Posts tagged "Brandon Pope"

Syracuse basketball coach doesn’t have an off-season this year

By Pat Boylan and Brandon Pope  |  BSU at the Games

Legendary Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim’s off-season hasn’t been typical. In fact, it hasn’t even been an off-season.

Instead of recruiting and “resting” for the year ahead, Boeheim is hard at work as an assistant coach for USA Basketball at the London Olympic Games.

Late last week we got the chance to go to a Team USA basketball practice and meet up with Boeheim prior to Monday’s final pool play game against Argentina. After a record-breaking, 83-point win over Nigeria, the U.S. struggled vs. heavy-underdog Lithuania, winning just 99-94.

“Sometimes we forget to give credit to the teams we play,” Boeheim said. “They played well. We missed some shots, missed some free throws and didn’t play the kind of defense we have been playing.”

Boehim was refreshingly honest, or at least it seemed. We interviewed nearly all of Team USA – and as expected – answers to a college program weren’t the most in depth. I don’t mean to say they shrugged us off. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised with the responses from most players, and the fact that they took the time.

But Boeheim was different. He gave long, insightful answers. You could tell he’s done this before and knows what the reporters want.

As with any coach, you’re not happy when your team underperforms. There’s no doubt the U.S. did that against Lithuania. But according to Boehim, the close victory could be a blessing in disguise.

“You don’t want to have those games, but you’re going to be in them so you have to know how to win them.”

There’s little doubt Team USA has the best talent of any country. I’ve always had a ton of respect for Coach K and Boeheim. But after just five minutes with the Syracuse coach, I have no doubt in my mind the U.S. has the best coaching staff as well.

Coming off their first test against Lithuania, the USA men’s basketball players were confident heading into their Group A match against Argentina. That confidence paid off, with the Americans topping Manu’s Argentianian squad 126-97.

Team USA knew what they had to do early in order to capitalize. Their bench played a big role in the game.

“We look forward to trying to have an impact in every game,” Andre Iguodola said, a key non-starter for the U.S. “We try to increase the tempo and our energy is always important for us.”

Now the U.S. just needs a similar performance as they head into the semifinals and a rematch with Argentina.

Pat Boylan is a senior telecommunications major and Brandon Pope is a junior telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Pat, Brandon and the BSU team at@patboylanbsu@bpopeizdope@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Daily Video: USA Basketball All-Access

BSU at the Games provides this “behind-the-scenes” look from a recent USA Men’s Basketball Team practice in London. Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Coach K and more visit with our crew.

USA Basketball All-Access

Will Roy Hibbert join Team USA?

By Brandon Pope | BSU at the Games

Roy Hibbert

Team USA hopeful Roy Hibbert | Courtesy Photo

After a slew of injuries, the current Team USA men’s basketball roster includes only one healthy center in Tyson Chandler.

But 7-foot-2 center from the Indiana Pacers, Roy Hibbert, wants to provide the Americans with an assist in the post.

Reports have surfaced that the NBA star wants to play for Team USA, and recent media attention appears to confirm the desire.

In an interview with The Jamaica Gleaner’s Robert Bailey, Jamaica Basketball Association President Ajani Williams said Hibbert has asked to be released from the Jamaican National Team.

Hibbert was born in Queens, N.Y., to a Jamaican father and a Trinidadian mother, and he made his first appearance with the Jamaican national team in 2008.

Hibbert is making the switch “in order to become eligible to play for the United States in this Summer’s Olympic Games.”

But making such a switch won’t be an easy process for the 25-year-old all-star.

In the way of Hibbert joining Team USA are compliance issues between USA Basketball and the world governing body FIBA. Both sides must work things out before Hibbert can join the team at training camp in Las Vegas starting July 6.

“Our simple response was that we can’t just handle this matter from JaBA to the player or from JaBA to the agent, and so on, it has to be from JaBA to the USA Basketball Federation,” Williams said to The Jamaica Gleaner. “The United States Federation would need to write us and state that they want this player, and at that point JaBA can speak directly to the federation and FIBA, based on the player transferring from one national team to another.”

However, the Jamaicans aren’t too fond of the idea of letting the young  star go. Hibbert is undoubtedly the squad’s best player. Losing him to the Americans would be a major blow to Jamaica’s team.

“JaBA just can’t just release him because there was a cost that goes into getting Roy Hibbert. We paid a lot of money for NBA insurance for him,” Williams said. “We also did a lot of things around him, and so there are going to be several considerations before JaBA releases him.”

