the first three places and thus the teams that will qualify for the Olympics.

Qualfiying Teams Qualified For 2008 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Africa Zone (2 teams): Cameroon, Cape Verde
Americas Zone (3 teams): Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada
Asia Zone (2 teams): Lebanon, South Korea
European Zone (4 teams): Greece, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia
Oceania Zone (1 team): New Zealand

Kid Cubao
04-25-2008, 09:37 AM
^^ thank you for the coverage. keep posting :)

04-25-2008, 01:40 PM
This Saturday April 26, 2008. 07:30pm Manila time on CNN.

CNN's "Countdown Beijng: Chasing the Dream," profiles the athletes who hope to represent their nations in Beijing, and the issues and stories in the build-up to the Games in August

The program will feature China's own sporting stars -- NBA Rookie Yi Jianlian of the Milwaukee Bucks. While he shuns all comparisons to bona-fide basketball superstar Yao Ming and simply won't talk about Tibet, Yi shares his thoughts about the Chinese basketball team's Olympic ambitions and adapting to life in the USA, in his ever-improving English.

04-25-2008, 07:23 PM
Carlos Jiménez: “Due to our results, Spain should be leading the 2008 Beijing drawing.¨

Carlos Jiménez, capitan of Spain´s national basketball team for the last four years (he debuted as capitan at the Olympic games in Athens in 2004), shares his preferences for the men´s tournament drawing for the 2008 Olympics. The drawing will take place on Saturday, in Beijing.

Carlos Jiménez, a forward who plays internationally, understands that the, ¨Olympics drawing can be seen as the starting of the Games, since it is the first basketball event in Beijing and it will allow us to begin to do our evaluations.¨

The lottery drum will hold the names of the 9 national teams which are already classified, and the three unknown teams will be determined on July 14th- 20th in Athens, thus making the drawing, ¨A little strange, since the groups won´t be complete yet. The unknown teams don´t make up a big percentage of the total, but it´s not normal to hold a drawing without knowing three of the participants,¨ said Jiménez.

Tournament organizers have yet to determine which teams will lead each series of the drawings, although Carlos Jiménez clearly believes that Spain, ¨Should be one of the head teams in the drawing, because if one keeps in mind the latest results when deciding about the drawing, Spain is the world champion team, and runner up for the European championship.¨

Despite stumbling in the latest world competitions, the team from USA is largely favored for the gold medal. The team may feel a desire for revenge and try to claim the medal since they were unable to come close to the gold at the Olympics in 2004, in Indianapolis in 2002 and in Athens in 1998. ¨If they actually arrived to Beijing seeking revenge, it would be better for us to be paired up with them as late as possibile. But due to all my years with the national team I´ve seen it all, and I´ve competited in all of the possible combinations, so I´ve been able to prove that it really isn´t useful to declare before the drawing which team is better for you to end up with in the beginning, to avoid seeing them at the quarterfinals.¨

Speaking of those favored for the Olympic title, Carlos Jiménez points out the teams that have stood out in the lastest international competitions, ¨Like Argentina (current Olympic champion), Russia (current European champion), USA and Spain.¨

As far as more bets, the Spanish capitan is going with, ¨Greece, Germany, Croatia, Puerto Rico and Brazil” as the main candidates to obtain the last three slots that will be at stake at the Pre-Olympic tournament to complete the tournament schedule.

04-25-2008, 07:25 PM
Rudy Fernández: “In Beijing I want to be in a strong group to later have a good match up in the quarters

Rudy Fernández, a forward who plays internationally, is hoping that Spain is put into a strong group in the drawing of the 2008 Beijing basketball tournament, to be able to have, in theory, an easier match up in the quarterfinals. The drawing is to be held on Saturday, April 26th.

Rudy Fernández is sure that what´s important as far as the format of the Olympic games is the, ¨Quarterfinal match up. That´s why I think it´s better for us to play against important teams in the first rounds.¨ Among the teams he wouldn´t like to be matched up with in the quarterfinals are, ¨USA, Argentina, Russia and Greece (if Greece classifies in the Pre-Olympic tournament).¨

Rudy still freshly remembers what happened four years ago at the Olympics in Athens, Greece, and this is apparent in his answers.¨ That was a really bad break, because we were the team who lost the fewest games of the tournament, and since we were defeated in the quarterfinals we placed 7th,¨affirmed Rudy Fernández as he explained that, ¨Our objective in Beijing will be, as always, to try and place as high as possible, and then look over the classifications of the other group a bit, yet while always depending on ourselves.¨

When talking about the teams favored to classify for the last slots to play in Beijing, and about those who will win medals in the Chinese capital, the Spanish forward is betting on the European teams, and Brazil, to fight it out to win one of the three slots available at the Pre-Olympic tournament, and he thinks that USA, Argentina and Spain are all candidates for the Olympic gold medal.

04-26-2008, 06:16 AM
ARG – Manu is `realistic’ about Argentina’s gold medal chances

BUENOS AIRES (Olympics) - Manu Ginobili is fully aware that everyone in South America and around the world is wondering if he and Argentina have what it takes to seriously challenge for another Olympic gold medal.

Just four years ago, the Argentinians became the darlings of international basketball when beating hosts Greece in the quarter-finals, semi-finalists Team USA and then Italy in the final to capture the title.

"People don't realize how difficult it is to win gold at the Olympics,” Ginobili said.

“It happened once and it may happen again but it's complicated. Many things have to fall into place. You cannot lose in key games, in key shots. It's far more realistic that it will not happen but that we come close.

“But we are all very enthusiastic."

Players like Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto, Andres Nocioni and Luis Scola have gained vital experience with their clubs in the time that has passed since Athens, and Scola was last year voted MVP of the FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas.

But guards Pepe Sanchez and Alejandro Montecchia, and swingman Walter Herrmann, are no longer playing which means coach Sergio Hernandez will be looking for new stars to emerge.

04-27-2008, 06:05 AM
PR N°26 - Results of the Draw for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Basketball tournaments

GENEVA/BEIJING (Olympics) - FIBA, in cooperation with the Chinese Basketball Association, hosted today in Beijing the draws for the 2008 Olympic Basketball Tournaments that will be played from 9th to 24th August 2008.

The draws took place in the Olympic basketball venue, the brand new 18.000-seat Wukesong Indoor Stadium, coinciding with the meeting of the FIBA Central Board and during the final competition day of the Good Luck Beijing Test Event for Women.

The qualified teams, both men and women, have been drawn into two groups of six teams each with the assistance of three-time Olympic Champion Lisa Leslie of the USA, Olympic Silver medallist Nathalie Porter from Australia, and Chinese stars Whang Zhi Zhi and Sui Feifei.

Please find below the result of the draw, as well as the complete event schedule.


Already qualified for Beijing 2008 are the following nine teams: Angola (African Champion), Argentina (Americas runner-up), Australia (Oceanian Champion), China (host), Iran (Asian Champion), Lithuania (European Bronze medallist), Russia (European Champion), Spain (World Champion) and USA (Champion of the Americas).

The remaining three men's berths for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will be decided in the 12-team FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men that will take place in Athens (Greece), from 14th to 20th July, and that will feature the following participants: Cameroon and Cape Verde (Africa), Puerto Rico, Brazil and Canada (Americas), Lebanon and Korea (Asia), Greece, Germany, Croatia, and Slovenia (Europe) and New Zealand (Oceania). The draw for the remaining three qualified teams will be held on 20th July 2008 in Athens, Greece.

1. Composition of groups:

Group A: Argentina, Australia, Iran, Lithuania, Russia, Qualifier A
Group B: Angola, China, Spain, USA, Qualifier B and Qualifier C

2. Preliminary Round:

The exact game number and time for each of the Preliminary Round games below will be known by 25th May 2008 at the latest. The information below only shows whom is playing whom on which day. The Preliminary Round games will be played at 09:00, 11:15, 14:30, 16:45, 20:00 and 22:15 hours.

10th August 2008:

Game 7: Australia vs. Qualifier A
Game 8: Russia vs. Iran
Game 9: Lithuania vs. Argentina
Game 10: USA vs. China
Game 11: Spain vs. Qualifier C
Game 12: Qualifier B vs. Angola

12th August 2008:

Game 19: Qualifier A vs. Russia
Game 20: Argentina vs. Australia
Game 21: Iran vs. Lithuania
Game 22: China vs. Spain
Game 23: Angola vs. USA
Game 24: Qualifier C vs. Qualifier B

14th August 2008:

Game 31: Argentina vs. Qualifier A
Game 32: Lithuania vs. Russia
Game 33: Australia vs. Iran
Game 34: Angola vs. China
Game 35: Qualifier B vs. Spain
Game 36: USA vs. Qualifier C

16th August 2008:

Game 43: Qualifier A vs. Lithuania
Game 44: Iran vs. Argentina
Game 45: Russia vs. Australia
Game 46: China vs. Qualifier B
Game 47: Qualifier C vs. Angola
Game 48: Spain vs. USA

18th August 2008:

Game 55: Iran vs. Qualifier A
Game 56: Australia vs. Lithuania
Game 57: Argentina vs. Russia
Game 58: Qualifier C vs. China
Game 59: USA vs. Qualifier B
Game 60: Angola vs. Spain

3. Quarter-Finals:

The information below shows only who will be playing whom in accordance with the final standings after the Preliminary Round.

20th August 2008:

Game 65: B2 vs. A3
Game 66: A1 vs. B4
Game 67: A2 vs. B3
Game 68: B1 vs. A4

The exact game number and time for the four Quarter-Finals will be known at the latest on the evening of 18th August. The games of the Quarter-Finals will be played at 14:30, 16:45, 20:00 and 22:15 hours.

4. Semi-Finals:

22nd August 2008:

Game 71: Winner 65 vs. Winner 66
Game 72: Winner 67 vs. Winner 68

The exact game number and time for the two Semi-Finals will be known at the latest on the evening of 20th August. The games of the Semi-Finals will be played at 20:00 hours and 22:15 hours.

5. Finals:

24th August 2008:

Game 75 (12:00 hours): Loser 71 vs. Loser 72 (3 - 4)
Game 76 (14:30 hours): Winner 71 vs. Winner 72 (1 - 2)

04-29-2008, 06:11 AM
ESP - Gasol wary of Kobe, team USA

LOS ANGELES (Olympics) - Pau Gasol admits “it’s almost impossible to stop” his Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant but he and Spain will do their best to beat superstar and Team USA when they meet in the preliminary round at the Beijing Games.

Spain were on Saturday drawn in Group B of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament with the United States, hosts China, Angola and two sides that will come through the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

"I would have preferred to have met Team USA in the final but this is what the draw has pulled out. It's clear that Team USA is the team to beat,” Gasol said.

“They have a great side, with a very defined project but if we want to win gold, we have to beat everyone. We know it's almost impossible to stop Kobe, but between all of us we will try.”

Spain will be among the leading sides at the Olympics after capturing gold at the FIBA World Championship and silver at last year’s EuroBasket in Spain.

"We have always beaten China,” Gasol said.

“They have Yao but they don't defend well, even though as hosts of the tournament they will be more dangerous.

“Angola already gave us some problems in Japan.”

Spain came up short against the United States four years ago in Athens, losing to them in the quarter-finals 102-94.

04-29-2008, 06:13 AM
Tough luck for Chinese basketball team
By Zhao Rui (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-04-28 08:47

China's men's basketball team has a mountain to climb at the Beijing Games, Chinese Basketball Association president Li Yuanwei commented after the match-ups were announced for the Olympics.

The national team will face the Kobe Bryant-led United States on Aug 10 in Group B, which also includes world champion Spain, African title-holders Angola and two qualifiers yet to be named, the International Basketball Association (FIBA) announced at the Wukesong Indoor Arena on Saturday.

"This is a really, really tough group," Li told sina.com. "China will have the biggest challenge ever because there are two super powerhouses, the very athletic African champion and two `X-factors', as we don't even know who they are right now."

Featuring NBA all-star center Yao Ming and rookie Yi Jianlian, China is expected to make a top six finish at the Games, beginning Aug 8.

Greece, Germany, Brazil and Canada will take their best shots at the men's qualifying tournament on July 14-20 in Athens, with Slovenia, Croatia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico fighting for berths as well. Two of the three qualifiers will join Group B.

In a poll conducted by Sina.com, 57 percent of respondents thought China would be unlikely to realize its Olympic goal because the result of the draw is "very bad news for China".

Basketball has recently become China's most popular sport, with support from an estimated 350 million fans, but aside from an eighth-place finish at the Athens Games four years ago it has not performed well on the international stage.

Even so, Li said China should make good use of the days leading up to the Games, rather than complaining about the unfavorable draw.

"No matter which team we play against, we have to improve ourselves first," he said. "You cannot always expect a good draw. We have to keep our feet on the ground and try to make the best possible preparation for the Olympics."

In the women's draw, China was lumped with the US, New Zealand and Mali in Group B, as South Korea, Australia and Russia make up Group A. Five other qualifiers will be determined at a qualifying tournament in Spain, in June.

China's Australian coach Tom Maher said the draw was "satisfactory" for his side, which beat Team USA 84-81 at the Beijing International Invitational on Saturday. It was the first time a Chinese women's team had ever beaten the US.

"I am satisfied with the draw, I am also satisfied with China's opponents," he told Sohu.com afterward.

China's women's team, which finished ninth at the Athens Games, beat Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Cuba and the US en route to win the title at the warm-up event last week.

"It's wonderful to beat the US. It's a good thing for morale, giving us belief that we can play against top teams," Maher said.

The Olympic basketball tournament will run from Aug 9-24.

04-29-2008, 06:16 AM
Boomers' Olympics draw tough: Goorjian
April 28, 2008 - 5:04PM

Boomers coach Brian Goorjian believes Australia are in the tougher pool of the Olympic basketball tournament, despite avoiding the United States and world champions Spain.

Australia's task to progress beyond the pool round in Beijing means producing in a pool comprising reigning Olympic champion Argentina, European powers Lithuania and Russia, Asian champs Iran and another qualifier, possibly Greece.

If that's not a big enough ask in the Boomers' quest to win a maiden medal in men's basketball, they will also be keen to avoid finishing fourth in their pool, which would likely set up a quarter-final against the Americans.

While Goorjian is confident Australia can improve on their performance from Athens, when they failed to reach the second round, he acknowledged the Olympic draw, announced in Beijing over the weekend, was always going to present its challenges.

"So you don't feel hard done by because there's quality teams in both groups, but if you look at the two pools, the one thing that stands out to me is, I think, we're in the tougher pool," he said.

"Our challenge is to get out of the pool and once you get out of the pool the world's your oyster.

"You're one game away from four teams left in it, so I've got my mind and my eyes firmly placed on getting out of that pool.

"It's a challenge, but I think we can do it."

Goorjian has just returned from a three-week tour of Europe and the United States to visit Australia's overseas-based players, and had it reinforced just how tough the Boomers' opponents will be.

"Just being in the United States now and watching the NBA play-offs, if you look at Lithuania and Argentina, they have a number of guys not only playing in these play-offs but dominating," he said.

"(San Antonio's Argentinian Manu) Ginobili is one of the best guys in the play-offs at this point in time, scoring and rebounding and winning, and there's others."

The release of the draw means Goorjian and his assistant coaches can now begin closely analysing their prospective opponents, before the Boomers assemble in mid-May for their first training camp.

That will mean a close look at Russia, who have fast become a European power, and Lithuania, a bogy side for Australia in past Olympics, having beaten t he Boomers in the bronze-medal game in both Atlanta and Sydney.

The other pool contains the US, China, Spain, Angola and two more sides to come from the qualifying tournament, in Greece in June.

Despite the Americans' inability to win gold in either the Olympics or world championships since Sydney, Goorjian was sure the team led by NBA stars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Camello Anthony was smaller, quicker and contained better shooters.

"They've got a real energy about them, they're going to be something really special," he said.

04-29-2008, 06:18 AM
Boomers lose two stars for Beijing campaign
April 28, 2008 - 2:21PM

The Australian men's basketball team will be without two stars at the Beijing Olympics, with Sam Mackinnon and Jason Smith ruled out because of illness and injury.

Mackinnon was last week diagnosed with blood clots on both lungs after he was admitted to hospital on Thursday night because of chest pains.

The blood clots were diagnosed before they became potentially life-thtreatening and Mackinnon, 31, is now resting at home in Brisbane, having been told by doctors not to play any contact sport for at least three months.

Smith, 33, will also miss the Olympics in August because of a rotator cuff injury in his right shoulder, which requires surgery.

He faces a stint of up to eight months of rehabilitation, which means he will not play for his new NBL club, the South Dragons, until late December at the earliest.

Smith today said he was shocked at being told he needed surgery, after he suffered what he thought was a minor shoulder injury playing for the Sydney Kings during last season's NBL play-offs, and was disappointed and upset at having to miss the Olympic tournament.

He said he had spoken with Mackinnon, who was also shocked at learning he had developed blood clots on his lungs.

The setbacks are a major disappointment for Boomers coach Brian Goorjian, who must now re-consider who to appoint as Australia's captain this Olympic campaign.

But Goorjian was encouraged by a three-week tour of Europe and the United States, where he met up with and watched Australia's overseas contingent in action in their respective seasons.

Goorjian said the overseas-based players were all keen to represent Australia in the Olympics and were all in good shape physically.

Australia has been drawn in a tough pool for the Olympic tournament, and will meet defending Olympic champions Argentina, European powerhouses Russia and Lithuania, Asian champion Iran and another yet-to-be-confirmed qualifier.

The United States and China are in the other pool, however there is the potential to play Australia in the cross-over stage of the tournament should the Boomers progress to the quarter-finals.

04-29-2008, 06:22 AM
US gets favorable draw for Olympics
By Chris Sheridan
Updated: April 26, 2008

Team USA didn't quite strike gold Saturday, but it learned that the road to the Olympic gold medal game won't be quite as difficult as it could have been.

The draw for the Olympic men's basketball tournament took place in Beijing on Saturday, and the United States was placed in what should turn out to be the weaker of the two groups -- although two of the opponents remain unknown pending the outcome of a pre-Olympic qualifying tournament to be held in July.

Of the five top teams in the world, three -- Argentina, Russia and Lithuania -- were placed in Group A.

In Group B with the United States are Spain, China, Angola and two teams that will emerge from the pre-Olympic qualifier in Athens, where Greece will be the favorite. A third team from that pre-Olympic qualifier will be placed in Group A along with Argentina, Russia, Lithuania, Australia and Iran.

Four teams advance from each group to the quarterfinals. If the Americans win Group B, they would face the fourth-place team from Group A in the quarterfinals, and the second-place team from Group A or the third-place team from Group B in the semifinals.

Or to put it a little more speculatively: If Argentina, the defending Olympic champion, wins Group A and Team USA wins Group B, the teams could not meet until the final day of the competition.

"Our pool might be considered easier, but I don't know that for a fact," Team USA director Jerry Colangelo told ESPN.com. "And with the way the crossover works out, sometimes it makes for a more difficult matchup in the quarterfinals or semifinals.

"To me, this isn't really going to be about who we're playing, but about us staying on course with our mission, and we're going to respect every single team we play."

FIBA also announced two major rules changes that will go into effect after the 2010 World Championship in Turkey:

• The shape of the lane will be changed from a trapezoid to a rectangle, conforming to NBA dimensions.

• The 3-point line will be moved a half-meter farther from the basket, from 20 feet, six inches to just over 22 feet -- still well short of the NBA distance of 23 feet, nine inches.

FIBA also approved a change allowing a technical foul to be assessed for excessive swinging of the elbows, even if a player does not make contact with another player. That rule will go into effect as of Oct. 1, 2008.

The Olympic draw was conducted at the Olympic basketball venue, the Wukesong Indoor Stadium, coinciding with a meeting of FIBA's central board.

"The word I'm getting from China is that they're extremely excited that we're going to open against them, and maybe it's apropos that we're playing them first," Colangelo said.

The Americans will play pre-Olympic exhibitions against three teams from Group A, Russia, Lithuania and Australia, before opening the Olympics on Aug. 10 against China.

Two nights later Team USA plays Angola, and on Aug. 16 the Americans will play one of the teams that will emerge from the pre-Olympic qualifier, where Greece, Slovenia, Brazil, Germany, Croatia, New Zealand, Canada and Puerto Rico will be the top contending teams.

The identity of that team -- as well as the Americans' final first-round opponent -- will not be known until a draw is held in Athens on July 21. (The results of the pre-Olympic tournament will have no bearing on the draw).

For now, what shapes up as the Americans' toughest first-round game, is the Aug. 18 match against Spain, which defeated the U.S. at the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis and lost a closely contested quarterfinal match against Team USA at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. (The teams did not face each other at the 2006 World Championship in Japan, in which Spain defeated Greece for the gold medal).

