[private]Team USA began it's quest for the Gold Medal today by choking China with it's defense on there way to a 101-70 win. Of course, all Duke fans are paying more than a little attention to the games and we will continue to cover the games.
Coach K- It was an honor for us to be in this game. I thought the Chinese team and our team both played extremely hard. I was proud of our effort. I thought that the attention we gave Yao early, he made some really good plays to get his teammates involved. And they hit 3’s. More than half their points in the first half were from 3’s. We were like 1-for-12 … I think we ended up 1-for-15 before we starting hitting some 3’s. I was proud of our guys. I would hope that their coach would be proud of their kids. I thought both teams really responded at a high level to the magnitude of this game.
Team USA coasts to win--Tight Defense stymies China's Bigs--A.P. Recap--Box Score
So, what was the pre game like?--USA savors experience--Silk Road-Tobbaco Road?[/private]
Starting off with AAU Basketball and Las Vegas, Kenny Boynton and Brandon Knight have scored 33/26, 21/24, and 26/19, respectively over the past three days. The two have combined to make 17 three point shots. Jody Demling has an extensive update from Las Vegas posted on his blog at the Louisville Courier-Journal.
The Las Vegas Review Journal has written a positive article on the ability of lesser known athletes to achieve exposure via the AAU circuit. Adam Zagoria and Dick Weiss also have updates on their blogs.
Turning to Duke football and Desmond Scott on his decision to play for Duke University: "I wanted to play in my backyard." WRAL.com has more here.
Finally, here is Coach K with more thoughts on USA Basketball.
When Kobe Bryant mentions the "joy of the game," you get an idea of what Coach K has done to make sure the players are enjoying themselves in preparation for the Olympics. Most of the players remember little of the last time the USA won Gold.
In this blurb, the author says Team USA has that special something that is missing from most NBA teams. There is some worry about the overall team health. And here is CNNSI's Chris Ballard on long range planning for the USA Basketball program.
Kenny Boynton has no shortage of confidence judging from his comments in this link.
With kickoff to football season just over a month away, Coach Cutcliffe caught the attention of coaches on Wednesday's Operation Football. Here is ESPN's Heather Dinich on Duke's "Catch 22." Richmond edged out James Madison in the pre season polls which is a departure from the pre season magazines which all have JMU on top. TSN picks them #2 in the nation, Lindy's #3 and Phil Steele has them number one.
Team USA fell to host Argentina, 77-64, in the championship game at the FIBA Americas U18 tournament in Formoso, Argentina. UConn incoming freshman Kemba Walker scored 21 points in the defeat and was named the tournament Most Valuable Player.
Argentina used two big runs to secure the victory: 14-2 in the first quarter and 11-0 in the third. USA Coach Bob McKillop described the environment as hostile and credited the Argentina team with being very talented and deserving champions. He said the experience will assist the players in their upcoming college careers.
In July 2009, the U19 World Championship will be held in New Zealand and the USA will have the opportunity for redemption against Argentina and other top international teams.
The FIBA U18 Americas Championship kicks off today in Formosa, Argentina. The USA is in Group B and plays Venezuela in their first game followed by the Bahamas on Tuesday and Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Duke recruit Mason Plumlee is on the roster and will gain valuable experience over the next week. The tournament's official website is here.
This USA Basketball article is an interesting and slightly funny account of the team's travel to South America for the tournament. The Asheville Citizen-Times has two articles posted on Mason Plumlee here and here. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has an article posted on UNC commit Leslie McDonald.
This Mike DeCourcy article is over a week old but it is a nice read about point guard Kemba Walker who will be the floor general for Coach McKillop. If the USA is going to challenge for the Gold, Walker is going to have to put in a strong performance.
Blue Devil Nation will keep you updated with links to all the action from Formosa so check back and follow the progress of Team USA.
USA 82 - Venezuela 73: Box Score and game summary.
USA 115 - Bahamas 51: Box Score and game summary.
USA 106 - Puerto Rico 64: Box Score and game summary.
USA 82 - Canada 66: Box Score and game summary.
Argentina 77 - USA 64: Box Score and game summary.