USA Basketball Blog
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Day 1 in the Books
Aug 15, 2007
Posted by: John Schuhmann
Before we get into the practice report, here's an update on the rosters. Chris Bosh is in attendance, but he's not participating. He'll be here until the weekend, when he has leave to visit his doctor.
"Chris did a hell of a job for us last year and he's only gotten better," coach Mike Krzyzewski said after practice. "He's an All-Star. But the health of a player is most important, so hopefully it's not a serious thing."
J.J. Redick was with the Select Team and Nick Collison was with the Senior Team, although he was the only player without a number on his jersey.
So the Senior Team had 14 available players (which means only two won't make the tourney roster) and the Select Team had nine.
From the start of practice, there's seemed to be a clear starting five: Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. It's hard to argue with that group.
Practices for this second session of USA Basketball training camp are taking place at a local high school here in Las Vegas. It's a bit surreal seeing the likes of Bryant, James and Kidd playing on a high school floor, but the quality of play was the same as it is when these guys play in NBA arenas.
Of course, playing on a smaller court can be a good thing for some.
"For an older guy, that means less running," Kidd said afterward.
And everybody was ready to work from the start.
They began practice by focusing on the defensive end, walking through some half-court principles (including a lot of high screen-and-roll discussion), as well as putting in a full-court press.
After some stretching, they got up and down the floor a bit, working on transition offense and defense (highlighted by Collison emphatically rejecting 'Melo). They also did shooting drills and off-the-ball defensive drills, taking me back to my high-school days.
Then they brought in the Select Team for controlled (which means they basically go up and down the floor twice and then stop for instruction) scrimmages. The Senior Team split into two groups (with Kevin Durant and Tyson Chandler joining the above starters), with one group scrimmaging the select team for half an hour while the other group went into an auxiliary gym to shoot and walk through the offense. Then they switched it up.
Baskets did not come easy in either scrimmage, but the Select Team held their own. They didn't keep score, but I think the youngsters may have beaten the starters-plus-Durant-and-Chandler group. Andre Iguodala had a handful of breakaway dunks and the highlight of both scrimmages was an alley-oop from Aaron Brooks (who tossed it up from halfcourt) to Jeff Green (who threw down a reverse).
And those are two guys who haven't even played an NBA game yet.
"At first, it was nerve-racking," Green said about the whole experience, "because you get invited out here as a rookie to play against Kobe, LeBron, 'Melo ... all the superstars in the NBA. But after a while, you kinda settle down and know that you're here for a reason. So it was exciting for me, a good beginning to my career."
The scare of the day was Michael Redd going down in a heap after his feet came out from under him on a breakaway dunk. He got up and was OK though.
After practice, Jason Kidd was asked which one of the young guys impressed him the most.
"Kobe ... LeBron," he answered.
I guess they're all young to the 34-year old.
-- Edited by John Schuhmann at 08/15/2007 7:09 PM