Spain's roster expected to include NBA players Pau Gasol, Jose Calderon and Juan Carlos Navarro, along with NBA prospects Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez. There also is a possibility, according to reports in the Spanish media, that teenage point guard phenom Ricky Rubio will be competing in training camp with Portland's Sergio Rodriguez for the backup point guard spot.

Saturday's draw also made it extremely unlikely there will be what would have been a politically-charged game between the US and Iran, because there is little chance of Iran finishing higher than fifth in Group A.

The 12-man U.S. roster will be chosen June 30 following a four-day mini-camp in Las Vegas.

The team will then open pre-Olympic training in Las Vegas on July 19 and play an exhibition against Canada on July 25 before departing for pre-Olympic stops in Macao and Shanghai. There were preliminary talks regarding an additional exhibition game in Taiwan, but that possibility has been scrapped.

04-29-2008, 02:29 PM
Of course Gasol will just lay to his teammates the blueprint to stop Kobe, but I agree with him. It's going to be hard for them. ;)

04-30-2008, 06:06 AM
AUS – Mackinnon, Smith out of Beijing Olympics for Australia

SYDNEY (Olympics) – Australia’s men have been struck by a couple of thunderbolts with the news that veterans Sam Mackinnon and Jason Smith will be unable to play at the Olympics.

Mackinnon, 32, has blood clots on his lungs while Smith, the 33-year-old captain of the Boomers, needs surgery on a shoulder injury that he suffered in last year’s NBL play-offs.

The 1.97m Mackinnon, who played at small forward at the FIBA World Championship in Japan and averaged 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, is expected to return to the court for the forthcoming domestic league campaign in Australia.

He must now take blood-thinning medication for three months, though, and doctors have said he cannot play any contact sport during this time.

Smith needs an operation on his rotator cuff and that will prevent him from playing for eight months.

He poured in better than nine points a game in Japan and helped the Boomers survive Hamamatsu, where the toughest group in the competition was staged.

Australia coach Brian Goorjian, meanwhile, knows the squad he will take to the Beijing Games faces a tough path to the quarter-finals after being drawn in Group A along with defending champions Argentina, European juggernauts Lithuania and last year’s EuroBasket winners Russia.

Iran, the winners of the FIBA Asia Championship, and one of the teams that will reach Beijing via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Athens in July, complete the group.

"You don't feel hard done by because there's quality teams in both groups, but if you look at the two pools, the one thing that stands out to me is, I think, we're in the tougher pool," Goorjian said.

"Our challenge is to get out of the pool and once you get out of the pool, the world's your oyster.

"You're one game away from four teams left in it, so I've got my mind and my eyes firmly placed on getting out of that pool.”

"It's a challenge, but I think we can do it."

Should the Boomers progress, they could face a quarter-final against Team USA, world champions Spain or hosts China.

04-30-2008, 06:11 AM
Spain´s first rivals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing will be USA, China, and Angola

Spain´s national team was put in Group B, which has two slots that are still undetermined. The other two teams will be revealed after the Pre-Olympic tournament is played in Athens, Greece, in the middle of July. The drawing, which took place on Saturday in the capital of China where FEB president José Luis Saéz, and executive director Jesús Bueno were present, also determined the Group A teams. Argentina, Russia, Lithuania, Australia, Iran and a sixth team which is still undetermined make up Group A.

Spain now knows three of the five rivals that must be faced on the road to Olympic gold. On Saturday, April 26th, in the Wukesong Sports Center in Beijing, where the basketball games of the Olympics will take place, a drawing was held to determine the groups of the Olympic basketball tournament.

Spain´s national team was put in Group B, where they will take on USA, a team which is always a major force and now looks to make up for the losses in Athens, the host team China, and the African champions, Angola. The two other teams which will complete the Group B list will have won their spots in the Pre-Olympic tournament that will be played in Athens, Greece halfway through July.

The current world champions will be able to measure up against USA, determining the strength of Gasol, Navarro, Calderón and company right away. What´s more, the host country China is another danger as they´ll try to quickly get Yao Ming on the roster to have him join up with Jianlian Yi, another Chinese NBA player, to fight for a medal.

Another old Olympic aquaintance of Spain´s, Angola, will be in the group with 'Pepu' Hernández´s players. Spain should keep a close eye on the Pre-Olympic tournament in Athens on July 14th- 20th since two more of their first round rivals will be determined.

The Spanish group can now breathe easily knowing that although the match ups with teams such as Russia, Lithuania, and Argentina won´t be easy, they will be able to avoid USA in the second round, something that really worried Spain.

The drawing also paired up the national teams that qualified, according to their potential. Australia will be matched up with the third team that qualifies at the tournament in Greece.

In this system each of the two pairs of national teams was placed into one of the two groups which has six teams each. Spain, EuroBasket runner-up, was ranked with Russia, the EuroBasket champion. Spain was therefore placed the fifth slot in group B.

On the other hand, Group A was formed with Argentina seen as the favorite, although they must prove themselves against two tough European rivals: Russia, the current European champion, and Lithuania which could possibly have all of its NBA stars present. The players from Argentina must make up for the absence of Walter Hermmann and Pepe Sánchez who won´t be wearing the light blue national jersey in China. In the face off, Russia will be a feared obstacle; promising young players such as Vyktor Khryapa and Sergei Monia have matured, and they will be united with the big forces of Andrei Kirilenko and JR Holden.

Nevertheless, the underdog of the group who could surprise all might be Lithuania, which has some secret weapon shooters including NBA stars Linas Kleiza and Zydrunas Illgauskas, who have publicly claimed their intentions of playing with their national team after three years of absence.

The group also consists of the completely unknown team from Iran, which hopes to give a few scares to the favored teams, as well as akward Australia with NBA player Andrew Bogut leading the team, and the third team that won in the Pre-Olympic tournament in Athens.

Spain´s debut game will be on August 10th against one of the teams that will be determined at the Pre-Olympic tournament. They will face the host country China in the second game, then play against the second team that qualifies at the Pre-Olympic tournament in Athens, before sizing up USA in the second-to-last game. The final game of the first round will be against Angola.

- Group A: Iran, Lithuania, Argentina, Russia, Australia and one team to be determined.
- Grupo B: Spain, USA, China, Angola, and two teams to be determined.

Men´s Pre-Olympic Tournament: The three spots that still remain to complete the list of the twelve teams who will play in the men´s tournament will be decided at the classifying tournament that will be held in Athens, Greece, on July 14th- 20th. The following teams aspire to win a spot: Brazil, Greece, Lebanon, Cape Verde, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Korea, Slovenia, Cameroon, Croatia and Puerto Rico.

05-01-2008, 05:11 AM
ANG – Gomes: `Angola not just making up the numbers’

LUANDA (Olympic Games) – Angola’s Joaquim Gomes firmly believes that his national team is better than the one that played in Japan two years ago and warned their future Olympic opponents not to underestimate the African nation.

On Saturday, Angola were drawn in Group B of the Beijing Games along with the United States, Spain and hosts China.

The 27-year-old said to FIBA.com: “Most teams already know our potential and we will step onto the court to compete, whatever the team will be. We are eager to do better than we did at the last World Championship.”

Ninth placed two years ago in Japan, the nine-time African champions will return to Asia in the summer with a clear aim.

“We are not going to Beijing to make up the numbers,” Gomes said. “This theory does not exist in our minds anymore.”

Despite the power forward’s conviction, Gomes, also known as “Kikas Gomes” in Angola circles, acknowledges it will not be an easy task:

“It will be extremely difficult for us,” he said.

“Spain and the US are, in my opinion, candidates to win this competition. China, as hosts, will cause trouble to any team because they will try to bring pleasure to their fans, there.”

With appearances at the Athens Games and FIBA World Championship in Japan, Gomes is one of most experienced members of the Angola team, which claimed the ninth African title last summer in Angolan capital, Luanda.

His experience in previous events may be crucial for the youngsters who are being incorporated into the squad:

“Olympic Games are a very enjoyable competition, but my experience says that it is also the most difficult event,” Gomes said.

Joaquim Gomes was Most Valuable Player of the 2007 FIBA Africa Championship.

He led Angola in Japan with an average of 15 points and eight rebounds per contest.

05-01-2008, 05:15 AM
ESP - Jose Happy, Garba likely out of Olympics

TORONTO (Olympics) - Spain know they’ll have one Toronto Raptor in their line-up this summer when they go for gold at the Beijing Games with playmaker Jose Calderon set to start for the national team again.

However, Pepu Hernandez is almost certain to be without Jorge Garbajosa following his season of inactivity with the Raptors after an operation on his leg at the start of the campaign.

“I think it’s a safe assumption to say that Garbajosa will not be playing in the Olympics as long as he’s under contract with us,” said Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo.

“I know I’m not making many people in Spain happy but, that’s a safe assumption.

“I think he is accepting of his current state, which is one of uncertainty, and he knows now more than ever that this is a situation he needs to handle with great care.”

Toronto have a team option on Garbajosa’s contract. The club is currently in litigation with the Spanish Basketball Federation over an insurance issue that arose after last year’s EuroBasket when Garbajosa helped Spain capture a silver medal.

For Calderon, there is great uncertainty over his future in Toronto despite his all-star level of play.

Calderon is extremely happy in the city and insists his only concern is to play for a winner, but he has had to surrender his starting place in the line-up to TJ Ford once the latter returned from injury.

The Spanish ace has spent three years with the Raptors, and other clubs can now bid for his services.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Calderon said. “When the time arrives, they’ll say what they can offer me and then I’ll decide.

“I’d love to come back. It was a great three years. When I arrived here, I didn’t know anyone. Right now, I feel like I need to do something for the team.

“I want to win. I don’t want to be a star or no star. I want to win, win a championship. It’s a team sport.”

The main concern for the Raptors has been whether Calderon and Ford can co-exist.

Ford said he wanted to start, which is why the Raptors asked Calderon to sacrifice his place in the line-up despite his terrific play.

Calderon says he has no problems at all with Ford.

“I respect his (Ford’s) opinion,” Calderon said.

“We were great partners. I feel like I am Jose, I know my job and every minute I’m on the court, I’ll work hard. I want to be on a winning team.

“And to have a winning team, you have to fight for minutes.”

Does he want to return to Toronto?

“Why not?” Calderon said. “We’re going to be a better team. You are always going to have competition for your place. Everything will be alright. I don’t know if the Raptors will match the offer I will receive, but I’m happy here.”

05-01-2008, 01:23 PM
Raptors' Garbajosa won't play for Beijing Games


TORONTO - The Toronto Raptors said they would not free Spain's Jorge Garbajosa for the Olympics, with the NBA club and the Spanish federation still locked in a legal dispute over an earlier injury to the forward.

"I think it's a safe assumption that he will not be playing in the Olympics as long as he is under contract with us," Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo told reporters after the Raptors were eliminated by the NBA playoffs by the Orlando Magic.

"I know I'm probably not making many people in Spain happy but that's a safe assumption."

Last month the Raptors sued the Spanish federation for the non-payment of a $1 million insurance policy taken out on Garbajosa, who played in last year's European championship while still recovering from a leg injury.

Garbajosa, who helped Spain to a gold medal at the 2006 world championship, broke his left ankle in fall during a Raptors game in March 2007.

Raptors believe he was rushed back into action for the European championship and played just seven games this season before undergoing surgery again on the left leg December.

05-10-2008, 08:07 AM
ESP - Pepu Hernandez to leave Spain national team after Olympics

MADRID (Olympics)- Spain will have a new coach when they play at the EuroBasket in Poland following the announcement that Pepu Hernandez will step down after the Beijing Games.

Hernandez, who led Spain to the gold medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and silver at the EuroBasket last year in Madrid, has decided that his 'cycle will have come to an end' with the national team.

'I want to thank the FEB for giving the opportunity to have enjoyed an incredible experience,' he said.

Hernandez will attempt to follow up the World title win with Olympic glory in August and Spain are among the favourites going into the competition.
'We aspire to the maximum,' Hernandez said.

'Our mind is on the gold medal, that is why I want to ask for the suppport of everyone, players, coaches, FEB and of course, the fans.'

Standing in their way, however, are the United States, hosts China, defending champions Argentina, European heavyweights Lithuania and EuroBasket champions Russia.

Spain were last weekend drawn in the same group with the US and China.

Hernandez has some big decisions to make with respect to his squad.

There's a huge debate in Spain as to which point guards he should take to Beijing along with Jose Calderon.

Sergio Rodriguez has played very little this year with Portland and Carlos Cabezas has endured an injury-plagued campaign with Unicaja Malaga.

Teenage sensation Ricky Rubio of DKV Joventut has played so well that many think he will get one of the other two playmaker spots.

Hernandez believes that by leaving he is doing what is best for himself and for Spain.

'I have experienced three wonderful years with the national team but there are cycles that come to an end and it's good that there's a change,' he said.

05-10-2008, 08:10 AM
ESP – Spain players disappointed over Pepu’s decision to quit

MADRID (Olympics) - Spain’s Jorge Garbajosa and Felipe Reyes have expressed their sadness over Pepu Hernandez’s decision to step down as national team coach after the Olympics.

Hernandez, who led Spain to gold at the 2006 FIBA World Championship – his first tournament in charge – led them to silver last year at the EuroBasket in Spain.

"As the rest of my team-mates, I have been surprised that Pepu Hernandez has announced that he will not remain in charge after the Olympics,” Garbajosa said.

“It's a pity because he has been two years in a team that has been one of the most successful in the history of Spanish basketball and probably in any other sport.

"But his decision has to be respected and especially considering his value as coach. I hope that in Beijing he will be able to say farewell to the national team with the success he deserves.”

Reyes has thrived under Hernandez and like Garbajosa was a key member of the last two Spain national teams.

"I am surprised but he must have his reasons for doing this,” Reyes said.

"It has been a pleasure to have been coached by him.

"We will try to achieve the maximum at the Olympics and be able to give him the best possible present on his departure.

"He is a great coach and a great person."

05-10-2008, 08:15 AM
ARG – South America Championship hugely important for Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (Olympics) - Roberto Gabini of Lottomatica Roma has a chance to make Argentina’s Olympic team after being named in the 17-strong preliminary squad for the South America Championship in Puerto Mont, Chile.

The 32-year-old Gabini, a 1.98m forward, played a significant role in Roma’s run to the Top 16 of the Euroleague and also helped fire them into the Lega A play-offs with the second-best record (23-11) in Italy.

With Argentina’s established veterans who are based in the NBA, the Liga Nacional and Europe not required for the event in Chile, the tournament is a chance for Gabini and others to stake their claim for a place in the squad for Beijing.

"There's an idea to begin a renewal process,” said Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez, who lost veteran guard Pepe Sanchez to retirement several weeks ago and also suffered as youngster Walter Herrmann announced he would no longer play for the national side for personal reasons.

“For us, the South American Championship is very important.

"The list for the Olympics is open. Players that are on the list for South American Championship could join or players that don't figure in either list could also join."

Hernandez will not coach the team at the tournament in Chile which will run from July 1-6.

Instead, Hernandez's assistant coach Guillermo Narvarte will lead the side and give his feedback to Hernandez, who successfully led Argentina to Olympic qualification with a silver medal finish at the 2006 FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas.

Pablo Prigioni, Antonio Porta, Nicolás Gianella, Emanuel Ginóbili, Carlos Delfino, Andrés Nocioni, Federico Kammerichs, Leonardo Gutiérrez, Fabricio Oberto y Luis Scola will not play in Chile and most will be in Beijing.

"My idea is to take two (point) guards to the Olympics," Hernandez said.

That means with Pablo Prigioni of Tau Ceramica almost certain to start at playmaker, the back-up spot will go to either Porta of Spartak St Petersburg or Gianella of Granada in Spain.

A knee injury has sidelined Porta, a member of last summer’s team, for most of this season.

Scola, the MVP of the FIBA Americas Championship, is coming off a terrific rookie campaign in the NBA with the Houston Rockets, while Ginobili and Oberto are competing in the Western Conference play-offs with San Antonio.

Carlos Delfino had his best season in the NBA after leaving Detroit for Toronto while Andres Nocioni of Chicago remained healthy but endured a losing campaign with the Chicago Bulls.

05-10-2008, 08:17 AM
ARG – Nocioni excited about playing at Olympics again with Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (Olympics) - Andres Nocioni is champing at the bit to play for Argentina again this summer when they defend the Olympic title they captured at the Athens Games.

Chapu, as he is known in his country, missed last year’s FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas because of a foot injury.

"Having taken a break last year, I am really looking forward to representing Argentina again,” he said.

Nocioni had a sensational Olympic tournament in 2004 before his rookie campaign with the Chicago Bulls and he also played well at the 2006 FIBA World Championship where Argentina finished fourth.

They might have gone on to win the gold medal in Japan had Nocioni made a last-second three-pointer from the corner in their semi-final against Spain. Instead, Sergio Hernandez’s team lost in the bronze medal game to Team USA.

After a disappointing campaign in Chicago, who failed to make the play-offs, Nocioni is anxious to get back on the court.

"We (Chicago) never played as a team, we didn't play defense and we deserved to be out of the play- offs,” Nocioni said.

"The only positive thing with the Bulls this year is that I had no injuries and I played 82 games, but from a team level it was very complicated,” he said.

“We had a team to fight for the Eastern title but in the end, it was a disaster.

"The good thing from having been eliminated from the play-offs is that I can rest to be well for the national team.”

The Beijing Games will be an extremely difficult tournament for the Argentinians, if only because there are so many good teams in international basketball, now.

They were drawn in Group A with Australia, Lithuania, Russia and Iran.

"We must have a good preparation because the Olympics is a much harder competition than the World Championship,” Nocioni said.

“There are no easy rivals. Everyone is strong.”

Team USA will no doubt like to face Argentina again after losing to them in the semi-finals four years ago.

"We don't fear the Dream Team (USA) and I would really like to avenge the defeat to Spain,” Nocioni said.

"We are capable of winning a medal. We are going as one of the favorites and there is no reason why should we avoid that pressure.

“Each of us knows what our role is in the national team is and what we have to do."

Pepe Sanchez was one of the point guards at the Athens Olympics and he was arguably Argentina’s best player at the FIBA World Championship in Japan.

However, the 31-year-old Sanchez recently decided to retire from the national team.

Nocioni believes Pablo Prigioni of Tau Ceramica, the club he once played for in Spain, will do just fine as the starting playmaker.

"I believe Pablo Prigioni could be a good replacement for Pepe Sanchez," Nocioni said.

05-17-2008, 09:18 AM
IRI - Remedial Tonic takes Iran's basketball to Beijing

TEHRAN (Olympics) - Rajco Toroman is the coach of Iran's national basketball team. Though Iranian basketball began to show signs of life long before he arrived in the country to coach the national team, it was his diagnosis of the players weaknesses and strength that gave the national team zest for life. His quick fix has sent Iran's basketball, after half a century, to the Beijing Olympic Games. FIBA's Houman Bagheri talked to him to find out the ingredients of his remedy.

Could you tell us about your coaching career?

I have been coaching basketball teams for almost 20 years. I have worked in Serbia, Greece, Belgium, Holland, Poland, China, Cyprus, and many other countries. In ex-Yugoslavia, I was the assistant-coach of the national team, when we won the European Championships twice, once in 1991 in Rome, and then in Athens in 1995. I was also the coach of U-22 national team when our team won third place in Istanbul. Working in a lot of different countries has given me lots of handy experience.

How did you first hear about Iran and the coaching vacancy here?

I was the head-coach in a big international camp in Serbia when the Iranian national team was there in a preparation camp. I already had a lot of info about Iran's basketball. I was there when the Iranian national team was playing for the last night and that was my first close contact with the Iranian national team.

You are the one who has finally succeeded in taking the Iranian basketball team to the Olympics after half a century. What was your remedy?

First of all I tried to understand Iranian basketball. I realized that Iranian players were very athletic, very physical and with lots of basketball skills. The problem was embedded in the lack of discipline, both on and off court. I began my training with them only 4 months before the Asian Championship Games in Japan and my working style was very hard for everybody to digest immediately. I have to say that no one has ever worked like us for those games. I started with two things on my agenda. I tried very hard to bring discipline to the team, and I tried very hard to improve the games tactically. Those were the areas we concentrated on. We sent two DVDs of our games in the finals with Qatar and Lebanon to NBA to see if Iran could play in NBA Summer League. They predicted Iran would lose all games because the outside players were not as strong as those in the Summer League. But they were extremely satisfied and surprised with the discipline and tactical game Iranians showed in Japan. That's a big success and I think it is a great achievement for us that big NBA coaches praised our work. So, the basic things are discipline, hard work and tactical improvements. I think we played well but our players have not yet reached their full potentials. I think we must work on that and improve our games both offensively and defensively in transitions.