Hibbert and the Pacers return to action tonight in the NBA Playoffs vs. Miami. Game 6 tip is at 7 p.m. in Indianapolis.

Brandon Pope is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering fencing, volleyball and basketball for BSU at the Games. Follow Brandon and the BSU team at @bpopeizdope@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

 

Star athletes prove down to earth

Olympic athletes are pretty nice people. Seriously! They are.

With all the well-deserved fame and media attention these athletes get, one would think it would get to their heads at some point. But I haven’t detected one small sign of an ego. All of these athletes are outstanding on the field. But they’re even better people.

A lot of them aren’t much different than we are as students. In fact, a lot of Olympic athletes are students.

Alexander Massialas is a member of the U.S Fencing National Team. He’s 18 years old. Like me, he enjoys basketball a lot. We share a favorite videogame in NBA 2K12. Massialas is also a big Zion I fan. Safe to say he knows good hip-hop when he hears it.

April Ross is a member of the U.S. beach volleyball team. Her favorite hobby is mini-golf. I happen to be quite the Putt-Putt enthusiast myself.

And my man Phil Dalhausser, another beach volleyball player, loves women in bikinis. Me too.

The point I’m trying to make here is that there’s not a lot that separates us, and that makes the Olympic coverage all the sweeter. We listen to the same music, play the same games, and watch the same movies and TV shows. And while what we do for a living may be different, our goal in the end is the same. To do our best, be our best and aspire for higher.

I’ll never forget the connections I’ve made with these athletes. It personalizes the London Games for us. I’ll be sure to root them on as they represent our country this summer.

Brandon Pope  |  Sports Reporter

@bpopeizdope

Quick hits from USA Women’s Basketball press conference

By Brandon Pope | BSU at the Games

Coach Geno Auriemma and May Moore discuss the Women's Basketball team's chances for gold at the summer games.

Youth movement

With five newcomers on this year’s national team, USA Women’s Basketball Head Coach Geno Auriemma had to orientate a new bunch of young Olympians in Friday’s Training Camp in Seattle.

“In three days I think we’ve accomplished a little bit,” Auriemma said. “We’ve learned a little bit too. We got our philosophy out there.”

The team had its first scrimmage on Saturday. Auriemma expects the intensity to pick up as the days draw closer to preliminary competition.

Geno’s crew  

Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore will be competing in her first Olympic Games in London. She joins six other former University Of Connecticut Huskies.

Moore, the youngest player on the roster, says being on the National Team is “a dream come true.”

“I think if you look at the roster top to bottom, it’s unmatched,” Moore said. “It’s all the players I grew up with: Taurasi, Catchings, Sue Bird … players like that. It’s really a dream come true.”

As an Olympic newbie, Moore has stepped back and watched the veterans guide the team, learning the ways of top world competitors.

“I try to take it all in. I’ve got some great players to learn from,” Moore said. “And when my number is called and Coach Auriemma puts me in, I want to make sure I’m bringing energy and doing all the little things necessary to win games.”

Where’s Britney Griner? 

Baylor basketball star Britney Griner has been all over the national headlines. She dominated opponents with her tremendous size and athleticism. Her college basketball career concluded with a national championship win with the Baylor Bears. But the nation’s leading rebounder and shot blocker is nowhere to be found on the 2012 Olympic roster. Auriemma said it was Griner’s decision not to be a finalist.

“She was part of the group we were going from, but she took herself out of the pool and asked not to remain eligible to be selected for the Olympic team,” Auriemma said. “It’s unfortunate for Britney, but at the same time this team is an incredible team that not enough people  know about or pay attention to.”

Had Griner not taken herself out of consideration, Auriemma says her chances were “pretty good.”

Brandon Pope is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering fencing, volleyball and basketball for BSU at the Games. Follow Brandon and the BSU team at @bpopeizdope@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Dwyane Wade undecided about playing in Games

By Brandon Pope | BSU at the Games

In a year when injury concerns and offseason surgeries are shaking up Team USA’s Olympic roster, another integral player may be missing come tip-off time in July. According to NBA.com, Dwyane Wade has mixed feelings on playing in the 2012 London Games. The Miami Heat guard cites his health as the reason for his indecision.

“I’m just going to see how I feel,” Wade said. “This is about being healthy—I think, for all of us, going into the summer healthy—and taking it from there.”

At 30 years old, Wade has reason to be concerned about wear and tear on his body.  The all-star guard has dealt with several minor injuries during his last two seasons in the NBA. Wade has been a member of the last two USA National Teams, winning gold in 2008 and bronze in 2004.

USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo believes the team will be prepared if Wade decides to sit out for the Games.

“You could, today, probably come up with 10 or 11 that look pretty solid unless something happens,” he said. “Wade’s one of those guys, but if he feels like he doesn’t have anything left or doesn’t think he can go, then we’ll make a decision as to who replaces him. We do have a lot of flexibility because we have guys who can play so many positions.”

Wade’s uncertainty is more bad news for Team USA, which has already seen Lamarcus Aldridge, Chauncey Billups, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love,  Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose crossed off the roster due to serious injuries this season. Lakers Center Andrew Bynum will also be missing the Olympic Games, opting to have offseason knee surgery in Germany.

“We’re going to have to have guys step up,” LeBron James said last week. “Dwight is a big part of our team. We was looking forward to having D-Rose on our team at the point guard. So we’re going to have to have guys step up in training camp and relish the opportunity.”

The U.S. will still have plenty of talent left. Recently, University of Kentucky Forward Anthony Davis and Oklahoma City Thunder Guard James Harden were added to the finalists’ roster.  The Americans will still have some of the best players in the world in Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Kevin Durant on their squad. Carmelo Anthony and Russel Westbrook will also load those wing spots.

Colangelo remains confident that Team USA can claim gold in London this summer, despite all the injuries.

“When we went to Beijing, we had one gold medal winner in the room, and that was Jason Kidd,” he said Sunday. “Now, we have, what? Eight or nine from the two teams? And it’s not like we’re starting from scratch. They’re all indoctrinated. They all know what to expect.”

The final 12-man roster for the USA Men’s Basketball National Team is expected to be announced on July 7 or 8.

Brandon Pope is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering fencing, volleyball and basketball for BSU at the Games. Follow Brandon and the BSU team at @bpopeizdope@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Quick hits from USA Men’s Basketball press conference

By Brandon Pope | BSU at the Games

The roster deadline

USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo confirmed the final 12-man roster for USA Men’s Basketball will be named on July 7, a day after the National Team holds its training camp in Las Vegas, Nev. The United States Olympic Committee extended the deadline after injuries eliminated four finalists from consideration.

“We know exactly where we want to be,” Colangelo said. “But we need to take inventory of what status our players have.”

Anthony Davis and James Harden added to Olympic roster

Colangelo confirmed the additions of University of Kentucky forward Anthony Davis and Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden to the 2012 Olympic Finalists roster. Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski thinks if Davis makes the cut he will bring a defensive presence to the team.

“Davis is a very unique player,” Krzyzewski  said. “He can help us defensively because of his shot-blocking ability. He doesn’t need the ball. We want someone who can run, and he’s an outstanding athlete.”

Davis’ promotion to the team is a bit controversial. The NCAA National Champion athlete has yet to play a game as a professional. He is projected to be taken No.1 overall in this year’s NBA Draft.

When asked about a potential new rule that would set a 23-and-under age limit for Olympic basketball competition after London, Colangelo dodged the question.

“There’s a time and place for that discussion,” Colangelo said.

If the rule were in effect now, it wouldn’t just be Davis who would miss the cut. Of the 18 remaining men’s basketball finalists, only seven would qualify.

“The big guys” 

Coach K said the biggest concern for Team USA in the 2012 Olympic Games would be “the big guys”.

“We’re not deep in that part of the pool,” Krzyzewski said.

The Americans will be thin inside with Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum missing the Games.

Howard had season-ending surgery on his back and won’t be ready for London. Bynum won’t be making the trip either, opting to have off-season knee surgery in Germany. It’s the same knee surgery his Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant had last summer.

Spain

Team USA’s lack of a post presence could be exposed against Spain. The Spaniards are loaded inside with Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers and Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka will play a dynamic role off the bench.

“Spain would be a concern whether we had all of our big men,” Krzyzewski said. “But there are a lot of ways to play the game, and what we did in 2008 and ’10 is try to personalize what we do for the group we have. Hopefully, our personalization is better than theirs.”

Brandon Pope is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering fencing, volleyball and basketball for BSU at the Games. Follow Brandon and the BSU team at @bpopeizdope@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Summer Games: maybe Coach K’s last

By Brandon Pope | BSU at the Games

USA Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Monday that the 2012 Olympic Games in London will “probably” be his last.

Coach Krzyzewski speaks to media at the 2012 Team USA Media Summit in Dallas.

