Players, Coaches Set for USA Basketball Showcase
July 25, 2013 • Las Vegas, Nevada
Although the USA Basketball Men’s National Team won’t be facing international competition for another 13 months, USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski described Wednesday’s final mini-camp practice as similar to a day before a medal-round game.
Twenty-five of the 28 players will conclude the four-day camp this evening at 6:00 p.m. PDT at the Thomas & Mack Center during the USA Basketball Showcase, a Blue-White intra-squad scrimmage. The game is being televised live on NBA TV.
“The camp has been terrific,” Krzyzewski said Wednesday. “These guys have unbelievable attitude, work ethic. The coaches had a chance to work with them, and I think they’ll be fresh, excited, and it’ll be an exciting game.”
The scrimmage will consist of four 12-minute quarters and will be played primarily using FIBA rules. As far as offenses the teams will run, the players aren’t anticipating that they’ll be incorporating many sets into the scrimmage that they’ve been learning from the practice sessions.
“It starts in a structure,” Cleveland Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller said, “and then you just kind of play motion from there. That's the way most NBA plays usually are. We have a few plays that are universally run across the league, so we run those and kind of stick to those.”
If anyone assumes the players aren’t taking the intra-squad game seriously, they should think again.
“I'm definitely going to try and establish my mark defensively, guarding multiple positions and showing that I can guard multiple positions,” Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes said.
Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried added, “I know I'm on the radar now. I'm hoping to show that I can really compete for the gold next year at the World Cup. I just have to showcase my talent, and I'm hoping next summer I'm going to be able to showcase it again and hopefully put the USA jersey on.”
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo is eager to see how the athletes perform in the scrimmage, noting that some players shine most during the biggest moments while others often struggle.
“First of all, practice is practice and a game is a game,” Colangelo stated. “Some guys rise to the occasion. Some are better under the spotlight, others, maybe not.”
One player that looks to have a productive outing is Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe. The former Georgetown product realizes the type of impression he can leave if he is able to put together a strong game.
“It would mean a lot,” Monroe said. “This is something that is a great opportunity. I'm very grateful for it, thankful for it, so just to be a part of this organization is great.”
Colangelo said the top thing he will be paying attention to this evening is how the players compete. If the three days of practice are any indication toward his outlook, then expect tonight’s game to live up to all its hype.
“Just how they compete against one another,” Colangelo said. “I think that’s what we’re looking for, and I think it will be very competitive because this is a good group of young men.”