Does this mean that previous local coaches were incapable to do this?

I did not say that, because I was not here before. But that was the conclusion I arrived at for the team. I have put very strong rules on the team and they will get even tougher as we get closer to the Beijing Games. We are newcomers and little known in the world of basketball but people are now beginning to notice us. What can make us competitive is hard work and even more discipline that what we already have. If any player shows weakness, he won't be in the Olympics. We need warriors, players with characters, and we need those who fight hard. I told the players in Japan that being nice with others is for the end of the game. If they beat us, we will show them respect, but before the game we must be ready to fight. These guys will play in the Olympics against teams like Argentina which have 5 NBA players. Most of our players haven't even seen those players on TV and now they have to step in the court and play against them. And this requires a strong character, to be able to keep tough for a big battle.

So, they shouldn't get scared of the big names?

Yes, that's exactly what I want from the players; not to get scared to fight, and no niceties before the games. Last season, I was new here and I set up a new national team with a few novice players. Now, everyone knows that if he doesn't try hard, he'll be out.

Qualifying for the Olympics has made every Iranian happy. In fact, you have made a long-awaited dream come true. What was your own impression when Iran beat Lebanon in the finals and cleared its way to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games?

In the first instance I was very tired and emotionally worn out. I could not even attend the celebrations after the game. This was due to the heavy pressure I was under during those days. But after 10 minutes, I felt really proud of the Iranian players. That was the main point and I think we had an excellent emotional interaction there after. I was respecting them, and they were respecting me which made us get closer than ever before. We had a very difficult period of time before that victory. Mehdi Kamrani who was away because of injury joined the national team again after an absence of three and a half months just seven days before we flew to Japan. Hamed Afagh had a personal problem, so he had not practiced for the last 8 days.

The biggest downside for us has been the tragic and premature death of Aidin Bahrami. If he were with us, we would have had a different team and a totally different situation now. The problem of replacing someone in his position is still lingering. I told his brother, Samad, to stay stronger than ever, both for the sake of Aidin's spirit and for the sake of the national team. I believe that if all the negative load was not on the team at that time we could have even played with a more competitive force. However, I was satisfied with the results and with the players' behavior. They sacrificed everything for the team.

What is your idea about Asian and Iran's basketball in particular?

Before I came here, I had a relatively good knowledge of the teams. I had a very good friend who was coaching a team in Qatar for 15 years. He passed on a lot of information about Asian basketball. I also had a good contact in China who gave me some useful tips. The main point with most Asian teams is that though they have the physical power and basketball skills, tactically they are far behind European teams.

You mean in teamwork?

Yes, I remember the words of a famous NBA coach who said the only way to be successful in Beijing is to send the best players to Europe to pick up tactical skills for a better tactical game. If you look at the first five teams, 4 of them have European coaches. Even in China where sending players to Europe was against their rules and regulations, a European coach was hired for the national team. I have had a long conversation on this issue with my friend, who is the Serbian coach of Iran's national volleyball team. He said the only way to improve performance is to go to Turkey with three of the Iranian national team players. There they can pick European experience from the best European teams. That's how they can jump to a higher level.

And do you believe that we have the potential among Iranian players to play in good foreign teams?

Yes, I do. We agreed for Hamed Haddadi to play with one of the best European teams, Partizan Belgrade. But unfortunately the deal was not finalized because Hamed turned it down. If he had played one season in Partizan, it would have projected a different mentality here in Iran. Partizan's coach has so far sent three players to NBA. This team has over 70 very difficult games each season, and Hamed could have opened the door for other Iranian players too. For the moment, I think Samad Bahrami and Mehdi Kamrani are ready to play in Europe. These three are the tops. They can play even in ULEB and the Euro League. I believe they have the potential.

Why did Hamed turn down the offer?

Though it is still unclear to me, Hamed decided not to go for personal reasons. I asked the president of the basketball federation to talk to Hamed. But he still refused to go. It could be because he was a bit afraid of the competitive nature of the European league and the hard work it took. One thing I am sure is that it was not the money, because Partizan offered him a good salary. Also, this is not the issue during the first year as what happens over the next 5 years is much more important. I told Hamed, "You have to choose! Stay here and continue the current pattern of life or go there, fight for your position and earn more. It's your choice. Do what you want."

So, he didn't choose the big challenge?

No, he didn't and I am not sure why, but he did not take the offer.

How much, if any, do you believe foreign players in Iran have helped to improve Iranian basketball?

Of course they have. There are lots of good players who are helping the teams, moreover good teams are choosing better imports. Through their experience, the imports can help Iranian players produce a higher standard competition. Making the right choice is also very important. For example, Kaveh signed on with good players last season. Omar Sneed was my player in Belgium and Mike Jones is a good player too. I believe they could have helped Kaveh tremendously. Kaveh could have reached the finals if the team had been a bit stronger and luckier. Overall, it was very good for Kaveh.

Did you have any offers from other countries at the same time you were contacted from Iran? And what was your motivation to work here?

First of all, I was free when Mr. Zoran Radovic from FIBA called me and asked me if I wanted to take the offer. I said I had to see the whole situation first, and gather some information. I called a Serbian coach who was in Iran, then Bosnjak, and they both told me the potential here is really good. I thought I could do something and so I accepted the offer and arrived here during the play-offs in 2006-07 season. I watched a couple of games like Mahram-Saba and Saba-Petrochimi and I saw some really good and promising players. So, for me it was easy to decide to come here.

What image did you have in mind before coming to Iran?

I didn't expect much but I found a lot of potential in every field, even in the shape of the town. I never expected Tehran to look like this due to the vast amount of negative propaganda in the news. I did not expect to see a nice city with nice people as I have. And I did not expect to see players at this level. As I said earlier, three of them can play in good European teams. I can say Iran has started to have a respectable basketball and it has reached one of its goals which was playing in the Olympics. But our goal must now shift to the 2010 World Championships in Turley because we have a young team with high potentials. We should have a long-term plan for basketball in Iran.

What about Iranian people?

Well, I have a lot of friends here and that's very important for me. I enjoy staying here and I am really satisfied and feel very comfortable.

And what about your daily life here?

I have tried to organize my life as good as I can. There are some other Serbian coaches in Iran and I spend part of my time with them. I feel quite at ease living out of my own country. If you start thinking about home, you will get homesick. In any country I have worked so far, I have been able to find friends and hobbies.

So, you are quite sociable?

Yes! If you are not and if you just stay at home, it will become very rough and very difficult. I go home twice a year to visit my family including my grandson and I am happy with this arrangement.

Is your family comfortable with the type of job you have?

My life is basketball, and basketball is everything for me. My son plays basketball in Belgium and my daughter is also living there. Everything that happens around me is linked to basketball. Usually my wife is with me, but now she has to take care of our grandson. But she often comes over to visit me in Iran and like me she feels at home here too.

Has anything ever shocked you here?

Before I came over and from what I was fed by the media I was expecting bad times here. But it has not been so and I was able to adjust myself easily.

What do you think about Iranian spectators?

It's a pity that in Tehran there aren't a lot of spectators. I think this is the biggest problem in the capital.

Why is that so?

Somebody said that the gym is too far, but I do not believe this theory. I think the clubs must work on their fans very hard. The federation should take basketball to schools, and organize competitions between them, so that young people get more interested in basketball. It's a pity that in some games there are just 50 or 100 people in the gym. But if you go to the other cities, such as Gorgan, Babol, or Sirjan you'll see an amazing atmosphere, because over 5,000 fans come to support their teams and that's really exciting. I can not prescribe anything to overcome this problem, but I think a good advertising campaign will work. Also, if we can arrange big tournaments here, I think that would help find more fans to support the sport. Well, they say the gym in Tehran is too far from the city center, but at the same time you see over 100,000 people present in the same stadium to cheer a football match between the leading Iranian soccer teams. The clubs must work very hard to gain dedicated fans. They should work on their websites, press contacts and give away gifts to their fans. The basketball federation must exert more support for them too.

We have several sports newspapers in Iran, but when it comes to basketball, little is covered by them. What do you think of their coverage of basketball especially about the team qualifying for the Olympics after half a century?

Our biggest success was not only qualifying for the Olympics. Our biggest success was that the name of Iran's basketball appeared on the first page of the most famous world sports newspapers for 10 days when we won the championship in Japan last year. So we can push aside football. Therefore, I can say that basketball coverage is not enough at all. We need the daily newspapers to cover and expose basketball to the people. They should cover all games, print names and statistics and photos of the players.

Despite the success, our basketball is suffering from poor international liaison. There are lots of people overseas who are very interested about Iranian basketball. What measures do you think the federation should take in this regard?

One thing is to organize high-level clinics here in Iran and invite high-level coaches to come. We should not think we know everything. Last season, the federation received invitations from a few low-level or mid-level teams, but this season the invitations are from famous countries in basketball such as Slovenia, Australia, Italy, and many others. We have to grab this opportunity to improve the level of Iranian basketball. I think if we play with good teams here in Iran during which we can also organize some clinics it would help our players a lot.

Have you ever encountered any communication gaps with players or other people?

No, I speak English, and sometimes when someone doesn't understand my assistant translates my words.

What have you learned about the Iranian culture?

I have tried to visit the historical places. I was very impressed by different sites I visited in Isfahan. I was staying in a hotel with a traditional architectural design. The trip was a boost to my peace of mind.

How much can sports bring countries with conflicts together?

A lot. We should not think about politics but only friendship in sports.

Will you consider staying in Iran after the Olympics?

I like it here, but I do not know about my decision after the Olympics. I should see what is best for me and what is best for the federation.

Good Luck Rajco and I hope Iran plays well in Beijing.

Thanks and I hope for the same, too.

Hooman Bagheri
FIBA Official Correspondent in Iran

05-17-2008, 09:24 AM
LTU - Kaukenas hopeful of return to court

SIENA (Olympics) – Montepaschi Siena’s Lithuania international Rimantas Kaukenas has been out of action for several months this season following knee surgery and he admits to having a huge regret.

"In hindsight, I wish I had not waited three weeks between sustaining the injury and undergoing surgery,” Kaukenas says.

“Had I had the operation immediately, I would be playing right now.”

If he were playing, Kaukenas would be in the semi-finals of the Lega A play-offs, where Montepaschi are now after sweeping Fortitudo Bologna 3-0 in the first round.

As it is, Kaukenas, an explosive scorer, must watch, and wait.

The 1.92m Kaukenas enjoyed his finest moments last season with both Montepaschi and Lithuania.

He was voted MVP of the Lega A Finals after leading the Siena club to the title, and then, when finally getting a chance to play for his country, he delivered big style.

Kaukenas started and helped the Lithuanians capture a bronze medal to qualify for the Beijing Games.

The surgery has damaged his chances of playing at the Olympics, but Lithuania’s Basketball Federation has not given up hope on his return with a spokesman telling FIBA “Kaukenas is 50-50” in terms of his chances of making it to Beijing.

Kaukenas is keeping his fingers crossed that he will play able to return to the court soon.

"I am doing well,” he says.

“The recovery process from a cross ligament injury has taken longer than expected.

“For the time being, I continue to train alone.”

Most players must overcome injuries at some point in their careers, and the recovery process is always frustrating although Kaukenas says that his time off hasn’t been all bad.

"This has been the first serious injury I've suffered in my career and I wasn't sure what I would have to endure,” he says.

"The most difficult part comes now. But I don't consider this season wasted as I have been able to rest.

“At 31, when you don't have many breaks, you need it. But now I want to return to the court. Siena without me have done well. I just want to be able to play important minutes in the play-offs."

Montepaschi finished third in the Euroleague and also set a record with 31 wins in the regular season in the 18-team Lega A.

05-21-2008, 06:47 AM
USA – James turns focus to Beijing

BOSTON (Olympics) - LeBron James can now fully focus on his preparations for the Olympics with Team USA after Cleveland’s exit from the NBA play-offs.

James, a Team USA captain, had 45 points in Cleveland’s 97-92 defeat to Boston in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

He was asked about this summer’s Beijing Games after the defeat in Boston.

"We did a good job last summer to put USA basketball in the place it deserves,” James said of the country’s gold medal win at the FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas.

“You see teams like Spain and Argentina, but the list grows because there are more powerful teams out there.”

James says there is only one aim for the Americans this summer in China.

"We are confident, we have a job and a task to achieve and that is to win the gold medal in Beijing," he said.

05-21-2008, 06:49 AM
LTU – Ksystof Lavrinovic enjoys a good walk in the park

SIENA (Olympics) - Montepaschi Siena’s Ksystof Lavrinovic will be one of Lithuania’s stars at the Beijing Games but before travelling to China with the national team, the power forward/center will be sure to spend some time off the hardwood.

Lavrinovic, who has helped defending Italian champions Mens Sana reach the Lega A play-off semi-finals, likes the outdoors.

"I like to have direct contact with nature,” he says.

“I adore the walks in the forests of my country, fishing in lakes. My wife was Miss Russia and we have a son who is 14 months old and takes a lot of our time."

Lavrinovic and his twin brother Darjus did not start playing basketball until their early teens.

"I was 13 when my mother arrived home with a brochure from a basketball school for tall children of Sarunas Marciulonis,” he says.

"My twin brother Darjus and I did a lot of sports, like swimming, karate and athletics and we decided to try out basketball.

"At the beginning it wasn't easy. We were the tallest but we were very thin. The coaching staff (at the school) didn't want us, but our coach saw something good in us and made us train for a year without playing.

“Two years later, we were in the first team of l'Alita in Lithuania's top division."

The Lavrinovic brothers are very skilful in games. They thrive in transition and can pull up outside and drill shots from behind the arc while defensively, both swat their fair share of shots.

They have other talents as well, including a mastery of different languages.

"My dad is Polish and my mother is from Belarus,” Lavrinovic says.

“But they moved to Lithuania where my brother and I were born.

“At home, we speak three languages, especially Russian. My parents have always encouraged us to be professional sportsmen."

It’s not surprising that in sports, Lavrinovic cites one of the country’s legendary figures as an inspiration.

"Besides my parents, the coach I mentioned before, Vitautas Poteliunas but it has been above all the example set by Arvydas Sabonis to spark our pride and our quality,” Lavrinovic says.

Lithuania certainly benefit from the presence of the Lavrinovic brothers and there is talk that Montepaschi may attempt to sign Darjus for next season.

"I really hope so and so does he,” Lavrinovic says. “We have a great relationship, we are our first fans. I always say he is the stronger and Darjus says vice-versa.

"We played together for five years in l'Alita and one in Kazan. It would be nice to play together in Italy."

05-27-2008, 12:49 PM
CHN – Yao, Yi on the mend; Xu Yong’s career reportedly over

CHINA (Olympics) - All is going according to play on Yao Ming’s recovery from a foot operation that brought a premature end to his season with the Houston Rockets.

The 7ft 6in center was enjoying the best year of his NBA career when doctors discovered a stress fracture, and the China national team star opted for surgery.

"Yao Ming is recovering and can jog on the training track,” said Chinese basketball team executive manager Bai Xilin.

“However, the doctor had told him that he could only use 75% of his energy. As for when he comes back, it's up to the re-examination and his recovery, but he will be back roughly by the end of June."

Former Guangdong star Yi Jianlian got hurt at the end of his rookie campaign with the Milwaukee Bucks.

"Yi Jianlian has trained under his personal trainer and is recovering very well," Bai said.

Xu Yong, meanwhile, the promising 19-year-old Shanghai Shark, is not expected to play basketball again after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

Xu’s agent Zhang Bingji said in remarks carried by the Chinese media: "This kind of cancer is light, it will not threaten Xu Yong's life, and the cure rate is high. I hope the media will not disturb him in order to provide him a peaceful atmosphere to recover.

"He needs an operation to remove the tumor. Amputation (of the leg) is not needed. Life is not threatened, but he will leave his basketball life forever.

"He is a strong boy, after knowing that he will say goodbye to basketball court forever, he said he would face the reality. We are very sad about the truth."

05-31-2008, 12:58 PM
AUS – Boomers named for first training camp

MELBOURNE (Olympics) - Australia have named 20 players who will attend the first of three training camps ahead of this year’s Beijing Games.

The Oceania champions will be without many of their leading players, including Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut, who in the United States in talks over a new contract.

Those negotiations should be concluded by early July, which will then free Bogut up to join coach Brian Goorjian and the Boomers.

European-based stars David Andersen, Matthew Nielsen, Brad Newley and Damien Ryan are unavailable due to contractual obligations in Europe.

Andersen is coming off another winning season with CSKA Moscow, the Euroleague and Russia Superleague champions.

Among the players who will be at the camp at the Australian Institute of Sport are veterans Chris Anstey, CJ Bruton, Wade Helliwell, Mark Worthington and Glen Saville.

American Shawn Redhage, the naturalized player with the Perth Wildcats who hails from Nebraska, is involved as well as emerging teenage star Patrick Mills, who plays college basketball in the United States at St Mary’s.

All of the players will compete for places in the squad that will take on Iran in a three-game series. Those contests will be staged in Perth on June 16, Adelaide on June 18 and Melbourne on June 20.

Australia players for first training camp:

Chris Anstey, David Barlow, CJ Bruton, Peter Crawford, Adam Gibson, James Harvey, Wade Helliwell, Russell Hinder, Jacob Holmes, Joe Ingles, Luke Kendall, Matt Knight, Alex Loughton, Darnell Mee, Patrick Mills, Andrew Ogilvy, Shawn Redhage, Glen Saville, Luke Schenscher, Mark Worthington.

05-31-2008, 01:03 PM
ESP – Pepu to clarify coaching status at Madrid press conference

MADRID (Olympics) - Spain coach Pepu Hernandez has called a press conference for 6pm on Wednesday in Madrid amidst media speculation that he may be about to leave his post as national team boss.

Hernandez, who led Spain to gold at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and silver at last year’s EuroBasket in Madrid, announced several weeks ago he would step down after coaching Spain at the Beijing Games.

The press conference comes just hours after DKV Joventut boss Aito Garcia Reneses resigned, a 61-year-old veteran who has been spoken of as a possible Spain coach.

The president of Spain’s Basketball Federation, Jose Luis Saez, told FIBA.com: “It's Pepu who called this press conference.

“Pepu is under contract. I don't know what Pepu will say, but we'll have to evaluate what Pepu says and make a decision.”

Spain are expected to announce their Olympic squad on June 10.

05-31-2008, 01:04 PM
RUS – Hansen named in Russia’s preliminary squad

MOSCOW (Olympics) - Russia coach David Blatt has named Dynamo Moscow’s Travis Hansen in a 21-strong preliminary squad ahead of this summer’s Olympics.

Hansen will compete with fellow American JR Holden of CSKA Moscow for a place in the group that will travel to the Beijing Games since teams are only allowed one naturalized player.

Holden, the established point guard, just won a second Euroleague crown in three years with CSKA. He hit the game-winning shot last year in the gold medal game for Russia.

Sasha Kaun, a 22-year-old shot-blocking center who won an NCAA title with the Kansas Jayhawks in April, has made the list.

CSKA Moscow center Alexey Savrasenko of CSKA Moscow missed the second half of this season with a shoulder injury but is included along with Andrei Kirilenko and most of the other EuroBasket 2007 winners. Missing is Nikolai Padius, a back-up point guard on last year’s team.

The final squad will not be announced until after an international tournament in Moscow involving the Russians, Ukraine, Latvia and Serbia.

Russia preliminary squad: A Kirilenko, V Khryapa, A Vorontsevich, N Morgunov, N Shabalkin, S Monya, F Dmitriev; A Savrasenko, A Kaun, D Sokolov, JR Holden, Z Pashutin, A Shved, S Bykov, P Samoylenko, T Hansen, D Khvostov, A Ponkrashov, V Fridzon, V Keiru, A Zozulin.

05-31-2008, 01:06 PM
ESP – Pepu not quitting Spain

MADRID (Olympics) – Pepu Hernandez on Wednesday evening killed off speculation that he was to resign as coach of Spain and firmly declared his intention to lead the world champions through the Beijing Games.

Hernandez, who announced several weeks ago that he will leave his national team post after the Olympics, admitted he has had a stressful period with the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB). His absence at an FEB meeting earlier this week did not go unnoticed by the Spanish media.

“I am not at war with anyone,” he said.

“I want to end my cycle with the national team which will happen after Beijing.

“I do feel at times persecuted by the federation, though. I have been linked with several clubs and then this week, when I didn’t attend a meeting that the federation knew I couldn’t attend, well, it’s been a hard week.

“I hope next week will be a calm one so that we can prepare for the task we face.”

Spain has been buzzing all day about Hernandez and the national team.

