Usa Team Is Hard To Watch


The U.S. Olympic basketball team might be young and talented, but it's painfully obvious after two losses in the preliminary round that the players haven't learned the team principles it takes to be successful.

In a one-on-one half court game, any of the talented NBA players on the U.S. team would be almost impossible to beat.


Some are calling the "Dream Team" the "Scream Team," saying it relies too much on the disparate talents of players like Allen Iverson.

But in a team game, a collection of individual talent will never be enough to whip a well-coached team that thrives on good passing, moving without the ball, team defense and precise offensive execution.

A high school coaching friend of mine operates his team under the simple motto of "share the ball and play defense."

That concept seems foreign to the U.S. squad.

Other countries have relied on the team concept to take advantage of the U.S. players' ambivalence and "what's-in-it-for-me" attitudes.

In watching the U.S. play, there are times that only one player on the team will touch the ball before a shot is taken.

What makes that effort in the Olympics even more intolerable is their attitudes on and off the court. For the first exhibition game, Captain Allen Iverson, LeBron James and the Phoenix Suns' Amare Stoudemire were suspended for blowing off a practice session.

Then there's the matter of the players not living in the Olympic Village with the other athletes. Instead, they reside on the plush Queen Mary II that's anchored in Piraeus Harbor.

Are they too good, rich and powerful to associate with the other athletes? Isn't the Olympic village experience a big part of the competition?

After watching the U.S. team play, one also has to wonder if the millionaires have the passion, desire and heart it takes to play the game as it was meant to be.

The athletes' nonchalant attitudes and an obvious disregard for the fundamentals of the game make their selfish play tough to watch.

Then there's the whining that seems to go on and on.

After the U.S. lost to Lithuania, former University of Arizona star Richard Jefferson bellyached about the officiating.

"They got it felt like, every single call," he said. "It's like it's us against everybody...they've got everybody on their side."

I've got an idea.

The next time a U.S. game is shown on TV, I'm going to hook up the VCR and slide in the 1986 movie "Hoosiers." Then I'll settle in to watch basketball as it should be played.

Tribe to honor chief

The Tonto Apaches and the Mazatzal Casino will honor one of the tribe's most accomplished members at the Second Annual Melton "Chief" Campbell Memorial Golf Shootout.

The tournament will tee off at 8 a.m. Sept. 11 at Pine Meadow Country Club in Overgaard.

All golf fees, food and prizes will be courtesy of the tribe and the casino. Prizes will be awarded for longest drive, closest-to-the-pin shot and longest putt among both men and women.

The tournament is open to the first 72 tribal members to register. The two-person scramble will begin with a shotgun start and wrap up later in the day at a luncheon and awards ceremony in the casino bingo hall.

For more information about the golf tournament, call Perry Tinnin at (928) 978-5133, Kenny Davis at (928) 978-0739 or Jerry Gramm at (929) 978-8011.

Drop-In Tennis Doubles

Stop by Rumsey Park tennis courts for the last session of drop-in doubles from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26. There is no charge for this program, and adult players of all abilities are welcome.

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