USA Men Show Positives In Intrasquad Game
Tulsa, Okla. • Oct. 21, 2011
It's been exactly one week since 21 NBA Development League players first gathered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the USA Men's Pan American Games Team training camp, and the official 12-man USA squad conducted an intrasquad scrimmage Friday night at the Tulsa Convention Center.
In the end, it was the USA Blue team that squeaked out a 66-63 victory, but who won wasn't much of a priority or too important as the USA coaching staff changed players around some to get different looks.
This scrimmage was all about getting a little more prepared for the 2011 Pan American Games that will feature eight national teams in the men's basketball competiton that will take place Oct. 26-30 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The two teams, featuring six players on each side, played four seven minute quarters, and all together the U.S. recorded 25 assists and 13 steals, while shooting 58.1 percent (54-93) overall from the floor and 42.1 percent (8-19) from 3-point.
"I thought Brian Butch was really good early. I thought Leo Lyons was solid. I thought overall we had some good performances across the board," remarked USA and Tulsa 66ers head mentor Nate Tibbetts about the intrasquad game.
For the record, Lyons (Austin Toros) led all of the USA players with 19 points on 6-8 shooting from the field. Lance Thomas (Austin Toros) made 7-9 shots and scored 14 points, while Brian Butch (Bakersfield Jam) posted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.The scrimmage also saw Gregory Stiemsma (Sioux Falls Skyforce), Renaldo Major (Dakota Wizards), Jerome Dyson (Tulsa 66ers) add 11 points each, and Moses Ehambe (Iowa Energy), Justin Denton (Texas Legends) and Donald Sloan (Reno Bighorns) tossed in 10 apiece.
"I think it was great for our guys," Tibbetts stated afterwards. "We've been practicing, practicing against each other and that can be a grind so it was good just for them to turn the lights on and let some people see what we could do. I though overall offensively we did a pretty good job of sharing the basketball, I think we had 25 or 26 assists. Defensively our effort can be better, mostly you can get some clips video wise to show our guys positives and negatives.
There were plenty of positives that could be taken from the scrimmage. Tibbetts pointed to "how we played in transition. If we can get stops, we can get out and go to the rim. Donald Sloan and Jerome Dyson are unbelievable in transition, getting to the rim and that's our strength and we've got to allow them to do that and when we get stops that can happen."
There were also things that still need work. "I think just trust defensively, I think that's a big thing. And then also offensive excution because we're going to get into some half court situations and we've got to be able to run some things to give teams different looks," Tibbetts stated.
The American squad will continue its training Saturday with two sessions and on Sunday travel to Guadalajara. The men's competition gets underway Oct. 26 and the USA will face the Dominican Republic in its preliminary round opener.