Thursday, September 30, 2010

With gold medal around his neck, Kevin Love plans to quit pouting, become leader for Wolves

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

With gold medal around his neck, Kevin Love plans to quit pouting, become leader for Wolves
By Jon Krawczynski (CP) – 2 hours ago Sept 30 2010
Canadian Press

MANKATO, Minn. — Kevin Love simmered for most of last season, frustrated with his role as a sixth man on one of the worst teams in the NBA.

The minutes and the starts weren't coming as fast as he wanted them to, which led to some pouting and complaining as the Minnesota Timberwolves limped to a 15-67 finish.

One would think that making Team USA for a trip to Turkey to compete in the world championships would only underscore his position, give him more ammunition to show the Wolves coaches that they were wrong about him.

In the end, it appears that winning the gold medal — and playing alongside stars like Kevin Durant, Chauncey Billups and Lamar Odom — changed his entire outlook and showed him just what it takes to be successful at basketball's highest level.

"Just having that positive energy," Love said. "Last year, I stepped away from that. I was, I guess the word is (whining) that I wasn't starting and getting less minutes.

"With this year there's really no excuse. It's different than the last couple years because now we really have a young team and we really need to start building from here. Because if we can't do that, there's really no purpose."

Love is entering his third year with the Timberwolves, which makes him the second-longest tenured Minnesota player. He averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds in just under 29 minutes last season after missing the first two months with a hand injury. But he only started 22 of the 60 games he played.

Coach Kurt Rambis liked his production off the bench to bolster the second unit, and he also wanted to teach the youngster lessons about responsibility and professionalism.

It took a trip across the world for him to see where Rambis was coming from.

Love was a valuable reserve on Team USA, providing rebounding and hustle off the bench.

"It was a great experience for him," said Timberwolves assistant GM Tony Ronzone, who was also on the Team USA staff. "He learned that it's not what's on the back of your jersey, it's what's on the front. He learned to come off the bench. He learned to play his role and he learned to accept it."

The Timberwolves are already reaping the benefits.

"He's been great," Rambis said. "His just overall professionalism has gone up 10 notches. He's playing hard all the time. He's doing the right things, leading by example."

Love turned 22 just a few weeks ago, and had never been surrounded by veteran leaders until this summer with the national team.

"I think there's certain things when you're on your own that you can get away with," Wolves assistant J.B. Bickerstaff said. "But when your amongst the best, everybody holds themselves to a different standard, a higher standard. You see those things and you see right from wrong every day and that makes a difference on you. I think that's had a big impact on Kevin."

If Love can emerge as a leader on the court and in the locker room, the Timberwolves would welcome it. Minnesota has the youngest roster in the league, one where 29-year-old point guard Luke Ridnour is asked what it was like to play with Bill Russell.

If any team can have a 22-year-old take hold of the reins, it's the Timberwolves.

"It's an awesome responsibility to be a leader. Not only do you have to lead by voice, but you have to lead by example and you've got to always be one of those guys that is up and positive and doing and saying the right things all the time," Rambis said. "Those are the kind of people that teammates follow. ... He is headed in that direction. That experience with the USA team really helped him. That professionalism goes a long way not only for the team, but the individual."

Love would appear to have the inside track on starting at power forward this season, though newly added Michael Beasley is in the mix.

It's clear that Love still very much wants to be a starter, but he plans on being a little more flexible this time around.

"I'd probably grit my teeth," Love said of coming off the bench. "But I need to know what's best for the team. If I'm going to preach being a leader, I need to do what's best for us to win."

Copyright © 2010 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

DraftExpress: On Reeves Nelson

DraftExpress: On Reeves Nelson

#9 Reeves Nelson, 6-8, Sophomore, Power Forward, UCLA
11.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, .4 assists, 1.7 turnovers, 65% FG, 52% FT

By Walker Beeken
Sept 23 2010

Sophomore forward Reeves Nelson will look to help UCLA rebound from an abysmal 2009-2010 season in which the Bruins finished with a 13-17 record and missed the postseason for the first time since coach Ben Howland's first season at UCLA in 2003-2004. After a solid freshman season as one of the team's lone bright spots, Nelson will need to continue to develop his game to help the Bruins improve and to get himself on the radar of NBA scouts.

From a physical standpoint, Nelson is far from the ideal NBA power forward prospect. He's a bit undersized at 6'8”, and his strong, bulky frame could use some tightening up. He does have quick feet and a decent first step for a guy his size, but he's primarily a below-the-rim player with limited elevation and explosiveness.

On the offensive end, Nelson combines a nice blend of power and a knack of how to finish around the rim, which contributed to him shooting an outstanding 64.7% from the field last season. His strong body and aggressive mentality help him to get position around the basket, and his scoring instincts enable him to finish, despite his lack of physical tools. He's comfortable playing with his back to the basket and can also face up and put the ball on the floor and finish with either hand going either direction. Nelson has to potential to be a force offensively around the basket at the college level, but this success may not translate well against longer, more athletic, defenders in the NBA.

Nelson's shooting is an area where he could use quite a bit of work. He shot a very poor 52% from the free throw line as a freshman, and he didn't show any flashes of being able to knock down a mid-range jump shot, with most all of his field goal attempts coming in the basket area. Developing a reliable jump shot from about fifteen feet would help him tremendously to become a more well-rounded offensive threat.

Defensively, Nelson displays good energy and intensity, as he's clearly an extremely tough player, and plays for an excellent defensive coach in Ben Howland, but he may lack the physical attributes needed to have great success defending at the NBA level. Tightening up his body may help some, but his lack of length and lateral quickness will certainly be an issue. Nelson's rebounding numbers were solid last season but not spectacular (9.9 rebounds per forty minutes pace adjusted). Really focusing on attacking the glass would give him another area to hang his hat on.

Overall, Nelson still has quite a bit of work to do before having his name come up in draft discussions. His toughness, aggressiveness and scoring instincts around the basket give him a base to build on, but he'll probably need to develop a mid-range jump shot and work on improving his body and athleticism to become a realistic NBA prospect. Fortunately, he still has three seasons remaining at UCLA to shore up his weaknesses and work on his game.

DraftExpress: On Tyler Honeycutt

Photo: Daily Bruin

DraftExpress: On Tyler Honeycutt

#1 Tyler Honeycutt, 6-8, Sophomore, Small Forward, UCLA
7.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.4 turnovers, 1.5 steals, 1.2 blocks, 50% FG, 60% FT, 35% 3P

By Jonathan Givony
Sept 20 2010

Starting off his freshman campaign slowly due to a spinal stress fracture followed by a stress reaction in his right tibia, Tyler Honeycutt nevertheless managed to bounce back and string together a very interesting freshman season for an underachieving UCLA squad.

Showing excellent size for a small forward at 6-8, to go along with a nice wingspan and better athleticism than you might expect on first glance, Honeycutt is a very smooth, very versatile wing player with a big upside and an outstanding feel for the game.

Honeycutt does a little bit of everything offensively at the college level, even if he was clearly way too unselfish as a freshman last season. He averaged just 7.7 field goal attempts per-40 last year, sixth most total on the team, looking a little too willing to fit in at times.

While there is no way he should have been passing up shots to the type of talent UCLA sported on its roster last season, this does highlight possibly his greatest strength—his excellent passing ability—as he's a major asset for any team to have in their half-court offense. Honeycutt has excellent court vision and anticipation skills and regularly makes passes that hint at an extremely advanced basketball IQ. He does a great job facilitating his team's ball-movement and looks to have the potential to develop into a point forward type down the road—the type of player a coach can run his team's offense through.

Honeycutt also has a very nice stroke from the perimeter, even if he was at times hesitant to show that last year and was inconsistent with his shooting when he did. He made just 13/46 of his jumpers (10/29 3P, 60% FT) according to the data at our disposal, but should be able to improve on that significantly based on his excellent mechanics and the soft touch he displays.

As a ball-handler is where Honeycutt might need the most work, as he's just an average shot-creator at the moment. His ball-handling skills need plenty of work, particularly in terms of his ability to change directions with the ball and operate in pick and roll and isolation type situations. He was the fifth most turnover prone player in our database last season on a per-possession basis, coughing the ball up on an extremely high 31% of his possessions. His terrific court vision sometimes leads him to try and force the issue threading the needle with some very tough passes, but as he matures and gains experience, he should be able to improve his decision making skills significantly.

Adding strength to his lanky frame should open up plenty of things in Honeycutt's game, as he's clearly yet to reach his full athletic potential. Somewhat of a late bloomer in high school, Honeycutt's frame will be able to put on more weight down the road. He has a great feel for scoring around the basket, but is hampered significantly by his lack of strength at the moment.

