menu close twitter facebook snapchat instagram youtube article basketball gallery graph left-arrow right-arrow search star trophy video net clipboard shield-check shield-star stopwatch filter reset Share
Kyrie Irving

Men's National Team Sets the Tone On Day 1 At Training Camp

  • Author:
    Taylor Bern
  • Date:
    Jul 28, 2014

Las Vegas, Nevada

Additional Day 1 Quotes

Day 1 Photo Gallery

If the final scrimmage of Monday’s practice is any indication, it’s going to be a highly competitive and entertaining training camp for the USA Men’s National Team.


The team started its month-long march towards the FIBA Basketball World Cup on Monday at the Mendenhall Center on UNLV’s campus. Between the National and Select teams there were 31 of the country’s best players spread out between two courts, and for players with previous USA Basketball experience it was a chance to reintroduce themselves to the foundation built by head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff.

“I learn so much and I soak it all in,” said two-time Ggold-medal winner Kevin Durant. “It’s an exciting time.”

The practices in Las Vegas culminate with an intrasquad scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 1, at the Thomas & Mack Center. Then on Aug. 14-16 the team continues its training camp in Chicago.

Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau ran a majority of the first practice on one court. It started out with a lot of walk-throughs and some specific plays but it didn’t take long to get the group starting to resemble teammates.

“It’s not going to happen in one day,” Thibodeau said, “but when you have the type of talent that we do, if you get them committed to playing basketball on both sides as a five-man group that’s your best chance for success.”

The National Team went 2-0 in a pair of 12-minute scrimmages against the Select Team, although both were close and each required a comeback. In the final scrimmage, the teams were split up more evenly for one 10-minute game. The result was an exciting back-and-forth affair that went down to the wire. The Blue Team, featuring Durant, James Harden and Paul George, among others, held on for a three-point victory.

It was only one day — and an admittedly light one at that — but the highlights are already piling up. From Andre Drummond’s rejection at the rim to Kyrie Irving’s drive with a finesse finish, the competition figures to only pick up from here.

There’s a lot for the coaching staff to figure out as training camp pushes forward. One thing they know for sure, though, is that they have plenty of options.

“We have great versatility,” Thibodeau said. “We’ll find our style.”

Familiar Faces
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook announced earlier this month that he wouldn’t chase a third gold medal on the Men’s National Team. That didn’t mean he was going to stay away from training camp, though.

Westbrook dropped by Mendenhall for the majority of Monday’s practice, catching up with National Team managing director Jerry Colangelo, Krzyzewski and assistant coach Jim Boeheim, and also spending a lot of time on the bench with the current players. Westbrook even carved out some time for an old teammate, new New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher, and when he decided Durant had put in enough media time, Westbrook politely called for one last question before pulling his friend and Thunder teammate out to the court for more shots.

Including Westbrook, the first practice brought out a lot of basketball luminaries. It was also irresistible for a local like Chase Jeter, a high school senior-to-be who earlier this summer won a gold medal for the USA at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Flight School
While many players cleared themselves for takeoff towards the rim at Monday’s practice, upstairs a trio of fighter pilots who do that for real looked on.

USA Basketball extended a practice invite to United States Air Force pilots at Nellis Air Force Base, which is located about a half hour northeast of the UNLV campus. Three pilots, all members of the USAF’s elite Weapons School, and their families were able to stop by. While their kids ran around bouncing basketballs and playing hide-and-seek, Colonel Adrian Spain was watching the court and noticing a parallel between the USA team and the Weapons School, which takes already elite pilots and puts them through rigorous training.

Related Videos

On Sept. 25 at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Vince Carter slammed what likely was the most famous dunk of his career.

Twenty years after the 1992 USA Basketball Dream Team made its indelible impact on international basketball at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, USA Basketball’s 2012 Men’s National Team, wearing 1992 USA Basketball throwback jerseys, returned to the hardwood in Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, Spain and battled to a hard-fought 86-80 win over Argentina.

USA co-captain Allen Iverson had never hit a game winning shot in his illustrious playing career until he did so on Aug. 4, 2004. With time about to run out, he dribbled across mid-court and launched a game-winning 40-foot 3-pointer to lift the USA National Team to an 80-77 victory over Germany in front of a sold-out Kolnarena crowd numbering 18,000. The Iverson answer was a fitting end to a game that was tight the entire way and one in which NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki almost single-handedly kept his country within striking distance. Nowitzki finished the night with a game-best 32 points on 13-for-23 shooting overall, while adding 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.

The USA National Team handed the USA Select Team a 111-74 loss in an action filled contest at the University of Hawaii Stan Sheriff Center in front of 8,980 fans. Leading by only 10 points at the half after the select team's Jason Richardson poured in 19 first half points, the USA National Team behind a game high 24 points (10-10 FGs) from Vince Carter dominated the second half with its high-octane running game and posted a 111-74 victory.

The U.S. 22-and-under team, made up of college all-stars and coached by
Stanford's Mike Montgomery, led by 17 points at the half and nearly upset
the Men's Olympic Dream Team in the first exhibition game before the
Summer Games in Atlanta. 22-and-under team featured Paul Pierce,
Chauncey Billups, Tim Duncan.

Related Content

The Los Angeles Lakers claimed the 2020 NBA Championship and did so with a roster filled with players possessing USA Basketball experience.

Four-time gold medalist Charles Barkley tallied a 37-2 record during a USA Basketball career that spanned 14 years.

Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski’s USA Basketball career has spanned 38 years and included 12 gold medals.

2017 AmeriCup Team

Tags

Montevideo, Uruguay and Córdoba, Argentina • August 25-September 3, 2017 It had been 10 years since the United States last competed in its zone championship. While the format of the competition was different and the official name of the Americas Championship had been altered to the FIBA...

On Sept. 25 at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Vince Carter slammed what likely was the most famous dunk of his career.

Coach Licensing & Organization Accreditation Login



Forgot Password?