Not only did Hernandez call his press conference, but there was also the shock announcement at DKV Joventut that their hugely successful coach Aito Garcia Reneses was stepping down.

Aito’s move, coupled with the hastily arranged news conference by Hernandez, fuelled speculation that the 61-year-old was to replace Hernandez.

Spain Basketball Federation president Jose Luis Saez told FIBA.Com on Wednesday afternoon: “It's Pepu who called this press conference. Pepu is under contract. I don't know what Pepu will say, but we'll have to evaluate what Pepu says and make a decision.”

Hernandez said he was staying, and then said he only wants to focus on the task at hand and that is to have Spain play their best basketball this summer in China.

“I don’t want to know what’s going to happen in the future, and I don’t want to have any added pressure (from the federation),” Hernandez said. “But if they decide to replace me, I will give my support to whoever takes over.”

The coach added that it had been a hugely difficult decision to announce he would leave the team after Beijing.

“It was very hard for me to take the decision to leave the national team after the Olympics as this is the job of my life,” he said.

“But it was a sacrifice I needed to make.”

Hernandez is due to announce the Spain squad on June 10.

06-07-2008, 08:11 AM
AUS - Boomers camp underway

CANBERRA (Olympics) - The Australia Post Boomers arrived in Canberra on Sunday and underwent a fitness assessment session in the afternoon.

At this morning’s training session the athletes went at it in five-on-five play and the performance was first class.

The afternoon session involved drills and situation-plays and the effort didn't wane for a second.

It’s been a four year effort to get to this point, but now the main event is just weeks away.

Battle of the Bigs

While many pundits have spoken about the strength of the ‘big men’ on the current Boomers roster, final spots certainly remain open and it’s the 1’s that have descended on Canberra in force.

There’s the class of reigning NBL MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Chris Anstey, who is back in the green and gold after a long absence and playing a leading role in camp.

There’s returning Oceania Champion Wade Helliwell, rocking a long-haired look on arrival from Italy and regularly rocking the rims at the AIS Training Hall courts from the first session onward.

There’s former Emus Matthew Knight and A.J. Ogilvy, balling with a determination befitting young hopefuls and raising expectations and eyebrows with their commitment.

And there’s big Luke Schenscher, fighting to show the coaching staff that he can overcome the injury problems he has suffered over the past 12 months to contribute something great.

Add Andrew Bogut and David Andersen into the big man mix and you see that the competition for centre spots is fierce. Does head coach Brian Goorjian take three or four centres to Beijing? Maybe Andersen is the 4-man? It’s a battle up there.

CJ on ice

Two days before camp began, Athens Olympian C.J. Bruton rolled his ankle playing in the ABA. The timing could not have been worse.

C.J. was unable to participate in Sunday’s fitness testing and Monday’s morning training session was again spent on the bike. He’s working hard with Strength and Conditioning Assistant Coach Nik Popovic and in conjunction with the medical staff his condition will be assessed daily with the hope of getting him on court.

Oceania Champion Patty Mills is also back in the green and gold. He registered the equal-second quickest time in Sunday’s 20 metre sprint test (2.94 seconds alongside Joe Ingles, with James Harvey the fastest at 2.92 seconds) and is bringing 100 percent effort to every session.

Pat’s Oceania Champion team mate Darnell Mee has turned up to camp in better condition than he’s been in for nine months in a clear indication that he has been working extremely hard in North Queensland. He was big in the Oceania series and he has put himself back on the radar.

Adam Gibson has worked hard in the gym in the off season and performed well across the sprint test, jump test and endurance test on the camp’s opening day. He’s knocking down shots in the scrimmages too and going hard up the floor.

Most coaches would normally take three point guards to a tournament. Some say two. Can you pick them? Don’t forget to throw in Luke Kendall, who can play both the point and the 2-spot.

Who’s the 2?

That’s the beauty of Luke Kendall. He can run the floor, knock down long bombs in his sleep and also drive to the hole with success. He was in the Oceania Championship team and he’s come to play.

Then there’s James Harvey, who reportedly has been shooting 1000 shots a day and going hard against former Boomer Shane Heal on the Gold Coast. It’s pretty obvious when you see him play. Sharp.

Want to know more? Which 2-guard did well on the repeated jump test, had good skin fold levels, ranked second in the 20m sprint and won the endurance test? That would be Joe Ingles, whose work on the NBA fringe has done him very well indeed.

Another ‘2’ in peak physical condition is Peter Crawford. He’s an outside chance getting close to an inside chance with every shot he drops and hustle play he makes.

With the shock withdrawal of two-time Olympian Jason Smith due to a shoulder injury, the 2-spot is arguably wide open. Brad Newley dropped 25 points overnight to win a finals game for his Serie A team in Italy and Damien Ryan has been performing well in the same country. Both players will return to the Boomers squad for the next camp in Perth.

Swing it, man

When you look at the 2-3 swingmen and 3-4 swingmen on offer, you enter the world of ‘what to do?’ Go small, go big, go faster, go stronger – there are a lot of possibilities.

Mark Worthington is on the bigger end of the swing man set and can score in the post or knock down a shot from anywhere on the floor. He was big for Australia in the Oceania Championship, huge in this season’s NBL and he’s a leader.

Then there’s Glen Saville, who’s all class on the floor but even more important off it, with the leadership of two former captains in Sam Mackinnon and Jason Smith sadly missing. Plus he knows Goorjian’s system like the back of his hand.

David Barlow is a 2006 World Championship player coming off a stellar NBL Championship-winning season. He’s in phenomenal shape and when he lights up he can score at will on anyone. A former King, he knows Goorjian’s system too.

Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Jacob Holmes said sayonara to the Dragons and is headed to the ‘Sixers but his focus is obviously on the Boomers first. He’s in good shape and has come to play, working every possession like the game is on the line.

Add Matt Nielsen into this swingin’ set and you see how crowded it is. Good position to be in, though. No complaints there.

Door on the 4

The Boomers’ newest Australian Shawn Redhage arrived from the West in tip-top shape and has impressed from the get-go, while his Wildcats team-mate Alex Loughton has been good in the paint and is showing that he deserves his shot at the green and gold.

Russell Hinder has been a vocal leader at camp and has made a bunch of great plays that have drawn attention. An Oceania Championship team member and former player under Goorjian, his knowledge of the system is supreme.

Then there’s NBL Rookie of the Year Nathan Jawai, doing his thing in the NBA and drawing accolades in the United States. Who has their hand on the door to the 4? You decide.

Da Brains

Head Coach Brian Goorjian has assembled the same support staff that won him the 2007 FIBA Oceania Championship. Blaze head coach Brendan Joyce and Slingers head coach Gordon McLeod are back as assistant coaches and new Dragon Nik Popovic is strength and conditioning assistant coach. World class physio Steve Evans is in camp, Howard Parkinson is working the video and omnipotent operations manager Nic Mercer is holding the whole thing together.

Add to that mix the class of Brian Goorjian’s “best basketball friend”, former Denver Nuggets assistant coach and current University of Arizona head coach Mike Dunlap, who has joined the camp in an advisory role, and da brains is plenty brainy enough.

06-07-2008, 08:20 AM
ESP – Spain sack gold-medal winning coach Pepu Hernandez

MADRID (Olympics) – Spanish basketball supremo Jose Luis Saez on Tuesday confirmed the federation’s firing of national team coach Pepu Hernandez.

Saez appeared at a press conference in Madrid to explain why Hernandez had been relieved of his duties just two months before the Olympics, a move which has thrown the world champions’ plans for the Beijing Games into disarray.

“I have no personal problems with Pepu,” said Saez, who further explained that Hernandez should not have been giving public speaking engagements.

“But he has used his position as national team coach to benefit himself without having the consent of the federation.”

Storm clouds have been gathering over the national team for several weeks, since Hernandez announced he would relinquish the reins after the Olympics.

Saez was unhappy by the manner of the announcement, and Hernandez’s position as Spain coach became muddled.

His position was on even shakier ground after not attending a meeting with his bosses at the FEB.

He called a press conference last week to firmly declare his intention to coach Spain at* the Olympics, but said he felt “persecuted” by the FEB.

Saez at the time said he wanted to review the comments made by Hernandez.

On Monday, the coach said he expected to be sacked, telling Telemadrid: "I feel that tomorrow (Tuesday), my dismissal will be made official.

“I feel calm because I haven´t committed any serious offense. If the problem was my announcement (decision to step down after the Olympics), I did it with time and in a correct manner.

“And if it´s due to the fact that I couldn´t attend last week´s meeting, I gave alternative times and dates to the federation."

Hernandez’s departure has come as shock to basketball fans in Spain because he was, and remains hugely popular for leading the country to its proudest moment in the game.

He worked under incredible strain at the FIBA World Championship in Japan, where he led the country to gold after losing star player Pau Gasol to a serious foot injury in the semi-final.

His father also died the day before the final.

Last year, Hernandez’s Spain suffered a last-second defeat to Russia in the gold medal game at the EuroBasket.

The FEB explained at Tuesday’s press conference, and listed on their website (www.feb.es) why Hernandez was not being retained.

The statement said:

“Having analysed the situation created in the aftermath of Jose Vicente Hernandez’s public statements of late, the Spanish Basketball Federation has decided that the national men’s coach will not remain in charge and the reasons are as follows:

1.* * * *Non-compliance from Pepu Hernandez of the contractual agreements.

2.* * * *A lack of respect to the FEB and to its executive members made in public without foundation while also stating accusations of “persecution” and “mistreatment”.

3.* * * *The poor working conditions created by the previous two points with less than two months to go before the national team competes in the most important sporting event (Beijing Games).

All of this has contributed to the deterioration which added to the strange circumstances already created on May 2 when a public and unilateral announcement of his decision to continue in charge until after the Olympics and it has inevitably led to the loss of trust needed to maintain the stability that the FEB has always tried to have with the 18 national teams and those who work with the teams.”

Saez said to the assembled media that no one has been appointed as Hernandez’s replacement.

“We have not found a successor,” Saez said.

“People have come forward, but no decision has been made and we will try to find a successor as soon as possible.”

Spain had been due to announce their squad for Beijing on June 10, but that is now unlikely.

06-07-2008, 08:24 AM
CHN – Harris likes what he sees in Kazlauskas’ China

BEIJING (Olympics) - Former China coach Del Harris has sounded an optimistic note for the Olympic hosts ahead of the Beijing Games by saying Jonas Kazlauskas has turned the national side into a more competitive group than the one that reached the quarter-finals in Athens four years ago.

Harris and Kazlauskas teamed up to make the Chinese one of the surprise teams in Greece, when they beat Serbia & Montenegro in the last preliminary round game to reach the quarter-finals.

“Of course, much better,” Harris said, when asked if this China team is better.

“China now has six key players who played at the Olympics, and they’ve also played in some other major tournaments together.

“Yao (Ming) has become one of the best players in the world. It was Yi’s (Jianlian) first Olympics four years ago, but now he has NBA experience. Wang Zhizhi has come back, who we didn’t have that year.

“Li Nan has returned after an injury. Now they must do better as their rivals, the US team, has improved.”

Yi missed the last several games of the NBA campaign with Milwaukee because of injury but he is expected to link up with Kazlauskas’ team for the friendlies against Croatia from June 12-16.

Yao, who is recovering from foot surgery, will return by the end of June.

Harris thinks Kazlauskas’ decision to play a more up-tempo game will benefit the Chinese.

“It’s easy for a team to slow down the speed,” Harris said, “but speeding up will make it more difficult for your rivals. Yi’s speed is not slower than any other big players, Yao is slower, though.

“If Yao can control the rebounds, the other players can easily release on the fast-break and get some (open) shots.

“It’s very good. You don’t have to wait to attack until your opponents are in defensive position.”

China, meanwhile, beat the Conference USA all stars 91-68, giving Kazlauskas’ team a 3-0 sweep of the friendly series.

Zhang Kai and Zhang Qingpeng each had 18 points to pace the Chinese.

06-07-2008, 08:26 AM
ESP - Gasol, Navarro would relish Aito at Spain helm

BOSTON (Olympics) - Spain superstar Pau Gasol is hoping the country’s basketball federation acts quickly to replace Pepu Hernandez following his sacking as national team boss.

Gasol, who on Thursday was to play in his first NBA Finals game with the Los Angeles Lakers at the Boston Celtics, admits he would love to have the chance to play for his former Barcelona coach, Aito Garcia Reneses.

Aito stepped down last week as DKV Joventut boss after leading them to Copa del Rey and ULEB Cup glory this season.

Gasol, the MVP of Hernandez’s 2006 FIBA World Championship team after leading the Spanish to the title, said: “I hope whoever takes over has the enthusiasm and willingness to get a good result at the Olympics. I know Aito Garcia Reneses. I’ve known him for a while and I would be delighted, but if it's someone else, equally.”

The seven-foot Gasol believed Hernandez had done a great job on the court in his more than two years with the national team.

"I think this situation was a little unfortunate although I don't know exactly the reasons why it has come to this point to sack the coach,” Gasol said.

“On the court the team worked but outside of it, I don't know what has happened but it's an unfortunate situation.

"I just hope that the federation (FEB) appoints a new coach as soon as possible to start planning for the Olympics."

Juan Carlos Navarro, Gasol’s best friend and also a Spain player, would also like Aito to take over.

Navarro, who is coming off his rookie campaign in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies, said of Aito: “He’s a great coach and has proved that for many years.

“I know him because he was my coach in my first seasons at Barcelona. He has achieved many titles and would be good for the national team.”

The Olympics tip off in August.

06-07-2008, 08:28 AM
ESP – Garba comments on Pepu firing

MADRID (Olympics) - Spain power forward Jorge Garbajosa has described the sacking of popular national team coach Pepu Hernandez as “something uncomfortable for everyone”.

Garbajosa’s heroics two years ago in the final of the FIBA World Championship – he buried six three-pointers and had 20 points - lifted Hernandez’s Spain to a gold medal triumph over Greece and last year he made a dramatic return from injury to help his country capture a silver medal.

In explaining why Hernandez had been sacked, the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) said the coach had shown “a lack of respect to the FEB and to its executive members” in public.

“The federation is above players, coaches – no one is indispensable.”

Garbajosa added on the federation’s website, www.feb.es: “My relationship with the federation has been fantastic for a long time and my relationship with Pepu was excellent as we speak often.”

“It's something uncomfortable for everyone and also, indirectly for the players."

Garbajosa has all but been ruled out of this year’s Olympics after missing virtually the entire NBA season with injury.

06-07-2008, 08:31 AM
ESP – Spain closing in on Aito

MADRID (Olympics) - The Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) have confirmed they are in talks with Aito Garcia Reneses about taking over the national team following the sacking of Pepu Hernandez.

Aito stepped down as coach of Copa del Rey and ULEB Cup winners DKV Joventut last week, fuelling speculation that a change was about to take place at the helm of the world champions.

On the same day as his resignation, Hernandez told a press conference in Madrid that he expected to coach Spain at the Olympics but said he felt “persecuted” by the federation. Hernandez was relieved of his duties this week.

The FEB president, Jose Luis Saez, said: "We began talks yesterday (Wednesday) and this morning and I would like to have a new national coach as soon as possible.

“At this time, there is one name that has priority and that is the one we are working on. Aito is the only one we are talking to right now."

Aito has coached some of Spain’s players before, including Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro at Barcelona, and Alex Mumbru and Rudy Fernandez at DKV Joventut.

DKV’s 17-year-old sensation Ricky Rubio is also expected to be named in this year’s squad.

Spain were expected to announce their preliminary squad on June 10 but it is unclear when that list will be released.

06-12-2008, 09:38 AM
ESP – Aito to lead Spain at Olympics

MADRID (Olympics) – Spain have agreed terms with veteran boss Aito Garcia Reneses to coach the national team this summer at the Beijing Games.

The 61-year-old, who stepped down from DKV Joventut Badalona last week after five years at the club, will take over from Pepu Hernandez.

Hernandez led Spain to gold at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and silver at last year’s EuroBasket in Madrid but was sacked on June 3.

The Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) said in a statement on Saturday morning: "The Spanish Basketball Federation and Aito Garcia Reneses have reached an agreement which will be signed in the next few hours for the Madrid-born coach to guide the national team in the Olympic Games in Beijing in August.”

Aito was a huge hit in his stint at DKV, where he coached Spain international Rudy Fernandez and Alex Mumbru (before his move to Real Madrid) and emerging star Ricky Rubio.

The team captured the EuroCup three years ago, and this year won the Copa del Rey and the ULEB Cup

Before joining the Badalona club, he coached the likes of Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro at Barcelona.

Earlier in his coaching career, Aito guided the Spanish junior team. He steered them to the bronze medal at the European Championship in 1979.

06-12-2008, 09:40 AM
ESP – Rubio, Lopez and Garba included for Spain – Sergio, Cabezas out

MADRID (Olympics) – New Spain coach Aito Garcia Reneses has dropped Sergio Rodriguez and Carlos Cabezas and included 17-year-old Ricky Rubio and veteran Raul Lopez in his squad for the Olympics.

Aito has also made a stunning decision to name Jorge Garbajosa, despite the world champion having hardly played this season with Toronto following a leg operation.

The other eight players from last year’s silver-medal winning squad under former boss Pepu Hernandez – Jose Manuel Calderon, Juan Carlos Navarro, Rudy Fernandez, Alex Mumbru, Carlos Jimenez, Pau Gasol, Felipe Reyes, Marc Gasol and Berni Rodriguez – are named.

Pamesa Valencia’s Victor Claver, Polaris World Murcia’s Juan Jose Triguero and Akasvayu Girona’s Victor Sada are on stand-by.

Aito, making his first comments to the media following his appointment at the weekend as Hernandez’s replacement, spoke about the exertions of Pau Gasol in the NBA Finals with the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I hope the players will arrive with the best physical and mental condition in order to do a great job in our preparation for the Olympics,” said Aito, who stepped down as DKV Joventut Badalona coach after the season.

"We will need to give Pau Gasol time to rest and get ready. We have other players who have contractual disputes that we need to resolve as soon as possible.

"This issue does worry me, as does the possible incorporation of Jorge Garbajosa.

"Garbajosa needs to find his physical condition for a player and we don't want to wait to the last minute to know whether he will or will not be able to play.

"Berni, like Victor Claver, will be available should they need to replace Garbajosa."

Not being selected is another setback for Rodriguez, who spent a disappointing year in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers.

After a promising rookie season, he received little playing time.

Aito is confident that Rubio, his guard at DKV, and the return of Raul Lopez will be adequate back-ups to Calderon at the point.

"Ricky has had a lot of merit,” Aito said.

“He is a unique case. He made his debut in the ACB at the age of 14 and has achieved a lot. It's pretty clear what his qualities are and he can help national team.

“The quality of Raul cannot be disputed. This year (at Real Madrid) has been positive for him. He is a player that can read the game very well, with a very good shot.”

Aito also spoke of how there has been a smooth transition for him as Hernandez’s replacement.

"I have spoken to Pepu and as always, he was 100% collaboration,” Aito said. “I am thankful to him."

Howard the Duck
06-16-2008, 01:45 AM
Women's wildcards: Latvia, Belarus, Czech Rep, Spain and the winner between Brazil and Cuba

More than likely the men's wildcards would also mirror the women in which all of the qualifiers came from Europe, although in the men's case one European team will fall by the wayside...

06-21-2008, 03:01 PM
From Yahoo Sports __

Team USA: Who's in, who's out?

By J.E. Skeets

"Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski recently told reporters that the 12-man roster for the Beijing Olympics will be announced on Monday. But who can wait for Monday? That's like three days from now! Using leaks, rumors and a little common sense, let's handicap who's likely in and out:

"Guaranteed" China bound:

Carmelo Anthony — Post: "USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo confirmed the selection of Anthony, who will be appearing on his second straight Olympic squad. ... "In the last year, I thought he took a half-step back," Colangelo told the newspaper. "I have no idea why, but obviously, I've read the reports about how he might be traded and about some of the little things that have gone on. But there's a lot of stuff I'm not (privy) to."

Jason Kidd — Chicago Tribune: "Jason Kidd said Wednesday he's looking forward to playing in Beijing even if it does cut into his golf game. ... "I'm not supposed to say anything, but I'm looking forward to participating," said the Mavericks point guard, who started on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team."

Chris Paul — The Time Picayune: "(CP3) learned this week he will be one of the 12 members of the U.S. Olympic basketball team, sources close to the player said Thursday. This will be Paul's first Olympic experience. He helped lead Team USA to an 8-1 record and bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan."

Tayshaun Prince — mLive: "Two league sources confirmed on Thursday that Prince will be among the players chosen to represent the United States' men's basketball team ... "A guy like Tayshaun Prince, with his length, smarts, and his ability to guard four positions, is as valuable as a scorer," Colangelo told the Boston Globe. "We're going to stay true to what we said. It's not an all-star team. It's a team of different components."