Defensively, Honeycutt has outstanding potential with his terrific size, length, smarts and anticipation skills, and he's already one of the more productive players in the NCAA on this end in terms of the amount of rebounds (9.6), steals (2.2) and blocks (1.8) he puts up on a per-40 minute basis. Honeycutt moves his feet well on the perimeter and does a very good job of using his length to contest shots, but he can definitely get taken advantage of at times from a physical standpoint by older and stronger players. He struggles fighting through screens and seems to have mental lapses at times on this end of the floor like all young players do, but based on what we've seen and the fact that he's playing under Ben Howland, he should be just fine in this area down the road.

The fact that Honeycutt is already such a good rebounder despite lacking a significant amount of strength and spending heavy minutes at the small forward (as well as the power forward) position is a great sign. He has an excellent feel for tracking down loose balls and doesn't seem to lack much in the ways of toughness or hustle the way some other skinny players do.

Based on what we saw at the adidas Nations Experience in Chicago in August, Honeycutt could be on his way to a breakout season on the national level, something UCLA sorely needs. With a bigger role in Ben Howland's offense and more aggressiveness than he showed last year, Honeycutt will emerge as a coveted NBA prospect and could be ready to make the jump to the League already next spring. His ability to fit into any type of half-court motion offense will make him very interesting for slower paced teams in particular.

Exclusive chat with Adonis Thomas

Exclusive chat with Adonis Thomas
By Jon Gold on September 28, 2010 12:34 PM
Inside UCLA
The LA Daily News

Adonis Thomas has been to Los Angeles three times, but he's never been on the UCLA campus.

He knows about the Southern California weather, he knows the food and the people. He's eaten in L.A. and he's met the people himself.

But this weekend, when he ventures to Westwood for an official visit as the No. 2-ranked small forward and No. 8-ranked overall player - one of three in the country still uncommitted - Thomas wants to really feel what UCLA is about.

"I'm familiar with the program, what they've produced, the tradition they have, but I really want to go to see the campus, see the enviornament, the players that are there," Thomas said in a phone interview on Tuesday. "It gives them a chance to really show me what they have to offer. I want to see the academic side of the school, the style of play, what I can expect if I come here.
"This is my third time in LA, first on campus, so I have to really tune in on the visit."

Visiting this weekend along with friend Quinn Cook, the No. 4 point guard in the country, Thomas hopes to get a feel most for the players and Ben Howland's playing style.

"That's great for me to get a chance being with the guys," Thomas said. "I might be there for four years. I want to be familiar with the guys I'll be hanging out with on the off the court. That chemistry off the court leads to success on the court."

UCLA is one of five schools still in the running for Thomas' services, including Memphis, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida, and he said "all five of the schools all have a great shot right now."

Unimpressed by factors such as weather and location and the quality of campus, Thomas is really just trying to get a grasp of his future development, hoping to become another in a successful line of pros who matriculated at UCLA.

"When I get there, I want to develop," Thomas said. "I want to get to the next level. I want to go to a school that puts me in the league. No, (location, etc.) doesn't matter at all. No matter where I go, the weather's going to be changing."

The biggest sell for Howland and Co. on this trip: Trying to convey that the development of some of the recent stars - Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday - was furthered along by Howland.

"That's one thing I have to see," Thomas said. "I'm a guy who can fit into any type of offensive or defensive strategy. I havent really had a chance to see those guys play, but I've heard he's a really good defensive coach and runs a good pick-and-roll system.
"From what he's produced, they've been successful. I want to be in the league just like those guys."

Martin said:
Not buying it. Hope he has a great career in the east coast and enjoy your visit.

September 28, 2010 12:57 PM
Reformed Droog said:
Yeah, I tend to agree. Best of luck to the kid, wherever he decides to go, but you have to figure Tennessee or Memphis have him in the bag.

I mean, how interested could he be if he's only "heard [Howland]'s a good defensive coach and runs a good pick-and-roll system"?

September 28, 2010 1:13 PM
Anonymous said:
He just wants a free visit to SoCal. Who wouldn't?

September 28, 2010 2:07 PM
Dallas Bruin said:
I call BS too. "I know the weather is going to be changing?" But for the occasional 113 degree day, it really doesn't- that's the beauty of it. "See the academic side of the school?"- If he is looking for a good academic side, then it is a no brainer among those five schools. "It gives them a chance to really show me what they have to offer"-- Translation- BMW please.... wrong LA school. Smells like Blue Chips to me...

I could be totaly wrong. I hope so. We need the help.

September 28, 2010 2:34 PM
MichaelRyerson said:
you think this guy's got a little entitlement issue going? judging by this, he ain't Bruin material.

More on Adonis Thomas from ESPN College Basketball Recruiting

Thomas is a multiple-faceted forward who has no true position on the floor, but you could never play without him. At 6'6, he lacks the great height of proto-typical forwards in today's game. However, he more than makes up for it with his combination of quickness, athleticism, and intelligence. He is a match-up nightmare who is too strong and athletic for small forwards to guard and too skilled and quick for power forwards to handle. He proved all summer long to bre a more consistent mid-range jump shooter both off the bounce and the catch. He is a terror on both backboards and plays with a high motor.

Thomas is not your 6'8 power forward with great length and size. He can get over-matched defending in the post at times simply because taller opponents can shoot over him. Although, Thomas obviously worked hard on his handle and shot over the past year he struggles at times handling I. The open floor and making good decisions. His perimeter consistency has improved but he lacks consistent range to 22' which helps defenders guard his drive.

Bottom Line:
Overall, he is very talented and a terrific person who makes your program better. His overall skills are very strong and put him in position to get a lot done on the floor, but it's the intangibles that stick out. Thomas is a coach's dream who wins not only games but championships while leaving a lasting impression on your program.

Travel Teams: Memphis Stallions/Memphis Magic...Wingspan: 82"...Kansas is the final school on his list...Official visits to Tennessee (Sept. 11), Arkansas (Sept. 24), UCLA (Oct. 2), Florida (Oct. 9) and Memphis (Oct. 15)...

Updated UCLA Hoops TV Schedule

Updated UCLA Hoops TV Schedule

By Jon Gold on September 28, 2010 1:54 PM
Inside UCLA
The LA Daily News

LOS ANGELES - The UCLA Athletic Department has announced the television coverage and game times for its 2010-11 men's basketball schedule. It is highlighted by 27 televised games on four different networks, including the possibility of two more games to be televised as wild card selections.

The Bruins will make 19 appearances as part of the Pacific-10 Conference's television package; 12 national telecasts on Fox Sports Net, two on CBS and six on ESPN. Non-conference highlights of the FSN schedule include the Dec. 18 Wooden Classic game versus BYU at Honda Center as well as 11 Pac-10 league contests. The ESPN selections include all four games of the 2010 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. Additionally, the Bruins' second game of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Nov. 16 (versus Pacific or Nevada) will be part of ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. ESPN will also showcase the UCLA at Kansas contest on Dec. 2 and the UCLA at Arizona game on Jan. 27. CBS has selected the St. John's at UCLA game on Feb. 5 and the Stanford at UCLA contest on Jan. 22. UCLA has two additional opportunities for exposure when wild card selections will be announced on Feb. 21, 2010.

In addition to the Pac-10's FSN package, seven more games will be televised locally as part of the Bruins' package on Prime Ticket and FS West in Los Angeles.

While all but one game time (excluding wild card selections) has been set, the schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Tentative 2010-11 UCLA Men's Basketball Television Schedule

Date, Opponent, TV, Time
Thu., Nov. 4, Westmont College - Exhibition, BruinTV, 7:30 p.m.
Tue., Nov. 9, Cal State Los Angeles - Exhibition, BruinTV, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 12, Cal State Northridge, BruinTV, 7:30 p.m.
Mon., Nov. 15, Pepperdine, ESPNU 8:00 p.m.
Tue., Nov. 16, Pacific or Nevada, ESPNU, 8:30 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 24, NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinals (TBD), ESPN, 7:00 or 9:00 p.m. ET
Fri., Nov. 26, NIT Season Tip-Off Finals (TBD), ESPN, 2:30 or 5:30 p.m. ET
Thu., Dec. 2, @ Kansas, ESPN, 8:00 p.m. CT
Sun., Dec. 5, Montana, PT (delayed, 9:00 p.m.), 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 11, Cal Poly, PT, 5:00 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 13, UC Davis, PT, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 18, BYU @ Wooden Classic, FSN/FSW, 2:00 p.m.
Tue., Dec. 21, Montana State, BruinTV, 7:30 p.m.
Thu., Dec. 23, UC Irvine, PT, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 29, Washington State, FSN/FSW, 8:00 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 31, Washington, FSN/PT, 1:00 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 9, @ USC, FSN/PT, 7:30 p.m.
Thu., Jan. 13, @ Oregon State, PT, 5:30 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 15, @ Oregon, FSW or PT, TBD
Thu., Jan. 20, California, PT, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 22, Stanford, CBS, 11:00 a.m.
Thu., Jan. 27, @ Arizona, ESPN/2, 7:00 p.m. MT
Sat., Jan. 29, @ Arizona State, FSN/PT, 1:30 p.m. MT
Wed., Feb. 2, USC, FSN/FSW, 8:00 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 5, St. John's, CBS, 10:00 a.m.
Thu., Feb. 10, Oregon, PT, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 12, Oregon State, FSN/PT, 1:00 p.m.
Thu., Feb. 17, @ Stanford, FSN/FSW, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 20, @ California, FSN/PT, 7:00 p.m.
Thu., Feb. 24, Arizona State, FSN/PT, 8:00 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 26, Arizona, FSN/PT, 1:00 p.m.
Thu., Mar. 3, @ Washington, WC, TBD
Sat., Mar. 5, @ Washington State, WC, TBD
Mar. 9-12, Pac-10 Tournament @ Staples Center, TBD
Mar. 17-20, NCAA First and Second Round, TBD
Mar. 24-27, NCAA Regional, TBD
Apr. 2 & 4, NCAA Final Four, TBD

