The real dog days of summer are here, and that can only mean one thing to hoopheads – international basketball. Yes, we know that you’ve all missed the trapezoidal lane and goofy emblazoned unitards preferred by our international friends. Harkening back to the days of our youth when we trotted amateurs out there and still actually won these events, we should take solace in the knowledge that, even though the world has indeed caught us in team basketball, we still own the patent on And1-style showmanship. If only there was an international competition that allows four steps after picking up your dribble followed by random acts of dancing with the crowd.
A Team USA Led by S2ML Could Win This Competition
The Senior Men’s National Team will get most of the hype this summer (will Kobe play? will Team USA qualify for the Beijing Olympics?), but there are two other international teams filled with collegians that we’re keeping an eye on – the Pan Am team and the Under-19 World Championships team (see rosters below).
Pan Am Team USA Roster
The Pan Am team (coached by Villanova’s Jay Wright) begins play in Rio de Janeiro on July 25, and at least half of the roster is filled with players who will be NCAA All-Americans next season. What’s most interesting about this roster is the names of some of the players who were left off the squad. Preseason first-teamer Chris Lofton apparently counterbalanced global warming all by himself as he froze up the gym with his shooting stroke during the trials and was left home, as were Kansas guards Sherron Collins and Mario Chalmers and Duke sharpshooter Jon Scheyer. It was also peculiar that Wisky’s Brian Butch was left off the team, as it leaves Roy Hibbert as the only true center available – let’s hope he stays out of foul trouble. Jay Wright realizes that the four-guard offense that he employed at Villanova was out of necessity, yes? Nobody asked us, but this team seems heavy on shooters and wings and extremely light in the middle. That’s probably not a strong recipe to win in international competition against stronger, older and more experienced players. We’ll see…
Seth Davis gave his insights after watching the trials here.
Under-19 World Championships Roster
The Under-19 Worlds team, coached by the Undertaker, has already won its first five games in pool play heading into a showdown with 4-1 France tomorrow. K-State’s incoming freshman Michael Beasley (14 ppg; 6 rpg; 70% fg in only 17 mpg) and Davidson guard Stephen Curry (11 ppg; 3 apg; 61% fg) have led a balanced attack for the high-scoring (99 ppg) American squad. Arkansas guard Patrick Beverly is the only Team USA member earning more than 25 mpg thus far, while Donte’ Green and Damian Hollis appear to be the only two Americans not getting substantial minutes. From what we’ve seen so far, it appears that Beverly, David Lighty and Deon Thompson are poised for breakout years at their respective schools, while Big 12 fans should just hang on for the one-year ride watching Beasley and DeAndre Jordan perform. The eight-team medal round begins on Friday in lovely (especially as compared to Rio) Novi Sad, Serbia.
We’ll be checking back in periodically with these teams to see how they finish in their respective competitions and, more importantly, whether any particular player(s) shows what to expect next season.