Dwyane Wade — Miami Herald: "Dwyane Wade will have the support of the Heat when he begins his quest for Olympic gold next week at Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas. A source close to Wade said Thursday he will be on the 12-man roster."

Michael Redd — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Olympic and National Basketball Association sources have confirmed that Redd will be named to the 12-man roster for the Beijing Olympics. ... Redd earned his Olympic spot with a stellar performance last summer in the FIBA Americas tournament in Las Vegas, as the U.S. team qualified for the 2008 Games. Redd came off the bench to average 14.0 points, the fourth-highest mark on the team, and he shot 53%, including 45.3% from three-point range."

Have said no:

Amare Stoudemire — Arizona Republic: "Amaré has pulled himself out of consideration for the roster and that's predicated on, despite the fact that he's had an injury-free year coming back (from knee surgeries in 2005 and 2006), he's a little hesitant on pushing the envelope too hard," Colangelo said."

Chauncey Billups — ESPN: "Chauncey Billups will not play for Team USA in the Beijing Olympics due to family reasons ... "It’s a matter of what you want to do and what you need to do," Billups told ESPN. "Winning a gold medal is the one thing that I haven’t accomplished, and I was looking forward to standing up on that big stage. That’s what I really wanted. But I was taught family comes first, above anything else."

Paul Pierce — Boston Globe: "Despite how well Paul Pierce has played in the NBA Finals, USA Basketball reiterated that it isn't going to add him to its Beijing Olympics team, managing director Jerry Colangelo said yesterday. Pierce was among the long list of core potential players originally named in 2005. But since he didn't participate the past two years because of injuries, he won't be asked to wear red, white, and blue this summer."

So, who does that leave?

Well, a lot. Possible candidates include: Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Joe Johnson, Tyson Chandler, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Mike Miller, Deron Williams, Brad Miller, Luke Ridnour, Antawn Jamison, JJ Redick, Shawn Marion, Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Shane Battier, Bruce Bowen, Gilbert Arenas, and Adam Morrison.

From that MVP-to-mustache list, it'd be hard to imagine Kobe, Dwight and LeBron not making the roster. In fact, it'd be impossible to imagine. They're in. So that brings us up to nine guys, with just three spots left.

Of the remaining 18 names, I think Colangelo will pick Bosh and the two Jazzies — Deron and Boozer. Billups withdrawal opens the door up for that third, physical point guard, while Bosh and Boozer help in the size department. Also, their ability to operate in low-post sets when the game slows down could be key.

But what do you think? What would your 12-man roster look like?"

06-22-2008, 09:52 AM
ESP – Rubio needs a holiday before Olympic adventure

MADRID (Olympics) – Ricky Rubio admits he needs to “re-charge the batteries” before joining up with Spain after being called into the national team at the tender age of 17.

Coming off a sensational first campaign as a starter at DKV Joventut, the team that won the ULEB Cup and Copa del Rey this season, Rubio continued his rise to prominence when new Spain coach Aito Garcia Reneses named him in the Olympic squad.

“I started the league well this season but I wasn’t able to maintain the same form until the end, which is normal,” Rubio said.

“Now I will go on holiday and this will be good for me to re-charge the batteries.

“I hope to arrive to the Olympics in good form. Aito granted me my debut in the ACB. He knows how to guide me."

Aito stepped down after five years at DKV at the end of the season and was quickly snapped up as a replacement for Pepu Hernandez, who was sacked despite leading the team to gold at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and silver at last year’s EuroBasket.

The hype around Rubio has been incredible, yet game after game he has proved he belongs in arguably the toughest domestic competition in Europe, the ACB.

"I never imagined I would make my debut with the national team at the age of 17,” Rubio said.

“I am not frightened of being in the senior team or of the competition (Olympics), but I do have a lot of respect for it.”

Jose Manuel Calderon was Spain’s best player last year at the EuroBasket and is almost certain to start while Real Madrid playmaker Raul Lopez has also been called back into the team.

“We will see what my role in the national team will be,” Rubio said.

“We will have to see how the games go and I hope that I can respond to what the coach asks of me.”

06-22-2008, 09:56 AM
LIT – No Macijauskas in Beijing for Lithuania

VILNIUS (Olympics) - Arvydas Macijauskas will not return to the Lithuania line-up this summer after pulling out of the pre-Olympic squad because of a troublesome back injury.

The shooting guard, who averaged nearly 16 points per game on the Lithuania team that won the 2003 EuroBasket gold medal, last played for his country two years ago at the FIBA World Championship in Japan.

Lithuania have also announced that Arturas Jomantas and Renaldas Seibutis have also withdrawn due to health problems.

Seibutis was the MVP of Lithuania’s gold medal win at the FIBA U21 World Championship in Argentina three years ago.

Zalgiris Kaunas guard Arturas Milaknis and Lietuvos Rytas small forward Steponas Babrauskas have been added to the preliminary squad that will start its training camp in Palanga on June 20.

06-22-2008, 09:58 AM
ESP – Raul Lopez surprised by Spain call-up

MADRID (Olympics) - Knee injuries ruined Raul Lopez’s time in the NBA with the Utah Jazz and also put his international career on hold with Spain.

Now the 28-year-old Real Madrid point guard is back in the fold after being named in Aito Garcia Reneses’ Olympic squad and Lopez admits he’s been caught by surprise.

"The truth is, I didn't expect it,” he said.

“I have been out of the national team for several years and the truth is that I am delighted to be a part of this team.

“I always had a lot of enthusiasm to return to the national team. Fortunately, I have achieved this. I am very happy and my aim is to work to the maximum.”

Lopez didn’t get a sniff last year to make the EuroBasket squad, despite helping Madrid capture the Spanish ACB and ULEB Cup titles.

Former Spain coach Pepu Hernandez, however tempted he may have been to add Lopez, wanted to keep the team together that had captured the gold medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.

Lopez continued to work hard and thrived this year, his third season back in Spain.

And with Unicaja Malaga’s Carlos Cabezas injured for much of the campaign and Sergio Rodriguez getting little playing time with the Portland Trail Blazers, Lopez was this time deservedly named in the squad.

“We have a great group, able to compete at the highest level against any team,” he said.

“I want to enjoy this experience. In my career, I have gone through difficult times that have denied me the chance to play for the national team.

“To have made it to this team was one of my aims and I have achieved this."

06-22-2008, 10:01 AM
LIT – Cavs say no-go for Big Z at Olympics

CLEVELAND (Olympics) – Lithuania’s hopes of adding Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas to their Olympic squad appear to have been dashed by the NBA club.

The 7ft 3in giant was desperate to play for his country this summer but he has a long history of injuries and this season, a compressed disk in his lower back caused him to miss some games.

Ilgauskas’ feet are also not covered by insurance.

Cleveland had privately told Lithuania before they would not allow him to play and after receiving a petition from Lithuania with thousands of signatures on it, the Cavs did not budge.

"Zydrunas is an important member of our team and has generally been a higher risk player due to his injury history," Cavs general manager Danny Ferry said.

"We declined consent for Zydrunas."

Ilgauskas averaged 14.1 points, a career-high 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 73 games this season.

06-22-2008, 10:04 AM
ARG – Fears emerge Manu may miss Olympics with bad ankle

BUENOS AIRES (Olympics) – It has emerged that an ankle injury could prevent Manu Ginobili from helping Argentina defend their Olympic title.

Ginobili, the MVP of the last Olympics and the superstar guard of the San Antonio Spurs, was hurt in the NBA post-season and on Wednesday he revealed the injury is worse than originally thought.

He prepared Argentina sports fans for the worst at a press conference.

"First of all, I want to say that my ankle injury is more serious than I predicted,” he said.

“After the season was over, I had further tests on my left ankle and they revealed there was a lot of liquid and a ligament that is wider (than it should be).

“Recently I had an MRI and the liquid disappeared but the ligament continues to be wider, four or five times more than the norm.

“I am more worried than you (the media) are. In three weeks, I will have more tests done but I fear my participation in the Olympics will be in danger.”

Argentina without Ginobili will not be the same force.

They are in Group A with Russia, Australia, Iran, Lithuania, Iran and one of the three teams that earn a place at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Athens.

"I don't want to consider the possibility of not being there (Beijing),” he said.

“I am optimistic. I would like to play and I will do everything in order to make it.

“I am at the mercy of the outcome of the results that I will take on July 5 or 6.”

If Ginobili can’t play, it will further complicate matters for Sergio Hernandez with first-choice point guard Pepe Sanchez having just a few months ago decided to retire from the international game.

Forward Walter Herrmann is in his prime but decided to retire from the national team.

Argentina played without Ginobili, Herrmann, Sanchez and Fabricio Oberto last year at the FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas and managed to beat Brazil in the semi-finals before finishing runners-up to the United States.

07-20-2008, 11:02 PM
down to only 1 spot remaining for the Olympics. the winner of the Germany-Puerto Rico game later will advance to the Olympics.

here are the countries who qualified for the Olympics:

1. USA (ofcourse ;D) - FIBA Americas Champ
2. Argentina - Defending Champion of the Olympics
3. Spain - WBC '06 Champion
4. Lithuania
5. Greece - qualified yesterday (won against Puerto Rico)
6. Croatia - qualified yesterday (won against Germany)
7. Iran - FIBA Asia Champ
8. Angola - FIBA Africa Champ
9. Australia - FIBA Oceania Champ
10. China - host
11. Russia
12. ??

Howard the Duck
07-21-2008, 10:53 AM
germany won

07-21-2008, 12:54 PM
the kaveman advances... :)

07-21-2008, 03:03 PM
GER/PUR - Germany win over Puerto Rico as Nowitzki finally reaches Olympics
Link: http://www.fiba.com/pages/eng/fc/news/lateNews/p/newsid/26927/arti.html

ATHENS (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men) - Germany beat Puerto Rico 96-82 on Sunday in the last game of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament to claim the final place on offer for the Beijing Games.

Dirk Nowitzki had 32 points and nine rebounds for the Germans, who also got a sensational effort from point guard Steffen Hamann.

The playmaker had 19 points, which included a two of three effort from three-point range, and four assists.

Puerto Rico, playing without Carlos Arroyo after he suffered a muscle tear in Saturday night's defeat to Greece, led by as many as five points in the first half but Germany battled back and then grabbed the upper hand with a 10-2 run at the end of the second quarter for a 48-39 advantage.

Nowitzki buried a three-ball and Chris Kaman followed with a basket inside before Nowitzki added a layup for the nine-point advantage - his team's biggest lead of the game.

Nowitzki scored 18 points in the first half while Kaman had 10 along with nine rebounds.

Hamann was also excellent for Germany with eight points, three assists and one steal.

Puerto Rico meanwhile, had nine from Jose Barea, eight from Peter John Ramos and seven from Carmelo Lee.

Germany only led 58-54 midway through the third quarter when four consecutive three-balls in a 12-0 surge - two shots from behind the arc from Robert Garret - saw them go in front 70-54.

Puerto Rico fought bravely with full-court press and a 9-1 run capped by a Jose Barea lay-up allowed them to close the gap to 86-77 with 2:15 remaining.

But Manolo Cintron's team got no closer.

Demond Greene, who hit four of seven shots from three-point range, said: "We were very confident going into the game. We won, that was our goal. We are going to Beijing, everyone is very happy."

When asked about his 15 points and the 19 scored by Hamann, Green added: "We had a good day and it is our job to have the shots and make the shots and take the weight off Dirk's shoulders."

Just how good can Germany be in China?

With Kaman, who had 10 points and 12 rebounds in 21 minutes, along with Nowitzki and the rest of a very confidence team, Germany can be very dangerous.

The fact that he only got his German passport at the start of July and joined the team shortly before the qualifying event wasn't lost on him.

"This is 12 days for me and it's 12 years for Dirk," he said. "I can't even imagine the emotions he is feeling right now."

Barea finished with a team-high 18 points for Puerto Rico, who also got 16 from center Peter John Ramos and 15 from Larry Ayuso.

Puerto Rico, who caused the biggest shock of the 2004 Olympics when they upset the United States on opening day, will now have to watch as six teams from Europe and only two from the FIBA Americas - Team USA and Argentina - go to Beijing.

Howard the Duck
07-21-2008, 03:07 PM
men's teams:

women's teams

07-21-2008, 08:00 PM
With Germany's win over Puerto Rico, half of the final 12 teams in the Olympic men's tournament are from Europe.

The two Asian teams invited to the Olympic Qualifying, South Korea and Lebanon, went home winless. Lebanon in particular seemed overmatched, losing by an average of 48.5 points to Greece and Brazil. Korea, on the other hand, nearly upset Canada (losing by 2) and lost by a respectable 88-76 to Slovenia.

07-23-2008, 08:53 AM
2008 Beijing Primer
By John Schuhmann
Link: http://www.nba.com/features/beijingprimer_2008.html

SECAUCUS, NJ, July 22, 2008 -- Few NBA players win an NBA title. Even fewer win Olympic gold. Only 14 current NBA players have an Olympic gold medal (Can you name them? Answers at the end of the story.) and a couple of them might not be in the NBA come October. So, to say that the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing are a big deal is an understatement.

For the United States, it's about redemption and re-establishing themselves as the best basketball nation in the world. They remember 2004. They remember 2006.

For the other 11 countries, it's about proving that they belong and that there's more to basketball than just having the best talent.

The men's basketball competition in Beijing gets started on Aug. 10, and runs every even-numbered day through the medal games on Aug. 24. It will be an intense two weeks for sure. And here's a primer to get you ready...

What's the Format of the Competition?

Argentina Angola
Australia China
Croatia Germany
Iran Greece
Lithuania Spain
Russia U.S.A.

Like all FIBA events, the Olympics starts with a round-robin preliminary round. Each team will play the other five teams in their group once. The preliminary round takes place from Aug. 10-18. After those five games, the top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals and the bottom two are eliminated.

After that, it's a single-elimination (except that there's a third-place game for the bronze medal), eight-team tournament. The quarterfinals take place on Aug. 20, the semifinals on Aug. 22 and the medal games on Sunday, Aug. 24.

Who's Good?
It's safe to say that there are four favorites: Argentina, Greece, Spain and the United States. Any one of these teams can win the Gold, but at least one of them will go home without a medal.

Argentina is the defending Olympic champion with several NBA players on their roster. Manu Ginobili, recovering from a sprained left ankle, is expected to play, and Andres Nocioni, Luis Scola and Fabricio Oberto give the Argentines a tough frontline.

Greece won silver at the 2006 World Championships and just cruised through the Olympic Qualifying Tournament last week. While they don't have any current NBA players on their roster, they play brilliant team basketball and are lead by Theo Papaloukas, the best playmaker in Europe.

Spain is the reigning World Champion. They are led by Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro, but they're as deep as any team other than the United States. Jose Calderon joins Navarro in the backcourt and is backed up by 17-year old sensation, Ricky Rubio. They have new Trail Blazer Rudy Fernandez at the wing, and Gasol is joined by his brother Marc and Jorge Garbajosa up front.

With Kobe Bryant in the fold, the United States may have their strongest squad since the '92 Dream Team. Jason Kidd is 38-0 in international competition, LeBron James now has three years of FIBA basketball under his belt, and Carmelo Anthony has been the USA's most consistent player over the last two years. Up front, no country can match the size and strength of Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh.

Who Else Has a Shot?
Almost every other team in the draw is solid and has a chance to make some noise. No team, other than perhaps Iran, should be taken lightly, and no game is a gimme.

China has the homecourt advantage. Obviously, these games are huge for the country and for its players. That's why Yao Ming is back on the court after surgery on his left foot in March. These games could also be a coming out party of sorts for Yi Jianlian. He had a fairly low-key rookie season in Milwaukee and should see more playing time in New Jersey this coming season, but he can really make a mark on the world stage with a strong performance in the Olympics.

With Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman, Germany has a puncher's chance for sure. They qualified by finishing third in the Qualifying Tournament, and they shot better than 50 percent from the floor in their five games in Athens, with Nowitzki averaging 26.6 points and Kaman averaging close to a double-double.

Australia, with Andrew Bogut, played a classic game against Greece in the preliminary round of the 2006 World Championships. Russia, led by tourney MVP Andrei Kirilenko, won last year's European title with a surprise, one-point victory over Spain. And Croatia and Lithuania have both had international success in years past.

The top four teams we listed above, even though three of them are in the same group, shouldn't have any issues advancing to the quarterfinals. But once they get there, they're in danger of going down at any point. And one loss takes you out.

What Does Team USA Need to Do to Win?

When you've got several great teams and a one-and-done format, anything can happen. But here are three keys to help the Americans minimize the chances of that anything sending them home early:

1. Defense, defense, defense
It's good to know that they're stressing it on Day 1 of this week's camp, because they need to be focused on the defensive end of the floor from start to finish. Specifically, they need to defend the pick-and-roll that Greece used to kill them in Japan two years ago. All five defenders need to be on the same page, working together and busting their butts to take away open lanes to the basket and open jumpers.

2. Make perimeter shots
In the aforementioned loss to Greece, Team USA took 28 of their 66 shots (42 percent) from beyond the arc. And they made just nine of them. There's a reason Michael Redd is on the 2008 team, and it's to make jumpers. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul can all beat their man off the dribble, but when the help comes, the other Americans on the floor need to stick the open jumper.

3. Know your opponent
There's the idea out there that Team USA didn't know Greece well enough before their semifinal matchup in 2006. If that's true, you know that Mike Krzyzewski won't let that happen again. Thoroughly scouting their upcoming opponent seemed to become a priority last year at the FIBA Americas championship, and it will continue to be this year in Beijing. Everyone knows Theo Papaloukas' name now.
Team USA knows what it takes to win the Gold Medal, the question is: how ready will Greece, Germany and Spain counter Team USA's offensive skills? Your thoughts about this year Beijing Olympics - Basketball Tournament!

07-28-2008, 01:21 PM
Greece, Croatia, and Germany got the last 3 spots in the Olympics for the men's teams. Out of those 3, Croatia probably was not as heavily favoured to qualify for Beijing, but then again, that team has been playing together as a group for several years now, so I'm sure that helped in winning games. Croatia only has 1 NBA player under contract in point guard Roko Ukic, who will be coming over from Europe this season and become Jose Calderon's backup in Toronto.

07-28-2008, 11:03 PM
kinakabahan ako dito sa USA team.. parang kulang ng big men..

07-29-2008, 01:02 AM
US Olympic bastketball team confident but not complacent
07/28/2008 | 08:57 PM
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MACAU - The star-studded US men's basketball team is confident but not complacent about its prospects at the Beijing Olympics, head coach Mike Krzyzewski coach said Monday as the team arrived in southern Chinese enclave Macau for its final preparations for the games.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lebron James was quoted by Time magazine in its current issue as saying he guarantees gold for the U.S. team at the Olympics.

The comments came despite disappointing international results for the NBA-powered Americans over the past eight years. After dominating the Olympic basketball competition in the 1990s, the United States finished sixth at the 2002 world championships and won bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2006 world championships.

"We have nothing to be complacent about. We haven't accomplished anything yet," Krzyzewski told a news conference in Macau. "We're in the midst of trying to accomplish."

He said he's aware of the rising standard of the international game and predicted the Beijing Olympics basketball tournament will be the best ever because "world basketball has gotten to another level."

"Basketball around the world has exploded. Thirty percent of the NBA are international players. Many of the teams we face ... some will have a starting five of five NBA players," Krzyzewski said. "World basketball is terrific and it'll be a tough challenge for us."

The U.S. will open its Olympic campaign on Aug. 10 against a China team that includes Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian, who was recently traded from the Milwaukee Bucks to the New Jersey Nets.

"In order for us to become the best team we can be, we have to treat each team in the same manner," Krzyzewski said.

U.S. team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo said the Americans are aware that an ad hoc team of NBA stars doesn't cut it any more and noted the current squad was assembled in 2006.

"The core players have been together for the last three years. In the past, all-star teams were selected. That was good enough, but that's not the case any more," Colangelo said.

Despite past performances, the players were upbeat about their prospects.

"Every time we step onto the court, we know we have the talent and we know we have the strength to go out and be the best team on the court," James said. "We have to be confident for us to go out there and play the way we want to play.

"The chemistry right now is really good," he added.

Asked about other contenders for the Olympic title, the Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade pointed to defending Olympic champion Argentina and reigning world champion Spain, but said, "I'm not going to say anyone else (other than the U.S.) is a favorite to win."

The current U.S. squad is largely the same as team that contested the 2006 world championships — but with the added firepower of Kobe Bryant and veteran Jason Kidd.