All times Pacific unless stated otherwise
All games broadcast on the UCLA/ISP Sports Network (AM 570 KLAC in Los Angeles)

FSN/FSW - live in Los Angeles on FS West as part of Pac-10 national package
FSN/PT - live in Los Angeles on Prime Ticket as part of Pac-10 national package
FSW - live in Los Angeles on FS West
PT - live in Los Angeles on Prime Ticket
WC - Wild card selections to be chosen 10 days before the date of the contest

Got game?

UCLA men’s basketball team plans to host tryouts for walk-ons

Updated: September 28, 2010, 1:18 AM
The Daily Bruin

Pauley Pavilion sometimes opens its doors to the warriors of the Wooden Center for pickup basketball games, letting students play under the banners won by the men’s basketball team. Friday morning, those doors will be open again, but this time, it’s for a spot on the team that hung those 11 banners.

The men’s basketball team will host open tryouts on Friday starting at 6:45 a.m. The tryouts will be run by assistant coach Scott Garson.

Garson often hits the recruiting trail for coach Ben Howland but still runs the open tryout every year, hoping to capitalize on hidden athletic talent on campus.

“We’re looking for guys that just want to come out and help the program,” Garson said.

“Sometimes we keep one guy, sometimes we keep two or three.”

UCLA basketball has a long history of walk-ons. Some contact UCLA ahead of time to see if a non-scholarship spot is open on the team, while others make it through the open tryout. Recent graduate Spencer Soo, who became a fan favorite for his leaping ability, walked on after his tryout.

Walk-ons play a major role in practice, especially on the defensive end. There may not be much glory for the chosen few who can win the walk-on spot, which is why Garson looks at one thing when evaluating prospects.

“No ego, because a lot of the times the walk-ons don’t even get to dress for the games,” Garson said.

Garson pointed to Mustafa Abdul-Hamid, another recent graduate, as a perfect example of a walk-on, somebody who made many of UCLA’s stars work harder in practice.

“Mustafa pushed our players every day in practice,” he said. “Mustafa went head to head, nose to nose everyday with Darren Collison, with Russell Westbrook, with Arron Afflalo, with Jrue Holiday. He did a really good job.”

The UCLA athletic department requires that those trying out provide a physical and proof of medical insurance.

Physicals must be conducted on a form provided by the department, which can be picked up in the J.D. Morgan Center. The Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center schedules next-day physicals.
For more information or to inquire about the tryouts, contact the men’s basketball office at 310-206-6276.

Star Normal Powell verbally commits to UCLA basketball team for 2011-2012 season

Photo SLAM

Star Norman Powell verbally commits to UCLA basketball team for 2011-2012 season
The Daily Bruin
Updated: September 28, 2010, 1:34 AM

With just more than a month remaining until the UCLA basketball team opens its season, coach Ben Howland reportedly received a verbal commitment from one of the top high school shooting guards in the nation on Sunday.

Norman Powell, the No. 15 shooting guard in the nation and a four-star recruit according to, gave the Bruins a verbal commitment to play for the 2011-2012 team.

Powell comes from San Diego’s Lincoln High School where he averaged 19.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He is billed as an incredible athlete and impressive leaper at 6 feet, 4 inches and 200 pounds.

Powell reportedly took a recruiting visit to UCLA earlier this month, but the UCLA athletic department declined to comment on his status. He turned down a chance to stay close to home by choosing UCLA instead of San Diego State. Powell also showed interest in Arizona and Arizona State.

After losing star point guard recruit Josiah Turner to Arizona earlier this month, the team focused all of its attention on Powell.

Powell is the only recruit to commit to the 2011 class and will likely remain as such, with no seniors appearing on this year’s roster.

Highlights from last year’s recruiting class included North Carolina transfers Travis and David Wear, along with former Washington center Josh Smith and Tyler Lamb from nearby Mater Dei High School.

Powell and Lamb are slated to provide depth behind current junior shooting guard Malcolm Lee. Lee has yet to emerge as the dominant scoring threat that has typified Bruin guards in years past.

The addition of Powell could allow sophomore Tyler Honeycutt to permanently move to his natural small forward position, where he would be better suited to battle for rebounds and score in the paint.

After a season that saw the Bruins miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years and the second time in Howland’s tenure, UCLA fans can expect this young team to return to the big dance this season.

The Bruins begin the season against Westmont College in Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 4. Other noteworthy games include a potential trip to New York for the finals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, provided they win their opening-round games at home, and a midseason matchup against St. John’s, which is coached by former UCLA coach Steve Lavin.

Norman Powell Q + A: Powell is rising up the charts

by Jeremy Bauman
SLAM Online
Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Its a funny thing how rankings work these days. A few years ago when John Wall was a sophomore in high school, even with all of the recruiting services around, Wall was hardly noticed. Last week, Wall was the top player selected in the NBA Draft.

My point is this: Even with all of the rankings that have shaped the basketball world for the past decade, players still fall through the cracks. With the way the game works these days, its probably for the best.

One of the latest players to be uncovered and find himself in a similar frenzy is west coast star Norman Powell, a 6-3 combo guard who combines rare athletic ability with a feel for getting to the tin. Schools have hopped onto Powell’s bandwagon from all over the country and he’s open going into the live period.

I got a chance to sit down and talk all things basketball with Norm this past Saturday June 26th as he took in the action at the Adidas Phenom Camp in San Diego.

SLAM: Alright, Norman Powell from Lincoln High School in San Diego is here with SLAM and you’re one of the fastest rising seniors in the country. How did it feel to go unnoticed for so long.
Norman Powell: Shoot, I don’t know. Its crazy, like from where I was an where I’m at right now. It feels good because this is what I wanted but I still feel that like, I’m not rated where I want to be and so it makes me want to work harder to get up there more.

SLAM: Why do you think you were so unnoticed before, what changed in that time period that helped you go from unnoticed to, now you’re noticed?
NP: I think really that people all around, people were saying I was good, that I should be able to go to any school I want. But the steps to like, getting out on the circuit they didn’t take, it was more talk. Then I came to Lincoln with Coach Jeff and Coach Glen and Coach Jason and they all helped together to get me on an AAU basketball team and from there I just, you know, started exploding.

SLAM: And what AAU team do you play with?
NP: Dream Vision.

SLAM: Was that your first AAU team?
NP: First I started playing with the San Diego All Stars and then last spring I started playing with Dream Vision.

SLAM: Cool. So how does it feel to finally get the attention that you deserve? You’ve been the same player?
NP: Yea.

SLAM: So you didn’t just change overnight…
NP: You know, I’ve had to humble myself because a lot of people, when they get to your head because they think your all that but its really humbling. I know how to humble myself and take care of it because when it gets to your head that’s where the problem starts.

SLAM: What are you doing in the gym to get to the level that you’re at?
NP: We go in there and well, first I get my music on to get pumped up and all that. Gotta get my mind right. In order to be good you have to have your mind right and ready to practice so basically then I get some shots up, work on defense [defensive slides], probably get up about a 1000 shots probably about three times every week.

SLAM: Definitely working on that shot. Are there any players or teams that you want to play against next year in San Diego, like a rival?
NP: Yea its Lincoln and Morris. We beat them this year but they’re still talking.

SLAM: Who normally wins?
NP: Linoln. We won by one this year but we was up by 35.

SLAM: Wow how’d that play out?
NP: First three quarters they couldn’t handle us, we had fresh legs that we were rotatin’. Then the fourth quarter rolled around and we stopped rotating and they started chipping away and coming back. They had the ball last shot but it didn’t matter.

SLAM: Shows you can’t get humble for a minute…
NP: Yea!