The 65-year-old coach made the announcement at the United States Olympic Committee’s Team USA Media Summit in Dallas, Tex. USA Men’s Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo sat by his side as he uttered the news.

“I think this is the last time,” Krzyzewski said. “I hope we can win the gold medal.”

The legendary basketball coach says he still wants to be involved with the USA Basketball program in some capacity, but you won’t be seeing him on the sidelines calling plays.

“I’ll always be a part of the program and want to be a part of the program,” he said. “(Jerry Colangelo) has been the architect of something that our country needed in developing a culture and we’ll see what type of continuity we have.”

Krzyzewski doesn’t believe his departure will have as much of an impact on the National Team as another USA Basketball leader’s will.

“The biggest loss that we would have is whenever Jerry (Colangelo) steps down. His vision for this has been spectacular.”

Colangelo says he’s leaning toward coming back to USA Basketball after the 2012 Games.

Krzyzewski has been a prominent figure in the United States for international basketball throughout his career. Since taking the position in 2005, ‘”Coach K” has comprised an overall record of 36-1 in international competition. He is credited with reestablishing the U.S. National Team to the forefront of international basketball, seizing gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Brandon Pope is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering fencing, volleyball and basketball for BSU at the Games. Follow Brandon and the BSU team at @bpopeizdope@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Pressure + time = diamonds

Sat down with Alexander Massialas of USA Fencing. We talked about what it’s like to be a young Olympian. He walked me through his daily routine, which consists of fencing two to three hours a day, every day. And it shows. Since he only uses one arm for fencing, his right arm is bigger than his left.  It’s also longer.  Noticeably longer. Don’t believe me?  Check out the picture.

Alexander is a guy I could really connect with. We both share a favorite band in hip-hop duo Zion I and  love basketball, and his favorite videogame is NBA 2k12.

Another thing the men’s foil champion said that stuck with me was that “pressure separates the good from the great.”

I couldn’t agree more. As the days roll by and the Olympic Games get closer, the pressure rises. How we as a team handle that pressure will show in the quality and quantity of our work.

 

 Brandon Pope  |  Sports Reporter

@bpopeizdope

Team USA adds Davis and Harden as finalists

Davis-Harden

Anthony Davis (top) and James Harden (bottom) have been added as Team USA finalists. | Courtesy Photo

By Brandon Pope | BSU at the Games

A major shake-up occurred with the Team USA men’s basketball roster this week.

Anthony Davis, who is coming off an NCAA Championship with the University of Kentucky Wildcats, and Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden have been added to the list of finalists for the 2012 USA Basketball National Team.

“After a lot of deliberations, after reviewing our roster, we think these two additions strengthen our National Team program immeasurably,” USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo said.

“James Harden probably is the sixth man of the year in the NBA, and Anthony Davis brings a dimension to our pool we don’t have. He’s young, but it’s exciting to think about the possibilities.”

Anthony Davis has represented USA Basketball before.

As a high school senior, he was selected as a member of USA Basketball’s Junior National Select Team, which competed at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit.  Davis finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots to help the U.S. to a 92-80 win over the World Select Team.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be this young and have a chance to represent my country,” Davis said. “This is a great opportunity. I’m excited to be a part of something like this.”

James Harden becomes the third member of the Oklahoma City Thunder named to the finalist’s roster. In just three years in the NBA, he’s already emerged as one of the league’s top players. If Harden makes the final 12, it will be his first time representing the U.S. abroad.

“Being named as a finalist for the USA Basketball National Team is an unbelievable feeling and an opportunity that is truly humbling,” Harden said. “It is an honor to be included with such talented players and I look forward to the chance to represent my country this summer.”

The additions come after news many of the original U.S. National Team finalists will not be able to make the trip to London.

Most recently, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose suffered a torn ACL in the NBA playoffs, ending his season and eliminating him from Olympic contention.

Shortly before, two key big men were also ruled out for the Games.

Orlando magic center Dwight Howard underwent back surgery to repair a herniated disk. Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum opted to skip the 2012 Olympic Games to undergo the same off-season knee surgery his teammate Kobe Bryant did last summer in Germany.

The National Team’s injury woes began with Portland Trailblazers forward Lamarcus Aldridge’s hip injury in early April. He won’t be ready for international competition either.

Harden and Davis will begin their push to make the final 12 on July 6 at the team’s training camp in Las Vegas. The official 12-man U.S. Olympic roster will be announced shortly after.

Brandon Pope is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering fencing, volleyball and basketball for BSU at the Games. Follow Brandon and the BSU team at @bpopeizdope@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.