James sat out the U.S. team's first warm-up game against Canada at Las Vegas on Friday with a sprained right ankle, but said Monday he is healthy and will play in upcoming exhibition games in Macau and Shanghai. He joined the team's first practice in Macau on Monday but taped his right ankle as a precaution.

"I'm going to play him a lot and make him work really hard," Krzyzewski said.

Team spokesman Craig Miller said Wade, who is recovering from left knee surgery, and the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard, recovering from a stress fracture to his sternum, are both fit. Wade scored 20 points in the U.S.' 120-65 rout of Canada.

In Macau, the U.S. will play Turkey on Thursday and Lithuania on Friday before moving on to Shanghai, where they it play Russia on Aug. 3 and Australia on Aug. 5. - AP

07-29-2008, 01:10 AM
USA will win the gold this year. No ifs, no buts.
;) ;) ;)

07-29-2008, 10:20 AM
Spain could field in a Starting 5 of NBA players like the US. So could Argentina. The question is: do they play NBA ball in the Olympics? This is where it gets a little dicey for the multimillionaires from the US. (Although I daresay there aren't any non-multimillionaires even on the representatives from Africa ...) Now that almost all the competition is NBA-caliber, how will the US respond? The US at least as shown over the last eight years has been anything but FIBA-caliber, and they will play on the second biggest FIBA stage after the Worlds.

Will they once again succumb to the zone defenses of opposing teams?

Will they once again go cold from the already shorter trey distance?

Will they once again be unable to stop simple pick and roll and high-low plays by the opposition?

Will they have to rely on Kobe Bryant scoring 81 Olympic points per game to win the gold?

salsa caballero
07-29-2008, 11:17 AM
I have my own gut feel about this coming tournament. The country that will win the gold is one where Spanish is the lingua franca, (and no, Miami is not representative of the entire US of A.) Anyone care to bet me a six-pack of Corona Extra or SMB Premium?

07-30-2008, 09:32 AM
Olympic gold bigger than NBA title – Kobe Bryant

MACAU: Kobe Bryant on Tuesday said winning Olympic gold was more important than the NBA title, as he bids to polish his legacy by returning Team USA to world basketball supremacy.

The triple NBA champion, who heads a star-studded line-up hotly tipped to end an eight-year international drought, answered immediately when asked which prize mattered more.

“Gold medal,” said Bryant, wading in to the club versus country debate.

“You’re playing for your country, there’s more at stake. I think when you’re playing for the NBA championship, you’re actually playing for a brand, you’re playing for whatever motivation—proving people wrong or whatever,” he said.

“When you put on a USA uniform, you’re playing for something bigger than all that. You’re representing your country, and our country is going up against the other country, trying to prove who’s best. For me, that holds more weight.”

Team USA has long battled for the services of top NBA players in a row that has been partly blamed for a series of flops on the world stage.

After embarrassing bronze-medal finishes at Athens 2004 and the 2006 World Championships, a core national team has been established, raising hopes of a better showing in Beijing.

Reigning MVP Bryant, NBA scoring champion LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are now part of a daunting squad vying to claim the USA’s first Olympic title since Sydney 2000.

Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and 2000 gold-medalist Jason Kidd are also in the gambling enclave of Macau for warm-up games against Turkey and Lithuania. The team got to work on Tuesday with their first practice on Chinese soil.

“You’re here on some serious, serious business because this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Bryant said.

“So it’s a little bit serious. You can’t really go out and have as much fun as you would like to but it’s still great to be here.”

Bryant revealed that he would undergo surgery on a long-standing right finger injury immediately after the Games, which could keep him sidelined for up to five weeks.

“I’m definitely set on surgery as soon as I get back,” he said. “We’ll go and talk about it and do it and get ready for the season.

“I heal pretty fast normally, so I should be back in no time.”

Bryant, who turns 30 during the Olympics, is probably facing his last shot at a gold medal and another chance to turn the page on the 2003 rape charges—later thrown out—which once threatened to derail his career.

A feud that ended with teammate Shaquille O’Neal leaving the Los Angeles Lakers, and his own pre-season comments last year about leaving the team, have also damaged his standing among fans.

The 10-time All-Star responded to their boos by winning his first NBA Most Valuable Player award in his 12th season, averaging 28.3 points a game and leading the Lakers to the Finals against the Boston Celtics.

“What I try to do is do what I do best, which is lead by example,” said Bryant, the second-oldest Olympic squad member after Kidd.

“The intensity with which I play the game is the part that I really bring to the table more than anything else.”

USA play Turkey on Thursday and Lithuania on Friday before facing Russia and Australia in Shanghai. Their first Olympic group game is against hosts China on August 10.

Howard the Duck
08-02-2008, 08:43 PM
Olympic gold bigger than NBA title – Kobe Bryant

That's BS kobe. you're only saying that since BOS gang-raped LAL on game 6

08-03-2008, 10:44 PM
after watching the game earlier... US vs Russia... i think if the USA plays this way they will have a hard time against greece, spain, argentina. delekado.... i dont really get it but i think COach K should start playing boozer and prince more. para may exposure. and maybe he should think of playing boozer and bosh or howard at the same time. liit nila ang i dont think like a prince can guard someone like oberto, scola and garbajosa. and nipis eh.

08-06-2008, 10:12 AM
Team USA struggles past Australia


Team USA had a tough time beating the Austrailian 87-76, and this was with the best Aussie player Andrew Bogut not playing in the game. Curious to see how they fare against the tough teams in Spain, Argentina, and Greece.

08-06-2008, 12:46 PM
^Australia were playing without Andrew Bogut.

Argentina, Spain, Greece and United States are the early favorites.

08-06-2008, 08:00 PM
Team USA basketball arrives to big Beijing welcome
08/06/2008 | 07:01 PM
BEIJING – Team USA arrived in Beijing amid scenes of near pandemonium Wednesday after fans waited hours for a glimpse of their basketball heroes.

Players left Beijing’s airport via a side door and boarded their bus in a secure VIP area before driving into the city.

Dozens of fans, most wielding cell phones or digital cameras, mounted a spiked iron fence to get a closer look, many shouting “Kou-bi-er"—the local rendering of Kobe Bryant’s name—in hopes of getting his attention.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard waved and smiled, looking pleased and vaguely amused by the display.

“I try to see American players every time they come to China, but this time is the most special because of the Olympics," said Manny Chen, a spikey-haired college student dressed in a Team USA jersey with Bryant’s name it.

Asked who he would back in the US team’s opening game against Yao Ming and the rest of China’s team on Sunday, Chen answered without hesitation: “China, of course.

“But America has the best chance of being the champion," he added.

The Americans have something to prove after failing to win a major world title since the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The squad failed to impress in Tuesday night’s warmup against Australia, winning 87-76 despite shooting just 3-of-18 from three-point territory and 20-of-33 (61 percent) at the foul line.

“We just broke down. We gambled a couple of times and allowed them to make the extra pass," LeBron
James said after the game. “We can’t have those types of mental breakdowns because these teams can really shoot the ball."

The US and China are joined in the competition’s tough Group B by Germany, European champion Greece, Angola, and world champion Spain. – AP

08-06-2008, 11:31 PM
^^ That's exactly what I mentioned in my previous post, Andrew Bogut did not play against USA 8)

08-07-2008, 05:17 PM
Fortunately para sa mga naka-Skycable pa tulad ko, mukhang at least mga Team USA games ipapalabas sa C/S Sports (RPN?) -

Delayed by 1 hour lang yung iba, tsaka parang malabo pa yung sa QF/semis sched. Pero siguro naman ang ilalagay nila sa CS e yung US game (I'm assuming they make at least the semis) :)

08-08-2008, 12:39 PM
If you have satellite television, you can also watch the basketball competitons in SuperSports2 & SuperSports7.
Live na Live!* ;)

08-08-2008, 05:07 PM
Preliminary games for August 10

Russia vs. Iran, 9 a.m.

Germany vs. Angola, 11:15 a.m.

Spain vs. Greece, 2:30 p.m.

Lithuania vs. Argentina, 4:45 p.m.

Australia vs. Croatia, 8 p.m.

USA vs. China, 10:15 p.m.

* Manila time

08-09-2008, 10:53 AM
Basketball players who were flag carriers at the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies:

Manu Ginobili of Argentina.
Sarunas* Jasikevicious of Lithuania.
Andrei Kirilenko of Russia.
Dirk Nowitzki of Germany.
Yao Ming of China.

08-09-2008, 10:58 AM
initial results?

08-10-2008, 10:01 PM
Did anyone see BTV's coverage of the Lithuania-Argentina game? When Argentina rallied to within 2 points 73-75, a timeout was called. Time left around 2mins. During the break, where BTV showed commercials, and sponsors segments such as the "SMART three point shot of the game", they inadvertently showed the winning 3 point basket by Linas Kleiza, with the scoreboard showing 75-75 and 2 seconds left. So when the game coverage resumed at 73-75, everyone watching already knew that Lithuania won! What a major boo-boo and spoiler!

08-10-2008, 11:16 PM
i noticed that too. bigla ako nawalan ng gana sa laro. :) right now, team USA pounding China. 49-37 at the half. Wade, Lebron, Kobe and Dwight giving facial dunks to the Chinese.

08-11-2008, 02:27 AM
The only way for the US to win gold is to lessen half court sets. After watching them play against china, nothing's changed from the past 3 disgraced US teams. Too much dribbling even against a zone. They have to force TO's and run alot. If it slows down, theyre out just like Iran will be.

I also believe that the US do not only lack on bigs, but their bigs are overrated too. Howard is not reliable on the post as he is more of a weakside scorer, Bosh is too finesse and Boozer is too slow. Scoop Jackson hit it right on the money: The US players are all to nice boys that they need someone like amare stoudemire to strike fear like they used to.

08-11-2008, 10:16 AM
Did anyone see BTV's coverage of the Lithuania-Argentina game?* When Argentina rallied to within 2 points 73-75, a timeout was called. Time left around 2mins.* During the break, where BTV showed commercials, and sponsors segments such as the "SMART three point shot of the game", they inadvertently showed the winning 3 point basket by Linas Kleiza, with the scoreboard showing 75-75 and 2 seconds left.* So when the game coverage resumed at 73-75, everyone watching already knew that Lithuania won!* What a major boo-boo and spoiler!

Delayed ang telecast ng BTV.

You can watch the basketball competitions LIVE! at SuperSports on Satelite TV (Dream).

08-11-2008, 10:57 AM
Did anyone see BTV's coverage of the Lithuania-Argentina game? When Argentina rallied to within 2 points 73-75, a timeout was called. Time left around 2mins. During the break, where BTV showed commercials, and sponsors segments such as the "SMART three point shot of the game", they inadvertently showed the winning 3 point basket by Linas Kleiza, with the scoreboard showing 75-75 and 2 seconds left. So when the game coverage resumed at 73-75, everyone watching already knew that Lithuania won! What a major boo-boo and spoiler!

Delayed ang telecast ng BTV.

You can watch the basketball competitions LIVE! at SuperSports on Satelite TV (Dream).

the Spain vs. Greece and USA vs. China games were shown live yesterday. delayed lang yung sa Russia vs. Iran and Lithuania vs. Argentina.

08-11-2008, 11:08 AM
Preliminary games for August 12:

Iran (0-1) vs. Lithuania (1-0), 9 am

Croatia (1-0) vs. Russia (1-0), 11:15 am

Greece (0-1) vs. Germany (1-0), 2:30 pm

China (0-1) vs. Spain (1-0), 4:45 pm

Angola (0-1) vs. USA (1-0), 8 pm

Argentina (0-1) vs. Australia (0-1), 10:15 pm

* Manila time

08-11-2008, 11:19 AM
I also believe that the US do not only lack on bigs, but their bigs are overrated too. Howard is not reliable on the post as he is more of a weakside scorer, Bosh is too finesse and Boozer is too slow. Scoop Jackson hit it right on the money: The US players are all to nice boys that they need someone like amare stoudemire to strike fear like they used to.

speaking of Stoudamire and also Chandler, ano nangyari sa kanila bat bigla sila nawala sa lineup? Parang andun pa sila nung FIBA qualifiers e. Ang laki ng hinina nung pinalit si Boozer..

08-11-2008, 12:58 PM
speaking of Stoudamire and also Chandler, ano nangyari sa kanila bat bigla sila nawala sa lineup? Parang andun pa sila nung FIBA qualifiers e. Ang laki ng hinina nung pinalit si Boozer..

Amare begged off from the team. He wants to rest his body especially his knee.

08-11-2008, 07:37 PM
Kobe slammed it hard in the face of sun yue, His way of saying "welcome to LA pal" ;D

08-12-2008, 05:56 PM
August 12 games:

Lithuania 99, Iran 67
Qtr Scores: ( 15-20, 46-34, 74-53, 99-67 )
Iranian 7'1" Hamid Ehadadi scored 21 pts.
Former Indiana Pacer Sarunas Jasikevicius had 20 pts while Denver Nuuget Linas Kleiza scored 22 pts.

Croatia 85, Russia 78
Qtr Scores: ( 16-17, 42-36, 60-51, 85-78)
Croatia were led by Marko Popovic 22 pts and Zoran Planinic 20 pts
Russia was paced by Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko with 18 pts.

Greece 87, Germany 64
Qtr. Scores: ( 21-23, 44-33, 69-48, 87-64 )
Ex Houston Rocket Vaelleious Spanoulis led the Greeks with 23 pts while CSKA Moscow's Theodoros Papaloukas scored 15 pts. Germany was led by Dirk Nowitzki with 13 points* and Cris Kaman scored only* 4 pts.

08-12-2008, 11:03 PM
What a collapse by China, they stopped playing in the last seven minutes of regulation, allowing Spain to comeback and eventually win in overtime.

But give credit to Spain, they adjusted to a man-to-man defense and made they took care of the ball after being sloppy all throughout.

And boy, "DABOY" Rudy Fernandez sure is a talent.

08-13-2008, 09:29 AM
And boy, "DABOY" Rudy Fernandez sure is a talent.

The potential Rudy Fernandez and Brandon Roy backcourt combination in Portland is gonna be very, very good as soon as Rudy gets adjusted to the NBA. "Daboy" was definitely a late 1st round steal by Portland in 2006.

Also liked the hustle and defense of young Ricky Rubio, who was causing all kinds of problems for the Chinese guards. Ricky is certainly the best young basketball prospect in Europe right now.

08-13-2008, 10:55 AM
And boy, "DABOY" Rudy Fernandez sure is a talent.

He's a bigger version of Argentina's Carlos Delfino.

08-13-2008, 03:09 PM
August 14 sked:

Germany (1-1) vs. Spain (2-0), 9 am.

Australia (0-2) vs. Iran (0-2), 11:15 am.

Angola (0-2) vs. China (0-2), 2:30 pm.

Lithuania (2-0) vs. Russia (1-1), 4:45 pm.

USA (2-0) vs. Greece (1-1), 8 pm

Argentina (1-1) vs. Croatia (2-0), 10:15 pm.

08-13-2008, 03:30 PM
And boy, "DABOY" Rudy Fernandez sure is a talent.

The potential Rudy Fernandez and Brandon Roy backcourt combination in Portland is gonna be very, very good as soon as Rudy gets adjusted to the NBA. "Daboy" was definitely a late 1st round steal by Portland in 2006.

Also liked the hustle and defense of young Ricky Rubio, who was causing all kinds of problems for the Chinese guards. Ricky is certainly the best young basketball prospect in Europe right now.

and don't forget jerry'd bayless plus the rookie season of one player named greg oden

08-13-2008, 04:49 PM
I am confident Fernandez will create an impact in the NBA similar to the way Ginobili has done thru his career so far.

For all the hype that Rubio has gotten lately, with his supposed steve nash playmaking skills, court vision and fancy but accuarate passing, this little dude is actually an outstanding defender, which is unusual for someone with his playing template (i.e., J-Will, Nash..). Havent seen him yet do damage on offense in the Olympics but from the write-ups and youtube videos he's primed to be one of the the best PGs for the next decade and a half.

08-13-2008, 07:41 PM
rudy fernandez is listed as a 6'5" 185 lbs guard. that's about the weight and height of our very own ramon fernandez. wouldnt he be too lean to have an immediate effect in the nba? he has to build muscles for him not to be pushed around.

Howard the Duck
08-13-2008, 08:21 PM
USA will win tomorrow ;D

08-13-2008, 08:44 PM
My darkhorse team is Croatia. They've beaten Australia and Russia so far, and are gonna face Argentina tomorrow. If they can beat Argentina, then they may be able to upset other teams and win a medal. That team has been playing together as a group for several years now, so I'm sure that's helped in winning games. Croatia only has 1 NBA player under contract in point guard Roko Ukic, who will be coming over from Europe this season and become Jose Calderon's backup in Toronto, as well as a bunch of good players in Popovic, Tomas and former NJ Net Planinic.

08-14-2008, 05:40 AM
is this crotia team the same as the past serbia and montenegro team or are they a different state altogether?

08-14-2008, 08:06 AM
is this crotia team the same as the past serbia and montenegro team or are they a different state altogether?

Croatia and Serbia & Montenegro was once a part of Yugoslavia.
They broke away. Serbia & Montenegro has recently broke away from each other earlier this year. Hiwalay na ang Serbia at Montenegro.

08-14-2008, 01:52 PM
Croatia gained its independence and became its own country in 1991. The former Yugoslavia broke up into different countries such as Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, etc. A lot of the basketball talents got spread around as well to the different countries.

08-14-2008, 04:12 PM
just imagine if today they played as a team yugoslavia
and then imagine there is still a soviet union ...

including spain and argentina, team usa is not going to have things easy no?

08-14-2008, 04:18 PM
I will probably give the USA-Greece game to (who else) Team USA by at least 20pts..

This might become emotionally charged from the get-go since Greece's plan on the Greece-Germany game was to frustrate Dirk (for Team USA, it might be Melo, Howard and Bosh)..Same plan will be executed by Papaloukas and the rest..

Coach K must learn from the 2006 FIBA WBC game mistakes..prevent the pick-and-roll play that killed the defense of Team USA back then..also the horrific shooting last game over Angola..they must make their shoots..

08-14-2008, 11:25 PM
US had a big 2nd quarter and Greece never recovered

08-14-2008, 11:36 PM
Argentina gets a blowout win over Croatia, 77-53. The defending Olympic champs are getting more healthy and comfortable as the tournament continues in China. Croatia just couldn't find a way to stop the top players of Argentina, all NBA players in Nocioni, Delfino (although he signed with a Russian club this summer), Ginobili, and Scola.

08-14-2008, 11:54 PM
Spain meets the US on August 16, that should be interesting

08-15-2008, 03:45 PM
August 16 sked:

Greece (1-2) vs. Angola (0-3), 9 am.

Russia (1-2) vs. Australia (1-2), 11:15 am.

Croatia (2-1) vs. Lithuania (3-0), 2:30 pm.

Iran (0-3) vs. Argentina (2-1), 4:45 pm.

China (1-2) vs. Germany (1-2), 8 pm.

Spain (3-0) vs. USA (3-0), 10:15 pm

08-15-2008, 07:16 PM
August 16 sked:

Spain (3-0) vs. USA (3-0), 10:15 pm

Definitely gonna watch this game. I like Calderon, Rubio, and Daboy of Spain, but the US are just really, really playing well right now, and are probably gonna come out on top for this game.

08-16-2008, 08:30 AM
August 16 * sked:

Spain (3-0) vs. USA (3-0), 10:15 pm

Definitely gonna watch this game. I like Calderon, Rubio, and Daboy of Spain, but the US are just really, really playing well right now, and are probably gonna come out on top for this game.

The game between USA vs Greece was delayed around 30 minutes on BTV. I was watching the game LIVE on SUPERSPORTS. It was around the second quarter in the 6 minute mark, when BTV just started airing the game.
Expect the same tonight.

On the game itself, USA vs SPAIN, I would love to see Rudy Fernandez test his athleticism against Kobe and LeBron.
The Rubio vs CP3 matchup will be exciting as well.

08-16-2008, 12:41 PM
Is Rubio getting much playing time though considering he is a newcomer on the Spanish Olympic team?

08-16-2008, 01:17 PM
Ricard "Ricky" Rubio
DOB: Oct 21, 1990
Place of birth: El Masnou (Spain)
Height: 190cm/6'3"
Position: Point Guard

2008 Beijing Olympics averages: 5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.7 apg.

Past FIBA competitions:
1. 2007 U18 Euro Championships for Men: 19.1 ppg, 5 rpg, 4.8 apg.
2. 2006 U16 Euro Championships for Men: 23.3 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 7.1 apg

08-16-2008, 01:27 PM
August 16 games:

Greece def. Angola 102-61
Australia def Russia 95-80

08-16-2008, 02:01 PM
wow, Australia with a big win there...are they facing Lithuania next?