SLAM: What about nationally, are there any players you want to play against on the circuit?
NP: Yea I wanna play against Deuce Bello, Jahii Carson, PJ Hairston, CJ Gurerro. Pretty much people from the NBA Camp I wanna play against them more because those are people I haven’t really seen and so if I play against them more and I do what I’ve been doing, my ranking should go up.

SLAM: How was the NBA Camp?
NP: It was great I liked it, I learned a lot. There was a lot of skill development and NBA players, active and retired ones.

SLAM: Who was your favorite player from the camp?
NP: Jerry Stackhouse.

SLAM: Who is your favorite NBA player now?
NP: Now its Kobe Bryant.

SLAM: Gotcha. So how’s the recruiting going, who’s on you?
NP: Good, colleges are coming from everywhere so I’m liking it. Got offers from UCLA, USC, San Diego State, USD, Arizona, Arizona State, UTEP and Cal.

SLAM: And you just started playing AAU this year?
NP: No last year. I played in July last year and that’s when my name wasn’t out there, but it was like ‘Oh let me look at him, he’s athletic.’ But really my name came out at the last tournament in July. I was playing against Mater Dei and Tyler Lamb. I dunked on Tyler Lamb and that’s when it all kindof happened. ESPN was there and ranked me an 88. Right now I’m a 96. I’m ranked 33rd in the country though.

SLAM: And you’re gonna try to improve that…
NP: Yea I’m gonna try my best.

SLAM: So do you have any favorites?
NP: I mean, like the west coast is good but traveling makes all the other places look great. I would say my favorites right now are San Diego State because Coach has been on me before all this stuff happened, from Day 1. UCLA Coach Scott Garson, he’s funny I like him. Arizona Coach Archie Miller I don’t know if we ever stop emailing each other. James Harden got me interested in Arizona State. Coach Laflour from UConn always has me laughing too.

SLAM: What about back east?
NP: Back east we got UConn.

SLAM: A lot of guard tradition there.
NP: Yea and also Kansas, they were number one so I’m definitely interested in them but I gotta see who’s ahead of me there.

SLAM: You got Josh Selby there right now. What’s gonna factor into your decision, playing time?
NP: Yea exactly. I wanna come in and I wanna play right away. Like not be a John Wall but be in a similar circumstance.

SLAM: John Wall was in a similar circumstance to you. He wasn’t really so known and then he was the number one player. It kindof helped him. You see yourself in that kind of mold?
NP: Yea, hopefully. He’s nasty all around; left hand, right hand, give it to you with the shot, he’ll give it to you going to the bucket in transition, he’ll set up other players so he’s just nice all around and so obviously I hope my skills can come around with dedication to get like his.

SLAM: So you’re hops compare to his?
NP: Just a little bit, he has a little more bounce than me.

SLAM: So who would you compare yourself to in the NBA?
NP: In the NBA? That’s hard! Russell Westbrook, from Cali. He dunked on Lamar Odom and he didn’t dunk until his senior year of high school and look where he is now!

SLAM: Exactly. Do you have a favorite video game?
NP: For X-Box 360 NBA 2K10, Modern Warfare, Grand Theft Auto, I’m on it! I don’t play it that much because I have to balance everything. This summer I’ll take my X-Box 360 on the road though.

SLAM: Aright have fun, great interview thanks a lot.
NP: No problem.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Norman Powell (6-3 190 SG San Diego, CA) commits to UCLA

Boys' basketball: UCLA gets guard from San Diego

By Jack Pollon
LA Daily News
September 26, 2010 3:01 PM

Norman Powell, a guard at Lincoln High in San Diego has committed to UCLA.

Powell plays for former Van Nuys coach Jason Bryant and helped lead the Hornets to a Div. II state championship last March.

Powell reportedly commits to UCLA

By Jon Gold on September 26, 2010 7:33 PM
Inside UCLA with Jon Gold
LA Daily News's Greg Hicks is reporting that shooting guard Norman Powell - Profile Here - has committed to UCLA, choosing the Bruins over San Diego State.

After point guard Josiah Turner committed to Arizona recently, Powell,'s No. 15 shooting guard, became the team's No. 1 priority.

Powell has tons of potential and could become a major player for UCLA as he'll be slated to eventually fill in for Malcolm Lee. Powell is a four-star prospect, but is considered to have a higher ceiling than some above him, and his athleticism is a big plus for the Bruins.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oh, vell...Zona gets Josiah Turner, too

We'll just have to beat these guys to a pulp in every game to show these kids what kind of "tradition" they seem to think Zona has in basketball.


Turner could be running point for Cats in 2011-12

'Crazy' Iowa football game sways point guard's choice

Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Monday, September 20, 2010 12:00 am

When Josiah Turner arrived Friday on Arizona's campus for an official visit, Wildcat basketball coaches hardly had to recruit him anymore.

Plenty of others successfully stepped in, generating UA's third commitment from the 2011 class.

Committed Arizona guard Nick Johnson of Nevada's Findlay Prep was on hand for friendship and a bit of persuasion. So were the current Wildcat players, who played with Turner and Johnson informally on Saturday.

Then there was the UA football team, whose showing against Iowa provided an environment that bowled over the Top 25 point guard.

"The game was crazy," Turner said.

So just before he left town Sunday morning, Turner told UA coaches at his Tucson hotel that he was committing to the Wildcats.

"I had a lot of fun here," he said via telephone as he was preparing to fly home to Sacramento, Calif. "I bonded with everybody. I liked the teammates, the coaches and I got to meet the AD."

Turner visited Louisville and UCLA earlier this month and was scheduled to go to Kansas on Oct. 15 for its vaunted Late Night in the Phog practice-opening ceremonies but decided to cancel.

"I'm pretty surprised that he didn't make the Kansas visit," analyst Dave Telep said. "That tells me about the job that Arizona did this weekend."

The job even enlisted the help of Johnson's mother, Michelle, who attended the football game along with Turner's mother, Doris Ward, and UA assistant coaches Archie Miller, Book Richardson and James Whitford. Turner and Johnson sat in the student section.

"We had an idea (Saturday) night that it was looking good," Michelle Johnson said. "Doris wanted to wear a U of A shirt to the game, so I figured that was a good sign."

Michelle Johnson said her son told UA coaches upon committing last month that he wanted to help recruit another player from the 2011 class, and that Turner was his top choice. Turner and Johnson played together on the Drew Gooden Soldiers traveling team, with both having scoring and point- guard skills - though Turner is considered a more regular point guard with quickness and court vision.

"Although Nick's a point guard, he's also a two, and they played really well together" with Turner at the point, Michelle Johnson said. "I was there when Josiah committed and there were smiles all around."

The Wildcats have several other combination guards already on hand, and are expected to have sophomore MoMo Jones run the point this season, but both Turner and Johnson likely will work their way onto the floor during the 2011-12 season.

At 6 feet 3 inches and 175 pounds with a keen ability to get to the basket, Turner is rated No. 10 overall in the class of 2011 by, No. 24 by and No. 29 by ESPNU. Johnson, known for his athleticism and scoring, is rated No. 21 by ESPNU, No. 26 by and No. 40 by Rivals.

"Between Johnson and Turner, those are two guys you expect to play heavy minutes as freshmen," Telep said. "They're talented."

Telep said Turner's point-guard skills improved significantly over the summer, while he also showed potential to be an elite defender.

As a point guard, Turner is embracing the kind of ground he will be stepping on as a Wildcat.

"I wanted to be a part of the U of A tradition," he said.

Turner and Johnson will join another 2011 commit, New York forward Sidiki Johnson, and it is also possible the Wildcats will pursue a fourth 2011 commitment even though they face a tight scholarship situation. Arizona is scheduled to host Top 10 forward LeBryan Nash of Dallas next weekend, while Sidiki Johnson is expected to visit next month.

Because of NCAA sanctions, UA is restricted to 12 scholarships in 2011-12, one fewer than normal. The Cats would be two over that limit if all their current players with eligibility return with the three committed players, but they are expected to suffer early pro departures and/or other transition the next 12 months.

Arizona'S 2011 COMMITMENTS

Josiah Turner, PG

• Ht./Wt.: 6-3,175

• Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.

• School: Sacramento HS

• Ratings: 10, Rivals; 24, Scout; 29, ESPNU

Sidiki Johnson, PF

• Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 220

• Hometown: New York

• School: Oak Hill (Va.) Academy

• Ratings: 41, ESPNU; 58, Scout; 71, Rivals

Nick Johnson, SG

• Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 175

• Hometown: Gilbert

• School: Findlay (Nev.) Prep

• Ratings: 21, ESPNU; 26, Scout; 40, Rivals


Arizona lands top recruit Josiah Turner -- with an assist from football team?

By Tim Gardner
USA Today, Campus Rivalry, "The passion of college basketball and football live here"
Sep 20, 2010

Guard Josiah Turner made his official visit to Arizona this past weekend.
By the time Turner left, he told coaches he would be playing basketball for the Wildcats.