08-16-2008, 05:02 PM
Greece return to winning ways with big triumph over Angola
August 16, 2008

BEIJING (Olympics) – Greece were no match for the United States in their highly-anticipated game on Wednesday but they had very little trouble with FIBA Africa champions Angola on Saturday morning.

Ioannis Bourousis had 22 points on a perfect nine of nine shooting from the floor and Greece made 10 of 17 shots from long range en route to a 102-61 triumph.

Leading 12-11, Panagiotis Yannakis’ men reeled off 10 consecutive points at the start of the second quarter and held a comfortable lead for the rest of the first half.

Offensive rebounds and excellent defense allowed the Greeks to go on the decisive spurt.

Fotsis’ three-pointer which extended the lead to 17-11 came after Vasilis Spanoulis claimed the rebound off his own miss to keep the ball in the hands of Greece.

Not long after, Dimitris Diamantidis pressured Angola guard Armando Costa and came up with a steal before drilling a three-ball to make it 20-11.

On their next trip down the floor, Greece had two offensive boards – the second by Fotsis off Kostas Tsartsaris’ miss.

Fotsis, fouled on his attempted put-back, went to go to the charity stripe to make two free throws and stretch the advantage to 22-11.

The Greeks then blew the game wide open in the third quarter, outscoring the Angolans 38-14 for an 81-42 stranglehold on proceedings with just 10 minutes remaining in the game.

The victory has left Greece in third place in Group B and eliminated winless Angola from contention for a place in the quarter-finals.

Next up for the Greeks is a clash on Monday with Beijing Games hosts China.

As is normally the case for Yannakis’ team, they out-rebounded the opponents. On Saturday, Andreas Glyniadakis and Antonis Fotsis each had seven of Greece’s 42 boards with the Angolans hauling in just 25 themselves.

Panagiotis Vasilopoulos had 10 points and five rebounds for the Greeks, while Angola were led by Eduardo Mingas’ 23 points.

Vladimir Jeronimo had seven rebounds to go with his eight points for the Africans.


08-16-2008, 05:03 PM
Bogut back with a BOOM as Aussies stun European champions Russia
August 16, 2008

BEIJING (Olympics) – Australia coach Brian Goorjian stood up for Andrew Bogut and the big center thanked him by leading the Boomers to a 95-80 upset of European champions Russia and into the quarter-finals of the Olympics.

With Bogut facing criticism in the Australian media for a slow start to the Beijing Games, Goorjian hit back by arguing that the Milwaukee Bucks center needed some help and against the Russians, the Melbourne big man delivered big style with 22 points and eight rebounds.

"Nobody believes in us but us,” Bogut said. “Everyone is doubting us. People didn't think we were going to get to the next round so this is an accomplishment. This was our goal going into the Olympics.”

David Andersen, one of Europe’s top players at CSKA Moscow the past few seasons, also responded with 11 points and five boards.

Andersen and Bogut were a combined seven of nine from the floor in the first half, which opened up the Boomers’ outside game.

They nailed six of 14 from behind the arc in the first two quarters.

Mark Worthington’s three-point play sparked a 13-0 run which gave the Aussies a 32-16 lead and they took a 49-33 advantage to half-time.

Russia managed to cut the deficit to 51-44 in the third quarter on a basket from Alexey Savrasenko (16pts 4rbs), but Bogut replied with a three-pointer.

That was as close at last year’s EuroBasket winners would get.

Russia coach David Blatt experienced one of the ultimate highs in European basketball just one year ago in Madrid when he led the country to the EuroBasket gold medal with a thrilling final win over hosts Spain.

Now he’s on a big low.

"You have to tip off your hat to Australia,” he said.

“They played great basketball and there's no denying they were much better.

"It's very disappointing for us. The way that we played, I didn't see this coming. I knew that coming into this tournament we weren't the same team that we were last year.

“We've had too many difficulties, too many unfortunate things have happened along the way and we just didn't find a way to recover from them.

“It sort of came out in an exaggerated and painful way today. We have to accept the responsibility for our performance today."

One of the most difficult parts to the Russian build-up was the uncertainty over Viktor Khryapa. A sprained ankle suffered during the preparations nearly knocked the CSKA Moscow forward out of the Beijing Games.

Blatt decided to include him in the team and Khryapa justified his place with inspirational play.

Against Australia, he was the Russians’ best player, burying all six of his attempts from behind the arc on his way to a team-best 21 points. He also corralled nine rebounds and swatted two shots.

The player who was far from the type of performance that he put on at EuroBasket 2007 was the MVP of that tournament, Andrei Kirilenko.

‘AK-47’ had a tough Olympics, missing nine of his 20 free throws in the team’s narrow setback to Lithuania on Wednesday and then making just one of 10 shots from the floor against Australia.

"We are very disappointed,” Kirilenko said. “We are not going through to the next round and it's a huge disappointment for us."

Brad Newley, the Australia swingman, said the game-plan was to disrupt the Russians as much as possible.

“We really fought,” Newley said. “Guys who have been really quiet throughout the series came out and really played today.”

The one-two punch of Andersen and Bogut truly set the tone for the victory, giving them an inside presence the Boomers desperately needed.

When the teams went to the changing rooms, the pair had combined for 21 points and seven rebounds.

"Andrew Bogut is the cornerstone of this team but he can't carry this team,” Australia coach Brian Goorjian said.

“When we win he is great, when we lose it's Andrew Bogut's fault.

“He was great today. I thought he was very good in the last game. I think he has handled the highs and lows great.”

Bogut’s signature moment came in the second half when the Russians turned up the intensity on defense and were threatening to make a run.

He got the ball on the low blocks, went up strong and dunked over Andrey Vorontsevich.

The win has put the Australians into the quarter-finals.

In his opening comments to the media, Goorjian said: "Seven years of work and a rollercoaster ride that I was feeling with the group since we got here that we have been second class citizens in this.

“We have been a team that has been under the bar, a team that hasn't been able to get over the hump in major competition and has not been able to beat a European power.

"We took a soft approach inside against Argentina and Croatia. We talked about everything comes down to today.”

Now Lithuania become a major game for the Aussies, whose other win in Beijing came against Iran.

"We have one more game in hand,” Bogut said. “We want to beat Lithuania. If we don't win that game, we know it's a (quarter-final) match-up against the United States.

“Lithuania are one of the best teams in the world, they are still undefeated.”


08-16-2008, 05:21 PM
Lithuania enjoy big fourth quarter to beat Croatia
August 16, 2008

BEIJING (Olympics) – Lithuania shut down Croatia’s high-powered offense in the fourth quarter and won 86-73 to clinch first place in Group A at the Beijing Games.

Mindaugas Lukauskis erupted for a game-high 20 points for Lithuania, who trailed 62-58 at the end of the third quarter but stormed to their fourth successive victory over the final 10 minutes.

Lithuania killed the Croatians with their three-point shooting, burying 11 of 20 (55%) compare to just five of 17 (29%) for Jasmin Repesa’s team.

Lukauskis was three of four from behind the arc and Linas Kleiza, one of Lithuania’s heroes in this Olympics, four of six.

Kleiza finished with 18 points.

By topping the group, Lithuania have avoided a quarter-final against Team USA and Spain – the two leading sides in Group B.

Croatia have two wins and two defeats and are virtual certainties to reach the last eight as they still have a game remaining against winless Iran.

Croatia got 13 points from Roko-Leni Ukic.


08-17-2008, 09:58 PM
Im not sure if the SPAIN team yesterday against the US was the real Spanish team out there, I dont think they had any intensity and sense of urgency to come back from a big deficit. I think the 37 pt win was a little bit overblown, but regardless I still believe the redeem team will capture gold albiet a slightly smaller margin against either Spain or Argentina.

Sam Miguel
08-18-2008, 09:49 AM
Here's a little something from Yahoo Sports:

World offers Little Challenge to Team USA

By Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports Aug 16, 4:11 pm EDT

BEIJING – The United States is desperate to drain the drama out of these Olympic Games, delivering doses of destruction at a frightening and ferocious rate now. Spain surrendered without so much as a struggle, the defending world champion leaving itself and the rest of this tournament’s teams to ask a most sobering question: Never mind beating the Americans, can we even give them a game?

When the U.S.’s 119-82 beating was over, a bewildered European reporter had a question for Spain’s star, Pau Gasol: Had Spain held back – tanked, essentially – so it could manipulate the brackets for Argentina instead to meet the United States in the semifinals? With the loss, it’s most likely that Spain wouldn’t meet the Americans again until the gold medal game.

Make no mistake: The line for a silver medal starts behind Spain.

“They were sending a statement, ‘We are for real,’ and they sent it loud and clear,” Gasol said. “They wanted to show everyone they are superior, and they did.”

For those desperate to see the U.S. even challenged, they should hope that Spain was working that tanking angle. Who could even tell the difference? The U.S. never gave them a chance. The Americans never let them breathe.

Near the start of the game, Pau Gasol tried to set a screen on his Lakers teammate, Kobe Bryant, and just got obliterated. The message was unmistakable and the Americans pounded it into the Spaniards’ weary bodies and minds.

Here’s the difference between No. 1 and No. 2 in this tournament: Thirty-seven points.

So, yes, see you in the gold medal game.

“The Greek game, we thought we were going to be tested,” Carmelo Anthony said. “The Spain game, we thought we were going to be tested. We still have teams on the other side we haven’t played yet.”

That’s what Team USA is trying to tell itself anyway. The U.S. isn’t just destroying teams now, it’s delivering a goodwill clinic of the highest order. In the past, how the world had come to believe it could attack Americans centered on its lazy defense and spotty shooting. Suddenly, it’s impossible to run an offense against the U.S., a labor just to run a play against them without the ball getting swallowed up. The Americans are attacking in a way on defense that is systematically creating chaos, a perfect storm of athleticism, strength and speed that this time unleashed itself on the gifted Spanish guards.

“I guess you could say Americans haven’t played defense for the last eight years,” Jason Kidd said. “Look at 2004. Look at 2006. Our defensive intensity wasn’t high. Now, with the maturity of these guys, they understand what it takes.”

The 16 steals out of Team USA came from picking passes out of the air and scooping up dribbles and literally ripping the ball out of the Gasol brothers’ hands. These aren’t five separate fingers on the U.S. defense, but a fist. They move on a string, one movement related to the next, and the next, and the swarming upon the Spanish guards made it impossible for them to run an offense. Pity poor Ricky Rubio, the 17-year-old thrust into that grinder in this Pool B game.

The Americans pressured Spain’s players with the ball, blitzed passing lanes and created a torrent of turnovers and steals that sped the U.S. fast break. This game was done in the second quarter, a TKO without so much of an instant of doubt. The prospect of going the distance with the Americans hasn’t appeared this daunting for a long, long time.

“What makes this team a little special right now is that watching us on tape is one thing, but when you have the speed factor up close, it’s a whole different ball game,” Kidd said. “That comes from defense and our transition game. Look at the guys on the floor. Dwyane (Wade)…LeBron (James) – they’re all pretty fast.”

Spain turned the ball over 28 times, a fact that allowed the Americans to feast on fast breaks for a 32-0 advantage on the run. The U.S. made 12 of 25 three-pointers, so many coming from Chris Paul’s and James’ penetration and passes out to the perimeter for open shots. The balance for the Americans is staggering – eight players reached double figures – and that’s gone a long way to creating an uber team where the sum creeps closer to matching the parts.

Resistance was futile for Spain. Nothing worked. Spain was called for a technical foul for slapping the ball out of the basket as a means to slow down the U.S. Officials are supposed to warn a team just once before that delay-of-game call, and the U.S. bench howled when Spain was granted a second warning, too. Eventually, that act earned them a tech. For such a swift and athletic team as Spain, one that can be spectacular in transition, it was sobering for everyone that Spain was scoreless on the run. Thirty-two to nothing.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that before,” Anthony marveled.

So exhausted were the referees with chasing the Americans up and down the floor, one Team USA veteran wondered whether the refs were blowing whistles on needless calls against both teams – the U.S. and Spain – just to stop the action and catch their breaths.

Through it all, Team USA’s gold medalist, Kidd, found himself searching for something to chastise his teammates for, to combat complacency. When the U.S. had a stretch of three consecutive turnovers, he lit into them. These days, the Americans aren’t chasing a gold medal as much as they are a standard of playing the game – perhaps even a small sliver of perfection.

“The small things are what win ball games and we got away from that after 2000,” Kidd said. “When you look at the rest of the world, that’s what they do well: All the little things. Pass the ball. Set screens. Make the extra pass. We got away from that. We thought our athletic ability was going to win ball games and that wasn’t the case.”

No more. Now, the Americans are doing it all again. The genius is in the details for American basketball again, and the defending world champion found itself flattened by 37 points on Saturday night. Spain stumbled away dazed, despondent and with an unmistakable message for the rest of the world’s teams: The line for the silver medal starts behind us.

Sam Miguel
08-18-2008, 09:52 AM
^^^ I often wonder if maybe Spain really did do as Wojnarowski's column up there suggests: that they tanked the game versus the US just to get a better seeding going into the semifinals. That is a dangerous risk to take considering that, as we can see in the rest of this pool, every body is capable of beating every body else. If Spain runs into a lucky / good / hot opponent they can kiss their gold medal aspirations goodbye.

08-18-2008, 10:50 AM
When the U.S.’s 119-82 beating was over, a bewildered European reporter had a question for Spain’s star, Pau Gasol: Had Spain held back – tanked, essentially – so it could manipulate the brackets for Argentina instead to meet the United States in the semifinals? With the loss, it’s most likely that Spain wouldn’t meet the Americans again until the gold medal game.

From what I understand, win or lose, Spain wouldn't have met the USA until the gold medal game, because they are the top 2 teams in the same group B, and the semis are A1 vs B2 and A2 vs B1 (barring upsets).

What they've managed to do is avoid A2 Argentina in the semis, and instead are on track for undefeated A1 Lithuania.

An interesting note to the bracket is that if you're in Group A, A3's path would probably be vs Spain, Lithuania, USA; while A2 probably Greece, USA, A1/Spain.* So if it's much harder to upset the US than anyone else, A3 arguably has a better path to the silver medal than A2.* :)

08-20-2008, 09:18 AM
I'm gonna watch two quarter-final games today- Spain vs. Croatia, and USA vs. Australia. Barring any major upsets, the Spaniards and Americans should advance to the semi-finals later in the week.

08-20-2008, 09:39 AM
The Argentina vs Greece should be the most exciting quarterfinal matchup today.

08-20-2008, 01:25 PM
Quarter-Finals Sked (Aug 20):

Spain vs. Croatia 2:30pm

Lithuania vs China 4:45 pm

USA vs Australia 8:00pm

Argentina vs Greece 10:15 pm

08-20-2008, 01:27 PM
USA and the chasing pack ready for the quarter-finals

BEIJING (Olympics) - China have done the minimum that was required for their Olympic basketball campaign but world champions Spain need to reach the final if they are to meet the expectations of their adoring and demanding fans.

And the way Aito Garcia Reneses’ men capitulated against the United States in their Group B game, a 119-82 humiliation on Saturday, questions are still being asked about a team that isn’t short on talent but appears to lack emotion.

Awaiting the Spanish in the quarter-finals is a game against Croatia, a team that beat them in Seville last year at the EuroBasket.

It was at the quarter-final stage at the last Olympics that Spain, after going undefeated in the preliminary round, lost 102-94 to the United States.

"This is the game that separates success from failure and everything is decided in 40 minutes,” Spain guard Jose Calderon said.

“It's necessary to maintain the focus, to be prepared to give 100% in the quarter-finals.

"I see Croatia as a difficult rival. They beat us last year in the EuroBasket and they made life difficult in the previous EuroBasket, when we came close to losing against them. They are a similar team to us.”

Indeed, Spain won in overtime against Croatia at EuroBasket 2005 to reach the semi-finals, although it was a bitter setback for many of the players and then coach Neven Spahija because of the huge disparity in fouls called against their team.

"They have good players in every position, they can rotate the bench and have players with international experience,” Calderon said.

“They have height, technique and physique. We must be aware that this game will be complicated and hard against a great team."

Spain are not looking past Croatia, but a lot of fans are.

They want to know that if Spain are fortunate enough to play the Americans again, is there a glimmer of hope they can beat a USA team that is so athletic and focused?

Spain forward Jorge Garbajosa told FIBA.com: “I don’t know. Athletically is just one part of the game. For sure, they are unbelievable athletes.

“If we face them again in the tournament as we wish, we will try to find something different.”

Croatia are not expected to have Marko Popovic available for a third straight game due to injury but they are nevertheless confident heading into the game.

Veteran Croatia center Nikola Prkacin said of Spain: “We don’t want to play against the Dream Team (USA), but we can handle Spain. In one game, anything is possible.”

The United States take on Australia in their quarter-final.

The USA have blown out all of their opponents this summer with the exception of the Boomers, the team they faced in Shanghai before the start of the Beijing Games.

Australia suffered heavy defeats to Croatia and Argentina to start the tournament but have been hugely impressive ever since, thumping Iran, EuroBasket 2007 champions Russia and Lithuania.

Monday’s win over Lithuania had no significance on the Group A standings but the game clearly mattered a great deal to Australia as they looked to build some winning momentum ahead of the USA game.

“There is no game plan for the USA,” said Australia coach Brian Goorjian.

“We have a chance to take a swing at the USA and I'm confident we are going to get out there and play ball.”

When asked if Australia had a chance of beating the Americans, Goorjian replied: "I don't know if we can or if we can't. I like the way we are playing. I don't even want to look at the tapes.

“I want our country to be proud of our team. Everybody in Australia will be watching that game, hopefully we will play as we have done (against Lithuania).”

The United States are the gold medal favourites because of how all of their players have performed, and that includes Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said of James: “LeBron, if he’s not the best, he’s one of the top two or three in the world.

“Over the past few years, he’s developed in all areas. He just has a presence. He’s been a great ally for the coaching staff as far as getting our message across.”

In the other quarter-finals, Argentina will take on Greece and Lithuania will go up against China.

Greece are looking forward to meeting the team that knocked them out of Athens Olympics at the quarter-final stage.

"When you play a team like Argentina, first thing, no mistakes, patience and try to have clear mind, every pass and every defense,” Greece coach Panagiotis Yannakis said.

“It's a difficult game; their players can change their game, every one of them. We need concentration. We have to work on this."

Lithuania will look to get back on track as the Group A winners when they take on a Yao Ming-led China.

Lithuanian Jonas Kazlauskas is the coach of China and he is the former boss of the Baltic giants.

"China is very good team, the coaches are Lithuanian who coached the Lithuanian national team,” said current boss Ramunas Butautas.

“He knows us very well and we know him very well.”

China big man Yi Jianlian is looking forward to his team’s last-eight clash.

“Lithuania are one of the European superpowers but I believe we have a chance,” he said to FIBA.com.

“We have to play hard on defense and offense. We have gone this far and now we have a chance to go further and we will give everything we have.”


08-20-2008, 04:41 PM
Are there any websites which show live play-by-plays or scores for Olympic basketball?

I've only found obscure websites so far saying Spain just eliminated Croatia 72-59 :)

08-20-2008, 06:13 PM
Croatia slow out of the gate and lose to Spain

BEIJING (Olympics) – Pau Gasol and Spain built a big first-quarter advantage and used that as a platform for a 72-59 victory against Croatia in the first quarter-final of the men’s basketball tournament at the Olympics.

Gasol had nine of his game-high 20 points in the opening frame as the world champions opened up a 22-11 lead and the Spanish went in front by as many as 24 in the second half before settling for a 13-point triumph.

Spain will next take on the winner of Lithuania’s quarter-final against Olympic hosts China.

"We are happy with the result,” said Gasol, the most valuable player of the 2006 FIBA World Championship who played his 100th game for Spain.

“It was an important win in the quarter-finals and it is something we wanted to do in the Olympics.

“We are where we want to be. Now we must prepare for the semis which is going to be a difficult game for us.”

Spain were criticised for their lack of intensity in their Group B thrashing by gold medal favourites Team USA.

They were focused from the opening tip against Croatia, however, especially on defense with the Balkans team going nearly six minutes with just one point.

“They played aggressive defense, never letting us move the ball easily,” Croatia coach Jasmin Repesa said.

“But we missed many open shots. It's difficult to beat a Spain team when you shoot badly.”

Croatia, playing without injured sharpshooter Marko Popovic for a third successive game, made just one of seven from three-point range in the first half and finished five of 19 (26%).

They were 20 of 53 (38%) from the floor overall compared to Spain’s 26 of 53 (49%).

"I expected us to come out with the defensive intensity that we started with today,” Gasol said.

“If we do that, it means that we take away the pressure from us. It gives us an advantage.