During his visit, Turner, the No. 10 recruit in the Class of 2011 according to, played some hoops with current Arizona players -- as well as fellow 2011 recruit Nick Johnson -- and was on hand for the Wildcats' stunning football upset of then-No. 9 Iowa.

"The game was crazy," Turner said, according to the Arizona Republic.

What's more impressive for Arizona is that Turner still had an official visit planned at Kansas before he committed to Sean Miller's program.

More from the Arizona Republic:

"I had a lot of fun here," he said via telephone as he was preparing to fly home to Sacramento, Calif. "I bonded with everybody. I liked the teammates, the coaches and I got to meet the AD."

Turner visited Louisville and UCLA earlier this month and was scheduled to go to Kansas on Oct. 15 for its vaunted Late Night in the Phog practice-opening ceremonies but decided to cancel.

"I'm pretty surprised that he didn't make the Kansas visit," analyst Dave Telep said. "That tells me about the job that Arizona did this weekend."

Miller and his coaching staff might want to give at least partial credit to the Wildcats football team after its huge win -- and inviting atmosphere -- from the weekend.

As for Turner, he looks forward to joining a long line of top guards to play at Arizona.

"I wanted to be a part of the U of A tradition," he said.

Monday, September 13, 2010

UCLA 2011 prospect 6-2 180 PG Josiah Turner (Sacramento, CA) visits UCLA but does not commit

Sacramento Bee interview with Josiah Turner

Thanks to justme for posting on Bruin Zone.

Turner remains on the board

Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010 2:30 pm

Josiah Turner left Westwood without a commitment over the weekend, which is probably a good sign for the Arizona Wildcats.

But there are several obstacles to come for Arizona. One is the fact that Kansas coach Bill Self has arrived in Sacramento to watch Turner work out and to meet with him tonight, according to Doris Ward, Turner's mother.

Then Turner may visit Oregon in early October and is scheduled to visit Kansas officially for Late Night in the Phog, which he attended on an unofficial visit last year. Ward said today that her son may commit during the visit process, though, so if he goes to Kansas, that obviously doesn't bode well for the Wildcats.

"If he finds somewhere he likes, I'm sure he'll commit as opposed to taking the five visits," Ward said.

Ward also said that Sean Miller seems to have made Turner a "top priority" - he visited Turner in-home last Thursday - and complemented his staff.

"They've done a great job of recruiting him," she said. "The coaches came down and made him feel very comfortable. I think he's comfortable with coach Miller's system."

While Turner had been to UCLA many times before to play, he had a chance to play with the Bruins and meet various school officials this time, Ward said.

"It went fine," she said. "It was a good trip."

Just a week ago...

Jerry Meyer of answers recruiting questions from Meyer's Mailbag (via

PG search is on at UCLA

When will UCLA recruit a point guard to play for them?

- Ben from Los Angeles

UCLA is in hot pursuit of five-star point guard prospect Josiah Turner out of Sacramento (Calif.) High School. In fact, the Bruins will host Turner on an official visit this weekend.

Kansas has been considered the favorite to land Turner, but Louisville made a favorable impression on Turner when he visited last weekend and UCLA is apparently gaining ground as well.

Arizona and Oregon will also host Turner on official visits, so UCLA has plenty of competition for Turner.

UCLA is also in the hunt for Quinn Cook, but it might be a long shot at best for UCLA to lure him off the East Coast.

Local prospect Spencer Dinwiddie is a viable backup plan for the Bruins at the point guard position.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Golden Team

Post updated 9/13/2010 7:12 am PST

Video highlights courtesy of slirintz on You Tube

Video highlights courtesy of NewNBAVideoGames on You Tube

Tournament MVP Durant Scores 28, Leads USA Over Turkey For World Championship Gold

Russell Westbrook is solid gold again with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists (2 turnovers) and a steal in 24 minutes.

USA Basketball website
Sept. 12, 2010 • Istanbul, Turkey


For the second time in as many nights, and just as he had in virtually every game at the 2010 World Championship, Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) put the USA on his back offensively and coupled with the team’s devastating defense, the USA stormed to an impressive 81-64 victory over Turkey to capture the 2010 FIBA World Championship title.

Durant’s 28 points propelled the Americans to their first World Championship gold medal finish since 1994 as the USA finished a perfect 9-0 in Istanbul, Turkey. With the world title, the U.S. collected the automatic qualifying berth for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

“We didn't have an identification. They were called the 'B Team'. I think that's over with,” said USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelgo. “I think they established who they are. Kevin Durant, welcome to the international stage in terms of your ability as a player. That was great for him because he's such a terrific young man. “So a great job by everyone involved. It's great for our program. We go from here.”

Durant was named MVP of the World Championship after averaging 22.8 ppg., 6.1 rpg., and shooting 55.6 percent from the field, 45.6 percent from 3-point and 91.2 percent from the foul line.

The USA’s golden effort in addition to Durant’s contributions featured for the second consecutive night a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds from Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers) and 14 points from Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).

“This is the best. This is the best,” said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University). “With this group, they really have represented our country, USA Basketball so well. Such a young group. They played with enthusiasm. They played great defense throughout.

“Not much was expected. I shouldn't say that. They're always expecting a lot. But most people didn't think we could win. But they kept getting better. … “We had such big bench contributions. I'm just so happy, so fulfilled. This is as good as it gets right now.”

The first half was a tough, physical contest where no points came easy. The two teams were whistled for a combined 23 personal fouls that resulted in Turkey shooting 11-for-16 from the charity stripe while the U.S. went 10-for-11.

Behind eight points including two 3-pointers from Durant the U.S. took an early 14-9 lead. Turkey stormed back and behind a pair of threes by Hidsyet Turkoglu posted an 8-0 run to move in front 17-14 with 3:28 left in the opening quarter.

Durant stopped the assault when he connected on his third 3-pointer of the quarter to even the score at 17. After Durant made a highlight reel block on a Turkey fast break at the other end, Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) did what he does and drained a three, and after Westbrook added a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds left in the quarter, the U.S. had a 22-17 lead after the first 10 minutes.

Holding a 27-21 lead early in the second quarter, Durant struck again and, while adding a pair of 3-pointers, he posted the USA’s next nine points in a span of 2:55 to push the U.S. ahead 36-26.

From there the U.S. lead fluctuated between 10 and seven points and at halftime the U.S. went to the locker room possessing a 42-32 lead.

Whatever hope Turkey had to get back in the game quickly was shot down when Durant opened the third quarter with a pair of 3-pointers and when Odom added an offensive put back the Americans lead was up to 50-32 .

Following a 9-2 run by Turkey that reduced the U.S. advantage to 11, 52-41, with 4:08 to play in the third quarter, Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies) swished a jumper in the lane and one minute later Westbrook found nothing but net from behind the 3-point arc and just that quick the U.S. lead was back to 16.

Turkey continued to battle with the encouragement of its partisan capacity crowd and heading into the final 20 minutes the game was still in question even though the U.S. was leading 61-48.

A 9-2 USA offensive run that was started by a pair of fast break layups from Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) and finished by an Odom 3-pointer and then a fast break basket off a picture perfect pass from Rose left the USA fully in charge 70-50 with 7:00 to play.

Turkey never really challenged the U.S. again as the Americas marched in for the memorable 81-64 win.

Although badly outsized by the Turks, the U.S. work ethic nonetheless helped it to a 42-31 advantage on the glass and to 15 offensive boards.

The all out USA defense chased, harassed and frustrated Turkey into 36.4 percent (20-55 FGs) shooting for the game and 14 turnovers.

In Sunday’s bronze medal game, Lithuania (7-1) handled Serbia (6-3) 99-88 as Toronto Raptors forward Linas Kleiza, who the U.S. limited to 4 points and 1-for-11 shooting in Saturday's semifinal, scored 33 to lead Lithuania. Houston Rockets forward Luis Scola recorded 22 points and 11 rebounds to help lead Argentina (7-2) to an 86-81 win over Spain (5-4) to claim fifth place at the World Championship.

The 2010 USA World Championship Team assistant coaches are Syracuse University’s Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan and Toronto Raptors head mentor Jay Triano.

Additional Quotes >> USA 84, Turkey 61
Sept. 12, 2010 • Istanbul, Turkey


USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo
We talked the other day. Now the goal is reached. Your thoughts?
Well, you know, climbing the hill and accomplishing our goal of not only being able to compete but win it, there's another moment of a lifetime. That's another moment of fulfillment. It's a great tribute to the program, the people who are involved in this program, the coaching staff, Coach K's leadership, the players who committed themselves in giving of their time. They were totally focused throughout that process. Without that focus, I don't think we would have had the success we did.

We didn't have an identification. They were called the 'B Team'. I think that's over with. I think they established who they are. Kevin Durant, welcome to the international stage in terms of your ability as a player. That was great for him because he's such a terrific young man.
So a great job by everyone involved. It's great for our program. We go from here.

Were you surprised that this team was able to come together as quickly as they did, being so young?
You never know with a young group because of the inexperience. You know, there's a certain maturity and presence with these individuals. Collectively, they liked each other. I think I mentioned early on, this is a low‑maintenance group, and they absolutely were. Because of that, they were receptive, they listened, practicing accordingly, and followed a game plan. Again, they did a fantastic job.

Talk about your captains:
I think the leadership we got from our veterans, some of which doesn't even show on the box score, it's a leadership off the court, it's a leadership in the locker room, it's over a meal. But everyone being together, the young players did look to Lamar Odom, did look to Chauncey Billups for that leadership. And Tyson Chandler also. Everyone had a role. The young guys responded to everyone who came in their path.


USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)
How does it feel?
This is the best. This is the best. With this group, they really have represented our country, USA Basketball so well. Such a young group. They played with enthusiasm. They played great defense throughout.

Not much was expected. I shouldn't say that. They're always expecting a lot. But most people didn't think we could win. But they kept getting better. Our defense was terrific. The two veterans, Odom was sensational tonight. Iguodala over the last two games, his defense, on two of the best players in the tournament, (indiscernible) and Turkoglu, was really good.

We had such big bench contributions. I'm just so happy, so fulfilled. This is as good as it gets right now.

Was it a better experience because of the crowd and playing in Turkey?
All the guys would rather play in an environment that gives you energy. You don't want to play in an environment that doesn't give you energy.

And they're respectful. You know, the Turkish fans cheer for their team, so they create a great atmosphere. So it's not like they're cheering against you; they're cheering for their team, which helps them.

We got 18 up, then their crowd came alive, and it got down to 11. That's the type of thing we had to fight tonight. We were up against a sixth man tonight, too, but not a negative sixth man, a spirited one.

I want to congratulate the Turkish team on a truly fabulous tournament. They epitomized what a team should be. We played a great game tonight or else we would not have been able to beat them. It was a terrific tournament, a truly wonderful city. We felt like we made great friends. I've never seen, Coach (Bogdan Tanjevic), a country celebrate its team better than your country has celebrated the team. Every time I turn on the TV set, there's these happy commercials, you know, of you with the team, the Turkish people. It was wonderful. I thought it created a great atmosphere for the tournament. It was wonderful just to see that, really. I've never seen that anywhere like you all did it here.

Coach, Olympic champion, World champion, which one is more tasteful for you?
A national champion in college. I am a very lucky guy to have great players. This championship meant a lot because we had a very young team. It just meant a lot to all of us. So this was a very special thing.

We haven't won the World Championship since 1994. We as a country are trying to show great respect for the World Championships, which I'm not sure that we did maybe a decade ago. So to win it - and we know how important it is - means a great deal. It's twice as big as the Olympics in teams. But the Olympics are pretty good, too.

USA has the Olympics and now the World Championship. Can you comment on USA Basketball's domination.
I am not sure we have dominance. Did you see the end of our Brazil game? We had a tough game tonight. I don't think we dominated the game. We played a little bit better than Turkey. What we've tried to do under the direction of Jerry Colangelo, and he's given me the opportunity to coach with a great staff, is to build a culture that understands the international game, studies it, respects it, loves it, and tries to then coach a team that would be representative on the international stage at the level that our country should have a team doing that.

We've been fortunate enough to win the last two competitions in the Olympics and the World Championships.
But I love the international game. There are so many great coaches and great teams. I had to learn that. It's made me a better coach, you know, coaching against great coaches from other countries and great players. It helps. Have I used the word 'great' enough?

I feel pretty happy. We'll continue to do that. Our goal is to try to win a gold medal, but also always try to earn the respect of the people of the world in how we play and how we conduct ourselves. If we don't do that, then winning the gold medal, that's not the main thing. It's got to be a combination of those two things.

From a basketball perspective, from a career perspective, what did Kevin Durant accomplish this month?
Well, he elevated. He was on a pretty high floor already, but he went close to being in the penthouse, you know, during this time.
The beauty about Kevin is he's pure. You know, he's not trying to do anything except play basketball and get better. I loved coaching him. And he learned how to be a really great international player in the last five weeks, which will help him become an even better NBA player.
But I smile at all the things he said. He is that genuine. He's a special, special guy. He's definitely a special player.

Some of the players after the game are saying one of the best things about this is a lot of people didn't think that the United States was going to win the gold medal at this tournament. How much did that make it sweeter for you even when compared to the great performance in 2008?
Well, it did mean a lot. You know, we didn't talk about like every day doesn't think you can win. But based on the fact that we didn't have any returning guys from the Olympic team, we lost a lot of guys right at the start of training camp because of contract or injury, I thought they rallied and we became a little bit of an unconventional team.

But we could win; we just felt it would be a lot harder. And they worked real hard and they made it happen. So very fulfilling.
I think our country in following this team, especially lately, followed in a little bit different way than they would have followed if we had all the guys who were Olympians back, which I think is kind of neat for our country to do that.

The U.S. is perceived as being unable to unwilling to bring big‑name NBA players to international competitions. Next year is the Pan American games. Do you think the fact the U.S. won tonight might produce a national incentive for those players to come aboard and come to these competitions?
Well, USA Basketball respects every international competition. It obviously wouldn't be able to send the same team to all of those. But what we're trying to do is to develop a bigger pool of players who would then participate in the different events. So it's meant to no disrespect. It's kind of a way of life to have these guys give three, four, five-year commitments, it's very difficult. So having this group be successful, there will be some guys from this team who will be on our Olympic team as a result of being on this team. So we're going to try to use different competitions to deepen the pool of players, but show great respect for every competition.

Do you believe this group of players are the base of the Olympic tournament?
Well, like what Jerry Colangelo said, They earned equity. We now have a deeper pool. We have guys who were champions, a different team in the Olympics, and now guys who are world champs. There will be new players that will emerge. That's a good problem to have, is to choose amongst a lot of really good players.
We're just so happy that so many United States players want to play for their country. It had kind of waned in that respect in the first part of this century. Now, you know, people want to be a part of it and recognize how important it is. So that's a good thing.

Why didn't you bring the whole team this time like you did in Beijing?
I have no control over that. I just follow whatever they tell me to do. They're all celebrating in the locker room. Although they all said that they missed being with all of you. I was going to end the talk on extending their apologies. But I think they were celebrating.
It was meant to no disrespect they sent their flunky coach to talk about them.

How would you compare this team to the former USA teams you coached?
I think this was the best defensive team. I believe that because they knew they needed to play defense to win. The Olympics, our guys played great defense, too, but they could outscore you also. This team, we weren't necessarily sure we could outscore somebody, but we had to defend them. There were some unsung heroes. Russell Westbrook and Iguodala played truly amazing games, not just tonight but throughout the tournament. And Odom was a monster tonight both offensively and defensively.

On Kevin Durant and more tournament comments:
The continuity of infrastructure, both in organization and in style of play, helps. So Kevin every summer knew that we were going to play good defense.
By the way, there's a good chance he'll be on the Olympic team. It's like breaking news.

We want to always establish defense. We think we can play a different style of defense than any other country. We just have to learn a little bit new rules, because the NBA, you can't have a help side as much. But once they learn that, with our athleticism, if we're committed to it, then we have a weapon that can help us win.
On behalf of our team and all of our support people, thank you to the Turkish people. We've made wonderful friends here. To play Turkey in Istanbul, what a great thing for world basketball. I'm going to miss the Four Seasons. I didn't know there were as many boats in the world as there were going past our hotel. It's beautiful, just a beautiful, beautiful city.


USA Assistant Coach Jim Boeheim
You were there in the Olympic situation, but talk about this situation:
The World Championships is much more than people realize in the United States. For the rest of the world, the World Championships is still bigger.
To win it with a young team like this, especially since we haven't won it since 1994, makes it even better. This is a tremendous accomplishment for these young kids. They came to win and they won. That's not easy to do.

Was it even reasonable to think six weeks ago when you put this team together they could come together this quickly?
I don't think so. Everybody in hindsight thinks so. If you ask anybody six, seven eight weeks ago, they would have thought you're going to have a hard time with so many young players, not a lot of size. Lamar did a great job inside. Kevin stepped up big. Everybody else just pitched in and did what they could do. It was a really good team effort. Obviously we had great players. That's a great combination.

Talk a little bit about Kevin, MVP, unbelievable the last three games:
JIM BOEHEIM: He's a great player. I mean, he's a scorer. He can shoot it and he can score. He's only going to get better. He works at the game. He has no fear.
To be a great scorer, you have to have no fear. He has no fear.