“I’m happy that we are in the semi-finals, but we still have two games left to play. We need to be intense from the start as we were today."

Worryingly for Spain, Jose Manuel Calderon had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with a groin injury.

“He felt a pain,” Garcia Reneses said to FIBA.com. “We don’t know his condition, but we hope to have him available for the semi-finals.”

Calderon said he stopped as a precaution but would have tests on the groin.

He finished with 10 points, making both of his three-pointers, while Felipe Reyes had 13.

Marko Banic scored 15 points to lead Croatia.

Spain out-rebounded Croatia, 36-29 with Gasol pulling down five in each half.

Croatia also suffered without Popovic, and Repesa believes the team would have been more effective with center Mario Kasun, who didn’t play at all this summer.

“I don't like to put any excuses,” Repesa said.

“We started the tournament well but I apologize for how we finished the tournament. We should have played better."

Garcia Reneses, meanwhile, who replaced the hugely popular Pepu Hernandez following his sacking by the Spanish Basketball Federation just several weeks before the Olympics, said: “Today's victory is down to our great defense and a lot of focus.

“That defense lasted for a long time in the game. The offense has been inferior to our defense and that perhaps had to do with the fact we were leading.

“In the end, we made mistakes on many things. We must be on guard in the latter stages of the game.”

Hernandez led Spain to the world title and a silver medal at last year’s EuroBasket.

“It's very important for Spanish basketball to go far in tournaments,” Garcia Reneses said. “We are proud to be in the semi-finals.”


08-20-2008, 07:08 PM

Olympics: Lithuania demolishes Yao and China's Olympic dream
AFP - August 20, 2008, 8:33 pm

Lithuania used a potent three-point attack to shoot down towering centre Yao Ming's dream of bringing China an Olympic medal Wednesday dispatching the Beijing Games hosts 94-68 in the quarter-finals.

The Lithuanians extended a nine-point halftime lead to 70-53 to start the final period with a barrage of third quarter threes with Panathinaikos star Sarunas Jasikevicius and Denver Nugget Linus Kleiza hitting two three-pointers each.

Fighting through a constant Lithuanian double team, Yao mustered 19 points mostly from the free-throw line, while his teammates could not hit their open jumpers until well after the game had been decided.

Lithuanian knocked down 13 of 31 three pointers, while China made a dismal four of 21.

The former Golden State Warrior Jasikevicius led Lithuanian with 23 points, while backcourt partner from CSKA Moscow Ramunas Siskauskas had 15 and Kleiza chipped in 13 for the winners.

A sea of raucous Chinese fans waving the red flag of China cheered their team to the end, repeatedly drowning out a very vocal group of Lithuanian supporters dressed in their nation's green and yellow.

Arguably the biggest game of his career, Yao started slowly scoring his first point off a free throw early in the second quarter as New Jersey Net Yi Jianlian and guards Liu Wei and Sun Yue combined for 15 of China's first 19 points.

In the second period, the towering Houston Rocket was more effective inside, but a series of turnovers allowed Lithuania to extend a 19-18 lead to 41-30 at the halftime.

08-20-2008, 07:54 PM
Lithuania end China’s Olympic dream with blowout win

BEIJING (Olympics) – Lithuania booked their fifth Olympic semi-final appearance in a row by pulling away from Yao Ming and China for a 94-68 triumph on Wednesday.

Sarunas Jasikevius made five of six shots from long range and led all scorers with 23 points as the Lithuanians set up a last-four clash with world champions Spain.

Lithuania appear to be in excellent form heading into the last four.

“When we are concentrated, we’re a good team,” Jasikevicius said. “When we’re not concentrated, we can play as we did in the (106-75) defeat to Australia.”

Have they ever played as well as they have played in five of the six games here in wins over Argentina, Iran, Russia, Croatia and China?

“I don’t think this is the form of our life,” Jasikevicius said.

“We were strong in Sydney, strong in Athens. Everything is being decided in 40 minutes. We’re lucky. Sometimes in other sports, four years work is decided in 10 seconds.”

Lithuania broke open a close game midway through the second quarter with a 14-6 run and went to the changing rooms with a 41-30 advantage.

They opened up a 70-53 lead by the end of the third quarter and piled on the misery over the final 10 minutes.

Jasikevicius had 12 points and Ramunas Siskauskas 11 of his 15 in the first half.

China’s giant center Yao Ming had 19 points and seven boards, but had to work for everything he got against the Lithuanians.

“In my opinion, our key to winning was strong defense,” Lithuania coach Ramunas Butautus said.

“We double-teamed him, had a player in front and back.”

Yi Jianlian also scored 11 and pulled down nine rebounds for the Chinese.

Lithuania made 13 of 31 (42%) shots from long range compared to four of 21 (19%) for China.

“It always helps when the three-pointers are going in,” Jasikevicius said.

The Lithuanians were also hard to stop inside the arc where they made 21 of 32 (66%). China were 16 of 34 (47%) from two-point range.


08-23-2008, 06:30 AM
It's US versus Spain in Olympic basketball final


BEIJING - Title favorites the United States beat defending champions Argentina 101-81 in a bruising game on Friday to reach the Olympic men's basketball final.

The Americans will take on Spain in Sunday's gold medal showdown, a team they blew out in the group stages of the Beijing Games. Spain defeated Lithuania 91-86 in the other semi-final.

Fired up by an eyeball-to-eyeball clash with Argentina's Fabricio Oberto, Carmelo Anthony led the U.S. victory drive with 21 points. Luis Scola carried the fight for Argentina with 26.

Argentina lost Manu Ginobili, the tournament's leading scorer, in the first quarter, making it virtually impossible to match the superior firepower of the Americans.

The United States have won 12 Olympic men's basketball titles but their dominance has waned in recent years, with bronze medals at the 2004 Athens Games and the 2006 world championships.

08-24-2008, 10:01 AM
Gold medal game this afternoon between USA and Spain. Looks like the Redeem Team will accomplish their mission and bring home the Gold to the U.S.

08-24-2008, 06:06 PM
USA wins the gold, 118-107. Spain has nothing to be ashamed of. they battled all through out the game without Jose Calderon and was within reach all the time. IIRC, the biggest lead was just 12points. Rudy Fernandez will be an allstar in the NBA. he's so athletic and can hit those threes. that facial dunk on Howard was nasty! on the US side, Kobe and Wade played their best game in the olympics. Wade scored 21points in the 1st half while Kobe hit the dagger 4point play to bring USA out of reach.

Congratulations Team USA. ;)

08-24-2008, 06:22 PM
I just can't help but feel sorry for the defenders of D-Wade in the 1st quarter. He was just getting calls reminiscent of the calls he got in the NBA finals 2 years ago.

Congrats to the Team USA a.k.a. redeem team.


08-24-2008, 06:27 PM
Naiinis ako sa commentator kanina. Paulit-ulit yong Pau Gasol's "Little Brother" when referring to Mark Gasol. Hindi ba nya alam na mas matangkad at mas mabigat si Mark kesa kay Pau. ;D

08-24-2008, 06:35 PM
Naiinis ako sa commentator kanina.* Paulit-ulit yong Pau Gasol's "Little Brother" when referring to Mark Gasol. Hindi ba nya alam na mas matangkad at mas mabigat si Mark kesa kay Pau.* ;D

it's Marc Gasol.

08-24-2008, 07:52 PM
Gold: Team USA ;D
Silver: España :)
Bronze: Argentina ;)

Team USA has REDEEMED itself..The 3-point shots made by Kobe and D-Wade were cold as ice to the hope of Pau Gasol..Rudy and Juan Carlos had the game of their lives..Ricky is the new icon in the world of international basketball..

Next Stop: 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championships in Istanbul,Turkey

08-24-2008, 08:29 PM
USA Basketball is redeemed the title back. Next is 2010 FIBA-World Championship in Turkey and will depend the title at 2012 London Games. Kobe Bryant for me, he wont going back and he already 34 years then at London Games as well with Jason Kidd will 39 then. Here is my probable line-ups for USA Basketball.

Center - Greg Oden (Portland Trail Blazers)
Power Forward - Michael Beastley (Miami Heat)
Small Forward - Lebron James (if he decides, one more time)
Shooting Guard - Dwayne Wade
Point Guard - Chris Paul

Center - Dwight Howard
Power Forward - Tyler Hansbrough (6-10 from UNC Tar Heels) 2008 NCAA Player of the year
Small Forward - Kevin Durant
Shooting Guard - Darrick Rose
Point Guard - Deron Williams

Forward - Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves and Ex-UCLA Star) 6-10 which can play Center
Guard - OJ Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies and USC Star) 6-4 can play 2-guard

This is my probable line up anyway

08-24-2008, 09:09 PM
^ it's been said by kobe that he wants to play in london if they (usa basketball) want a 34-year old shooting guard.

and from this year's group, dwight, cp3, deron and melo have made noises that they want back.

08-24-2008, 09:32 PM
USA wins the gold, 118-107. Spain has nothing to be ashamed of. they battled all through out the game without Jose Calderon and was within reach all the time. IIRC, the biggest lead was just 12points. Rudy Fernandez will be an allstar in the NBA. he's so athletic and can hit those threes. that facial dunk on Howard was nasty! on the US side, Kobe and Wade played their best game in the olympics. Wade scored 21points in the 1st half while Kobe hit the dagger 4point play to bring USA out of reach.

Congratulations Team USA. ;)

how about the between the legs dribble then shoots the three... lufeeet! napawow kame ni erpats!

08-24-2008, 09:48 PM
Rudy Fernandez will be an allstar in the NBA. he's so athletic and can hit those threes. that facial dunk on Howard was nasty!

That was one sick, wicked, and nasty dunk by Rudy!! And that was even with Dwight's huge arm draped all over him. Fernandez, Roy, and Bayless in Portland next season and beyond = pretty darn good backcourt.

08-25-2008, 12:13 AM
I notice that commentator also bring hype on "17 yr old Ricky Rubio" everytime he dribble, pass, shoot etc... :)

08-25-2008, 12:54 AM
I notice that commentator also bring hype on "17 yr old Ricky Rubio" everytime he dribble, pass, shoot etc... :)

Yes, Ricky Rubio is Spain's youngest and most promising star. At 14 year's old naging pro na siya and at 17 kasama na sa Olympics. He may be young but he was able to hold ground with establish NBA stars such as Jason Kidd, Deron Williams and Chris Paul. I'm sure in the next couple of years, a lot of NBA teams will look to sign this kid.

08-25-2008, 12:00 PM
ricky rubio is a great player. but he doesnt need to be fancy all the time specially when passing the ball. he's prone to turnovers whenever he becomes too fancy.

08-25-2008, 12:37 PM
Team Redemption may have accomplished what they set out to do. But from the way the game was contested, I think this may well be the final gold medal victory for Team USA in the next 2 or 3 Olympics.

The Americans have invested 3-year effort to reclaim their basketball crown. But even after that diligent effort, the Spaniards were very much into the game for full 38 minutes. Not until that "3-ptr and 1" by Kobe did I think the Americans had the game in the bag.

A three year effort and yet they can't dominate the opposition in the game that mattered the most?

There is another 4-year cycle to look forward to for the rest of the world. Their level of play will improve further, their talent pool will get wider and deeper. All the while, the Americans will be stuck with their NBA highlight reels.

Basketball in South America and Europe is very much how the international game is played. Hence, meron silang built in advantage. The international setting is a natural setting for them. But Team USA will revert back to NBA mode again and then attend camp every summer and re-learn how the game is played in int'l competitions. No need to elaborate on how bad this set up is.

Hanggang ngayon, malinaw na lamang pa rin sa materyales ang Team USA and that was what gave them the gold this time. But in a global sport like basketball, how long can they maintain that advantage?

The past 8 years demonstrated the improvement of the rest of the world. Observers say that the Americans must do away with a "pick-up team" and respect their opponents. This was a 3 year program and yet, come gold medal game, they almost froze.

In the next few years, imo, we will see the real dethronement of the Americans.

08-25-2008, 01:21 PM
ricky rubio is a great player. but he doesnt need to be fancy all the time specially when passing the ball. he's prone to turnovers whenever he becomes too fancy.

He reminds me so much of Jason "White Chocolate" Williams during his early years with Sac-town.


08-25-2008, 03:59 PM
Gusto ko yong play na ginawa ng Spain. Simple lang pero effective and thats what kept them in the game. Dami nilang offensive rebounds despite isa lang yong rebounder sa ilalim. Okey din yong bigla-biglang pasa sa gitna kay Gasol at yong mga loopers ni Navarro.

08-25-2008, 04:27 PM
what if calderon played... ooohh... i wonder.

anyway, rubio is someone like miami would like to have.... ;)

08-25-2008, 08:10 PM
He can steal the ball with ease and facilitate the offense. He's young, still needs to develop a jumpshot. most of his attempts from the perimeter is a flat footed set shot.

08-25-2008, 08:36 PM
Kung maging import sa Pilipinas si Rudy Fernandez, alam na natin kung ano ang magiging nickname niya. ;D

08-25-2008, 11:09 PM
now that USA got its gold back, who do you think will play to defend their crown come 2012? these are my picks:

LeBron James - Cavs 6'8 SF/PF
Deron Williams - Jazz 6'3 PG/SG
Brandon Roy - Blazers 6'6 PG/SG
Michael Beasley - Heat 6'8 PF
Kevin Martin - Kings 6'6 SG
Kevin Durant - Oklahoma 6'10 SG/SF/PF
Derrick Rose - Bulls 6'3 PG
Greg Oden - Blazers 7'0 C
LaMarcus Aldridge - Blazers 6'11 PF/C
Danny Granger - Pacers 6'8 SG/SF
Demar Derozan - 6'6 SG/SF
Brandon Jennings - 6'1 PG

no, im not a fan of the Blazers but their players will really represent team USA on 2012.

08-26-2008, 09:01 AM
Kung maging import sa Pilipinas si Rudy Fernandez, alam na natin kung ano ang magiging nickname niya. ;D

D' Boy? :D

08-26-2008, 09:04 AM
now that USA got its gold back, who do you think will play to defend their crown come 2012? these are my picks:

LeBron James - Cavs 6'8 SF/PF
Deron Williams - Jazz 6'3 PG/SG
Brandon Roy - Blazers 6'6 PG/SG
Michael Beasley - Heat 6'8 PF
Kevin Martin - Kings 6'6 SG
Kevin Durant - Oklahoma 6'10 SG/SF/PF
Derrick Rose - Bulls 6'3 PG
Greg Oden - Blazers 7'0 C
LaMarcus Aldridge - Blazers 6'11 PF/C
Danny Granger - Pacers 6'8 SG/SF
Demar Derozan - 6'6 SG/SF
Brandon Jennings - 6'1 PG

no, im not a fan of the Blazers but their players will really represent team USA on 2012.

add monta ellis, carlos boozer, david west, al horford, josh smith.

08-26-2008, 09:42 AM
US NBA stars ready to sign up for another run at gold

BEIJING (AFP) — Expect America's multi-millionaire National Basketball Association heroes to continue sacrificing their summers in quest of Olympic gold, even after returning the United States to global supremacy.

Smiles were still locked on the faces of the US NBA superstars after their 118-107 triumph over Spain in Sunday's gold medal game when USA Basketball general manager Jerry Colangelo said half of them were ready to return in 2012.

"We'll celebrate and then we will talk about going forward," Colangelo said. "Five or six of these guys have said they want to be part of us going forward. But now it's time for a rest."

"Hell yeah," answered US forward Carmelo Anthony. "I've been doing this for 40 years."

Anthony, only 24, joined LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as seldom-seen reserves on the 2004 US team that settled for Olympic bronze. Their quest to redeem US honor and restore the once-mighty dynasty drove the US march to gold.

In the wake of that disappointing third-place finish, three US losses in Athens being one more than Americans had suffered at all prior Games combined, a new program was put in place to revive the US dynasty.

USA Basketball asked players for a three-year comittment to keep playing in the NBA off-season, assembling the same talent pool for the 2006 World Championships, 2007 Americas Olympic qualifying and 2008 Olympics.

The payoff was golden. Now James says NBA stars will continue signing on for three-year stints for the chance to uphold American honor starting in London in four years.

"I think so," James said. "It has been a great experience for all 12 of us. Not all 12 of us are going to be together again 2012, but we can tell other guys this is one of the best experiences I ever had in my life.

"This is great. You're playing basketball and you're representing your country. It doesn't get any better than this.

"Winning an NBA championship would never compare to winning a gold medal for my country."

But with a rapidly improving group of global rivals, US players know they can no longer afford to deliver less than their best and expect to win gold.

"It means a lot," US forward Chris Bosh said. "This is what you sacrifice your summers for. We've sacrificed being with our families - been away from home for a long time now."

The core of the US team has had three years of bonding and learning about each other, the international style and its differences from the NBA and the value of reclaiming global supremacy for basketball's birthplace, dominating rivals through an 8-0 Olympic run.

"A two- to three-year program is definitely working," guard Jason Kidd said.

"It's huge to see the maturing of a 19-year-old from 2004 to 2008. You talk about LeBron, you talk about Melo, you talk about the guys that were on that team that lost, they've all matured and they've all gotten better.

"That's a big part when you're playing against different countries because they've been together for a long time and they play together."

US women ran unbeaten to gold as well, beating Australia 92-65 in the final for their fourth consecutive gold medal. The US women went 8-0, stretching their Olympic win streak to 33 and winning by an average of 37.6 points a game.

But the team that captured the hearts of Chinese fans was the US men, NBA stars adored from afar but cheered by sellout crowds in a rare Asian visit that produced memories to last a lifetime.

08-26-2008, 10:44 AM
what if calderon played... ooohh... i wonder.

same here, bat nga ba di ginamit si calderon???

08-26-2008, 01:01 PM
what if calderon played... ooohh... i wonder.

same here, bat nga ba di ginamit si calderon???

"Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo told ESPN’s Chris Sheridan that Jose Calderon is “definitely out” against the United States. "

-Precautionary measure or a severe injury? GM's have nightmares and sleepless nights when their players commit to play in leagues outside the NBA, A perfect example is a fuming Mark Cuban when he knew Dirk will play for Germany.

08-26-2008, 02:14 PM
Looks like the US team have not fully redeemed themselves with that close game against Spain.

Daboy's alley-oop to Gasol was also impressive given the way it came "out of the blue".

08-26-2008, 03:09 PM
what if calderon played... ooohh... i wonder.

same here, bat nga ba di ginamit si calderon???

Groin injury daw. He got it in the game against Croatia.


08-26-2008, 04:29 PM
Looks like the US team have not fully redeemed themselves with that close game against Spain.

Daboy's alley-oop to Gasol was also impressive given the way it came "out of the blue".

I dont think just because the game was close the US team have played below expectations, I think time has come when the world is no longer at awe against the Americans unlike 92 and 96, remember most of them are playing in the NBA already and are familiar with the Americans. Ive read that the US team have accepted the fact that they have to give 100% every game now to acheive victory and thats exactly what they did. Fans around the globe wishing for a repeat of the trashing Dream Team 1 and 2 did to the world will just continue to get disappointed. The world has caught up. The gold medal is enough I guess for redemption.

Howard the Duck
08-26-2008, 11:18 PM
plus team USA trashing everybody makes up a uber boring tourney.

at least the knockout stage was redeemed by that awesome gold medal game
and i thought the bronze medal game would be the one that'll be exciting...

08-27-2008, 10:00 AM

Garcia Reneses quits as Spain basketball coach

Posted: Tuesday August 26, 2008 7:26 AM

MADRID, Spain (AP) -Aito Garcia Reneses has quit as Spain's basketball coach after leading the national team to a silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Garcia Reneses made use of a clause in his contract which allows him to vacate the position after the games, the Spanish basketball federation announced Tuesday.

"I don't want to coach only for two months a year. At present, I prefer to be active throughout the season,'' said Garcia Reneses, who is expected to take over at Spanish club Unicaja.

The 61-year-old coach, who had been in charge for less than three months, made his last appearance on Sunday when the world champions lost 107-118 to the United States in a thrilling Olympic basketball final.

Garcia Reneses, who has nine league trophies and one European Cup on his resume, was the replacement for Jose Vicente "Pepu'' Hernandez.

Hernandez led Spain to its first world championship in 2006 and the final of the European championship last year, but was fired after an acrimonious dispute with the federation.

Howard the Duck
08-27-2008, 03:01 PM
dapat kasi hindi na lang pinalitan si pepu hernandez

09-15-2008, 10:54 AM
^ Ibalik si Pepu!

09-15-2008, 11:55 AM
proposal daw to increase the nmebr of participating teams from 12 to 16 but the roster size will be reduced from 12 to just 10 players

09-15-2008, 12:30 PM
mejo mahirap yung roster size.

i agree with increasing number of participants.