USA Assistant Coach Nate McMillan (Portland Trail Blazers)
Talk about ending the streak with a World Championship:
When I talked to Coach K, Mr. Colangelo, this is what it was all about. We had won the 2008 gold medal, but we lost the 2006 World Championships. We wanted to come back and get this. We felt like this was missing. We just wanted to be a part.
Everything just worked out great. Mr. Colangelo, Coach K have done a great job of putting this team together, you know, giving them a vision, bringing national basketball back to the United States.
Was there anything about this team that surprised you? Kind of amazing, all scorers on their team, but it was always defense from the get-go with you guys.
We built it on defense. That's what we talked about. Tonight they probably played their best defensive game in a sense of, you know, we had to beat Turkey in Turkey. One of the messages before the game from Coach K, our exhibitions game we beat Spain in Spain, we beat Greece in Greece, and we wanted to beat Turkey in Turkey.
These are three of the toughest teams to play. These guys responded at the right time.


USA Assistant Coach Jay Triano
Just talk about this experience and being a world champion:
It's unbelievable. You know, it's a dream come true for me. This is my fifth World Championships, three as a player, one as a coach. To be an assistant coach here, just from day one, listening to Coach K here talk about the dream and the goal and have these guys follow through every step of the way.
The best thing was the players. The players were so together, so bought into it. For young players, I think it's going to help them not only with their careers in the NBA, but it helps the USA down the road.

All these guys are scorers on their regular teams. Amazing it came down to their commitment to defense:
That was the key from day one. We went with guys that were quick athletes. We said the best thing we can do is defend. The defense is going to win, and it did. We locked everybody up. We frustrated teams. It made it difficult for them to score.


Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)
Tell me what it means to you to win a World Championship like this:
Unbelievable feeling, man. Unbelievable feeling. This ranks right up there with my NBA championship, man.
I mean, it's kind of in similar fashion because nobody really gave us a chance. They talked about who wasn't here, who this, who that, who is too inexperienced. At the end of the day, none of that stuff really mattered. We came together as a team and did what we had to do.

What made this team special?
I think just coming together and nobody really having an ego, everybody wanting to win just for the country, for each other. I think when you have that, it makes for a special time.

Talk about your leadership in this:
Obviously that was a major factor when you agreed to be on the team. Each and every game it seemed like you had a stronger influence.

What was happening?
Yeah, that's kind of what I do, man. That's what I'm here for. That's what I do for my regular team.
I just felt like I could give these guys so much knowledge and wisdom that I've learned over the years that one day they're going to be in the same position I'm in and they're going to be able to pass it down, as well, like somebody passed it to me. It's a pleasure for me to be able to do that.


Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
Tell me about winning the championship here:
This is unbelievable. We came together. Nobody knew what to expect. Nobody really thought we would be here.
We fought together. We became actually a defensive team. We stuck with that. We stuck to our principles and now we're champions.

Defense really was the key, especially tonight.
Yeah, everything from the beginning of the tournament, from training camp till now has all been predicated on defense.
We got 12 unselfish guys. Coaching staff, everybody involved, everybody really came together. It's been such a blessing for all of us to come together. Now we're going to celebrate together.

Highlight of your career so far?

Definitely, definitely. You know what? We brothers forever now. We are linked together forever now.


Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Tell me about winning the World Championship, what it means to you:
It means a lot because, you know, for a lot of us and myself, I haven't been a part of a championship team except a conference team in college. To be on this stage, win a World Championship, it will be a lasting standing. Playing Turkey in their own country and defeating them brought some memories back for me playing at U-19 and losing to Serbia in the finals in Serbia. This is my chance to get gold and we got it done.

What made this team special?
You know, our focus and determination to go out there and play defense, I think. We knew we could score. But defensively it was going to make the game a lot easier for us if we could pressure the guys, take them out of their offense. That would feed right into our offense.
We were young and eager to get out there and just work hard and leave our egos at the door and just play.

What about the environment tonight? Was that one of the coolest environments you played in?
The coolest, I think. I don't know how many people the arena seats. But our little USA section, all those Turkish fans were supporting Turkey. It was loud, energetic. For us to play as well as we did in that kind of environment makes this that much more special. We're going to remember this.

Any memory that stands out to you from this?
Every KD shut. Every time he shut the crowd up with a huge three, just celebrating at the end, being on the platform with the confetti flying, our national anthem going off. It was a great moment.


Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
What does it mean to win a World Championship?
It means a lot, man, to our country, our families, where we come from. It's unbelievable. To be in this group of guys, to win it with this team is even better. So I'm excited.

What made this team special?
We were so young. All everybody cared about was winning. Everybody doubted us. Everybody said we were too young, too small, no experience.
But we proved everybody wrong.

I know you're not an individual guy, but winning the MVP has to be cool:
That is cool. But that was the last thing I was worried about. I was hoping it was going to somebody else. But it was good to bring home the gold and the MVP, but all I'm worried about is this medal.

Obviously you exploded on the world stage here. You seem like the kind of guy that doesn't look at this like a marketing opportunity. Could you talk about that a little bit, the way you approach this and probably don't know what's going to come out of it.
I just wanted to come over here and win. That was my mindset from day one, was to come over here and try to get a gold.
Knew it was going to be tough. That was all that was in my mind. None of the other stuff, global marketing, none of that stuff entered my mind.
My teammates do a great job of helping me, push me every day. The guys here on the USA team pushed me every day to be the best, gave me confidence.
I was just trying to win it for everybody back at home. This is a great feeling. That's all I'm worried about.

Kevin, two years ago you couldn't go to the tournament and the Olympic Games. Now you are the leader of this team. What are your feelings?
I was put in a great position to come out here and be a starter, be one of the main guys that coach picked to play hard.
I took on the challenge. It was a tough start for me. I had to work and get better with the international game. But I was always looking to get better.
My teammates, like I said, always made sure that I came to work every day and they pushed me and I got better. Like I said, my only option was to come out here and get a gold. It feels really good to bring this back home to the States.

Coming in with the title of the 'B Team', did that motivate you any extra? Do you feel you've proven to the United States and the world that you're not the 'B Team'?
Yeah, I think that was everybody's motivation, especially coming back to the United States, people who really doubted us and said it was going to be tough for us to win.
We came out and proved everybody wrong. We worked hard in practice, were focused in. Coach made sure he did a great job of letting us know what we were doing out here. All we came to get was a gold. To play for a great coach like that, that really knows what he wants, is a great feeling. So it was exciting to come out here and win and also to prove people wrong.

At a young age, to be considered a superstar, are there any areas of your game that need improvement? If yes, which are they?
Every area of my game. I think posting up, my ball handling, rebounding, defense, everything needs to get better no me to be a great player.
I work hard to get every day to get better at it. I have a long ways to go to be the player I want to be. I'm looking forward to waking up every day and going to the gym and getting better. But right now I'm just enjoying this moment of being the world champion.

In the second half, you jumped over the stands, what was going on?
I was just pounding my chest, letting everybody know, you know, who we are, the USA team. That's across my chest, that's what we represent.
I was in the moment. I was emotional. Coach K told us in all our meetings to be passionate, to be emotional for everybody on the floor, for everybody back home. That's what I was doing. I was just lost in the moment, man. That was a lot of fun out there.

Did you know you had a record-tying seven three-pointers?
No, I didn't. All I knew I was shooting a lot of threes. I had open looks. One thing in training camp we preached about is take your shot and keep the defense honest. I was able to get some wide open ones, I was able to hit them. My teammates did a great job of penetrating and passing me the ball, get me in position to score. I got in a rhythm going early. I'm glad we cruised to the win.


Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies)
Rudy, can you just talk about winning the gold medal, a World Championship, what it means to you.
It feels good. People go their whole careers without winning something like this. You know, being so young, it means a lot to me. We played good basketball, but not many people get to win championships.

Does it almost seem unbelievable?
It does. It's almost like it's not real. I love this group. We all love each other, man. We played great together. Everybody gave something up. We came out here and played great.

What was the key to this team and the success they had?
Versatility. Guys come out there, playing different positions, giving up things we can do. You know, no egos. We checked our egos at the door. Everybody, when they go back to their teams, basically run their team. Right here we were one.


Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers)
Just your thoughts on winning a World Championship:
You know, it definitely means a lot. I haven't won an NBA championship yet or a college championship. This one means a lot.

What was so special about this team?
You know, because we're kind of a young team and nobody really expected us to win. In the U.S., they thought we were too young, we weren’t together, as well. But a good thing we won.

What are the memories you take from this? Anything in general? Will it be the ceremony, something you did individually?
It's new for a lot of guys. I want to soak in this experience and hopefully a lot more will come on.


Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers)
Just talk about what it means to be on a World Championship team:
It was an amazing feeling, you know, to set out what we wanted to do. A couple months ago we all set out to accomplish this. We did it and we won in good fashion. It's just a great feeling, especially the camaraderie we built as a team.

Is this what made this team special, the camaraderie?
Definitely. We all feel like brothers. We all play against each other in the regular season. Right now we're playing jokes with each other, hanging out all the time. It translated right onto the court.
We played well together and won a World Championship.

Were you surprised how good you ended up being, especially defensively?
Yeah, I think that was the niche that we kind of figured out that we had. I think the coaches, Coach K did a great job, saw that would be our biggest strength. We used it. We exploited other teams with our defensive pressure.
It was just a great job on everybody's part.


Andre Igoudala (Philadelphia 76ers)
Tell me what it's like to be a world champion:
It's great. It's great spending time with everybody else. That's the fun part about it. Everybody is happy. A lot of smiles. You don't know what to say. You can't prepare for this, that's what I'm saying. You're prepared to win, but you can't prepare for the feeling afterwards. It's incredible.

What made the team special?
We all just like sacrificed for one another. It was never a problem making my shots. It was never a problem. Everybody bought into focusing on teamwork, five guys on the court, everybody else ready to come in and do their job. It was incredible.
Played as one cohesive group.

Could you ever imagine what this would actually be like?
You could think about it, but you don't know until now I'm watching. You can't think about this. It's indescribable, a great feeling.


Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Talk about winning the World Championship:
I mean, it's unbelievable. We didn't know what to expect, kind of like Tyson said. But, I mean, we're all brothers now really. This is an unbelievable experience. We're just going out to accept our gold medals now.

I mean, I can't even put into words how unbelievable this is. Nobody expected this from us. We went out and got the job done. We came together as a unit, as one, as a family, the coaches, staff and players. We'll forever be a part of USA Basketball and forever a part of history.

What was the key to the win tonight?
Defense. It's always been defense for us, the whole time. Obviously we've had the firepower on the offensive end. But being willing to step up on the defensive end is what won this tournament for us.

Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers)
Just tell me what it means to win a World Championship. You have had one heck of a year:
Amazing. We better have won, I took these licks on my face. Look disfigured.
It was cool. I'm happy. Joyous feeling. Incredible.
What made this team special?
Defense, character, good guys coming together. One intention: that was to win the whole thing. One thing in mind. It's beautiful. Great feeling.

I'm sure you came in with high expectations, but did this even sail past that?
Yeah, because you never know what to expect. On that pedestal, the national anthem, you don't know what to expect.
Just thinking everybody at home is watching. President Obama probably. So, like, just on a different level.

Talk about being a captain on the team. Does that make it more special?
Especially that we had good guys, carried themselves the right way. We were composed, played good, clean basketball. Made friends around the hotel, around the city, everywhere we went. I think it speaks a lot for USA Basketball, the people we have involved in the program.

Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Thoughts on winning a World Championship?
I'm speechless right now. All the people that haven't won it, Olympic basketball, just coming over here, playing everybody on their home courts, the fight we put in it, like some of the players been on the select team for three or four years, it's finally paid off.
What made this team special?
We like playing with each other. We can hang around each other all day. We're the same age. We can relate to one another.
That's what made it special.

You said all along, Defense wins championships. Ultimately that's what did it for you guys, right?
Yeah, just standing there, D'ing up, picking up everybody full court, creating passing lanes. You can see how we won a championship. It was all defense.

Any one memory that stands out over the last month?
All this, this whole experience. Like I said, sometimes I wish that this could be my regular team because it's so easy. But, got to go back to reality. Everybody that played here, this is something that you will remember for the rest of your life. Everybody here appreciates it and they're grateful for it.

Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Tell me what it means for you to win a World Championship:
It's a great accomplishment. Hasn't been done in a long time.
We committed ourselves this summer to do this. We did a good job. We needed a whole staff. We all put time in to win it, so...
What made this team special?
Just how we got along. We knew what we came here to do. We came here and did it and got it done.

Talk about tonight's game, the environment. Is that one of the cooler environments you played in?
Definitely. We all played in college. Most of us played in college. You know how it feels to go on the road and get a win. Especially with this much at stake, we did a good job competing.

At the end of the day it seemed that defense ruled the day for you.
Definitely. That's been the key for us all season. We've been keeping at it. Been doing a good job of that all tournament long.

Golden again: U.S. beats Turkey to win world championship

Posted Sep 12 2010 5:57PM - Updated Sep 12 2010 8:23PM

ISTANBUL (AP) -- Kevin Durant beamed as he listened to his national anthem, which hadn't been played at the end of the world championship in 16 years.

And that was no "B-Team" standing beside him on the center of the medals platform.

It was the best team in the world.

The United States won its first world championship since 1994 on Sunday, beating Turkey 81-64 behind another sensational performance from the tournament MVP.

Durant scored 28 points, setting a record along the way for most in the tournament by a U.S. player. He left the court with 42 seconds remaining and shared a long hug with coach Mike Krzyzewski, who finally won the world title after his previous two attempts ended with bronze medals.

"Our only option was to come out here and get a gold, and it feels really good to bring this back home to the States," Durant said.

Lamar Odom added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Americans, who won gold in the worlds for the fourth time, doing so with a team that was no sure thing after coming to Turkey without the superstars from its Olympic gold medal team.

With Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Co. sitting home, this group was called a "B-Team," which the players were aware of and couldn't wait to disprove.

"I think that was extra motivation," Durant said. "It was exciting to come out here and win and also to prove people wrong."

And they came through where many of their bigger-name predecessors couldn't four years ago in Japan in the world championship, beginning to quiet a raucous crowd midway through the second quarter with a superb defensive effort.

"I thought we rallied and we became a little bit of an unconventional team," Krzyzewski said. "We thought we could win, we just felt it would be a lot harder, and they worked real hard and they made it happen."

Durant, who scored 33 and a U.S.-record 38 points in the previous two games, again took care of the offense, qualifying the U.S. for the 2012 Olympics.

Hedo Turkoglu of the Phoenix Suns scored 16 points for the Turks, who were bidding for their first title and were boosted by huge crowd support, with fans in red filling most of the 15,000-seat Sinan Erdem Dome.

Lithuania beat Serbia for the bronze earlier in the day.

Durant scored 20 in the first half, then hit consecutive 3-pointers early in the third quarter, yelling at Turkish fans sitting courtside and pounding his chest after the second, as the U.S. quickly extended a 10-point halftime lead.

The Americans already knew they'd be bringing a different team to Turkey after all the gold medalists from the 2008 Olympics opted to take this summer off. Then All-Star forwards Amare Stoudemire and David Lee were forced to withdraw on the opening day of training camp.

The U.S. was left with a young, undersized team, featuring six players 22 or younger and only one true center in Tyson Chandler, who quickly became a backup when forward Odom was installed as the starter.

So this team simply rode Durant to the gold medal. The NBA scoring champion made seven 3-pointers against Turkey, often pulling up from places that were simply too far away for its zone to reach, and the Americans outrebounded the Turks 42-34.

"This team had a lot of character and poise," Odom said. "A lot of people thought we were undersized and we didn't have a center, we didn't have too many big guys. People thought we were going to get killed on the inside, but we played tough, hung in there, and stayed strong, focused."

The whistling was so loud when U.S. players were introduced that it was hard to make out the names. There were more whistles and boos every time the Americans had the ball in the early going, and the building was at its loudest when Turkoglu made consecutive 3-pointers to give Turkey its first lead at 15-14 with 4:07 remaining in the first quarter.

Durant was most of the U.S. offense, as he often was throughout the tournament, scoring 11 points in the quarter to help the Americans to a 22-17 advantage.

Unable to crack Turkey's zone, the U.S. kept going smaller to get more shooting on the floor, at one point playing Durant and Rudy Gay with guards Eric Gordon, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook.

The U.S. held Turkey to one field goal over the first 6 minutes of the second quarter, extending the lead to 10 on a 3-pointer by Durant. The Americans were ahead 42-32 at halftime.

The U.S. victory put a disappointing end to an important day for Turks, who approved sweeping changes to their constitution in a referendum vote, which the government hailed as a leap toward full democracy.

President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the game, congratulating him on the success of the tournament and Turkey's team while acknowledging "the vibrancy of Turkey's democracy as reflected in the turnout for the referendum."

But the team, serenaded throughout by fans singing "12 Giant Men," its theme song since its runner-up finish while hosting the 2001 European championship, fell short of becoming the fourth host to win the world championship and first since Yugoslavia in 1970.

The Turks were a step slow and consistently beaten on the boards, perhaps drained from their thrilling 83-82 victory over Serbia in Saturday's late game.

"Nobody was expecting to be this far," Turkoglu said. "So I'm really happy, really proud."

FIBA inducted its Hall of Fame class at halftime, a group that included women's star Cheryl Miller, former NBA centers Vlade Divac and Arvydas Sabonis, and Brazilian star Oscar Schmidt.