Tuesday, March 31, 2009

USA Players Impressing in McDonald's Practices

The 2009 McDonald's High School All-American Game is coming up fast and the teams are broken down by Rivals.com's Jerry Meyer here and here. Who should you look for in the game? Avery Bradley, DeMarcus Cousins, Abdul Gaddy, Xavier Henry, John Henson, Mason Plumlee, Renardo Sidney are all getting to know each other a little better before suiting up for the USA in the Nike Hoop Summit on April 11. Additionally, Ryan Kelly, Plumlee, Maalik Wayns, David Wear and Travis Wear all competed together on the 2008 USA U18 National Team that brought home the silver medal and qualified the U.S. for this summer's FIBA U19 World Championship.

University of Texas-bound Bradley won the 2009 McDonald's slam dunk contest, defeating Derrick Favors and Plumlee in the process; while Kelly took the 3-point contest with 20 points over Tommy Mason-Griffin's 18 points.

This will mark the last time, for a few years at least, that Kelly and Plumlee will be on opposing teams. Both are headed to Duke to play for 2008 Olympic head coach Mike Krzyzewski ...

Getting To Know The 2009 Nike Hoop Summit Team: Renardo Sidney

At 6-10, 260 Renardo Sidney is one of the biggest bodies on the 2009 USA roster, but don't expect slow play out of the big man. His high school coach is quick to clarify that "He's not one of those clumsy big men," and after just a few YouTube clips, it's obvious he is right. Before Sidney arrives in Portland, Ore., along with his 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit teammates, USABasketball.com talked with Sidney about his focus, his family and his future.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dwight does Beyonce

Ok, this is pretty funny. Olympic gold medalist Dwight Howard does his best Beyonce impersonation. If you're not ROFL, there's something wrong with you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting To Know The 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team: Mike Moser

Mike Moser (Grant H.S. / Portland, Ore.) may be the local kid on the 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit roster, but the rest of the country knows the UCLA-bound forward as one of the nation's best big men. Touted for his length and versatility, Moser talked with USABasketball.com about his high school career, international basketball and why he wants to be a Bruin in the fall.

Kelsey Bone Blogs On Her Track Career

In the summer of 2008, Kelsey Bone helped the USA U18 National Team capture a gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championhip in Buenos Aires. She returned to Dulles High School to help her squad compile a 36-3 record in 2008-09, and now she's blogging for the Houston Chronicle about a track and field career.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Getting to Know The 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team: John Henson

At 6-9, 2009 Nike Hoop Summit team member John Henson is one of the best high school forwards in the country. The future Tar Heel scores from the paint and rebounds as if he has been doing it since junior high. The catch is that he hasn't. In an 18-month span that covered his sophomore and junior seasons, Henson added about six inches to his guard-sized frame and new possibilities to his game.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Getting to Know The 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team: Avery Bradley

Point guard. Shooting guard. Disruptive defender. Avery Bradley (Findlay Prep / Henderson, Nev.) has settled into all three roles as one of the nation's best high school guards, and he may have to play them all as a member of the 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team. The 6-2, 165-pound Bradley and his USA teammates will face a roster of the world's best 19-and-unders in the 2009 Nike Hoop Summit on April 11 at Portland's Rose Garden. When the ball tips that Saturday evening, it will be the USA's seven-game win streak in the Nike Hoop Summit Bradley will work to defend. April 3-5, however, it will be Findlay Prep's perfect 30-0 record on the line at the National High School Invitational in North Bethesda, Md. The leading scorer at Findlay, which moved into the No. 1 spot on USA Today's Super 25 rankings just days ago, talked with USABasketball.com about Findlay's hopes for a national title, his motivation and why he wants to be a Longhorn in the fall.

Courtney Paris' $64,000 Guarantee Still Making Waves

On senior night Courtney Paris, a member of the 2006-08 USA Basketball Women's National Team, told fans that she plans on paying back her scholarship if OU didn't capture the NCAA crown. That's what she came to Sooner country to do and she wouldn't feel right about it if Oklahoma didn't finish atop the heap at the end of March Madness. Her comments are still creating quite a stir, and it seems she's being talked about more for the guarantee of a national title than anything else she accomplished during her last four years at Oklahoma. See it for yourself ...

Candace Parker Gets ESPN Mag Cover

ESPN The Magazine looks at the selling of Candace Parker, 2008 Olympian, WNBA MVP & Rookie of the Year, All-American, etc., etc., etc.

Candace Parker is beautiful. Breathtaking, really, with flawless skin, endless legs and a C cup she is proud of but never flaunts. She is also the best at what she does, a record-setter, a rule-breaker, a redefiner. She is a woman who plays like a man, one of the boys, if the boys had C cups and flawless skin.
The Los Angeles Times agrees that she could be the next big thing.

Reunited ...

Tina Thompson is going home. The Los Angeles native who starred first at Morningside High School and then USC before heading to Houston as the first pick ever in WNBA Draft history, signed with the Sparks. She'll join up with on again, off again teammate Lisa Leslie, as well as USA Olympic and world championship teammate DeLisha Milton-Jones. Thompson was three years behind Leslie at Morningside and the two met up again as teammates for Thompson's freshman season at Southern Cal, Leslie's senior year at the school. They've also competed together on a number of USA Basketball Women's National Teams, most notably the 2004 and 2008 U.S. Olympic Teams.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Renardo Sidney Joins 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team

USA Basketball today announced that 6-10, 270-pound prep standout Renardo Sidney will join the 2009 USA Basketball Men's Junior National Select Team roster following the withdrawal of Derrick Favors. Sidney and the 2009 USA squad will take on the World Select Team in the 12th Annual Nike Hoop Summit at 7 p.m. (PDT) on April 11, at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Green Named SEC All-Rookie

JaMychal Green has had an up and down year, but through it all he's hung tough and was rewarded with a spot on the 2009 SEC All-Freshman Team. Not only that, but he was one of three unanimous picks for the team. We'd like to think that it was that extra training last summer as part of the USA U18 National Team that helped get him ready for the tough SEC play.

Women's Hoops Updates

Olympians ...
Three-time Olympic gold medalist as a player and 2008 U.S. Olympic Team assistant coach Dawn Staley will return to the University of Virginia grounds, where she honed her hoops skills in college, to give valedictory address May 16 at 11 a.m. on the Lawn ... Olympic gold medalists Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles and their former LSU teammate Quianna Chaney are enjoying the perks of living and playing overseas ... Swin Cash underwent back surgery yesterday. She made a video announcement to her fans on her personal site and it's all over the news in Seattle. It would seem the surgery was successful and we all wish Swin a speedy recovery! ... WNBA players worried about cost, rostser cuts.

Additional USA Baskteball Alums:
In the biggest news of the day, Courtney Paris, the 2009 Big 12 Player of the Year, is putting her money where her mouth is. She stated that she'll return her scholarship money to the University of Oklahoma if the Sooners don't win a national championship this season. When she arrived at OU four years ago Courtney had high hopes for the Sooners and has one final shot at her goal. Along the way she's shattered too many NCAA, Big 12 and OU records to list on a single page, she's helped her teams capture Big 12 titles, but the one that has eluded Courtney is the one she wants most. Can the Sooners do it this year? Can they get past UConn, Maryland, Stanford and other top teams? Or will Courtney take out a loan to repay OU? That's the $64,000 question that will be answered four weeks from now ... Doug Bruno gets a lesson in NCAA bracketing ... Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver helped Maryland clinch the ACC regular season and tournament crowns and Maryland fans are prepping for the road to another Final Four ...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Getting to Know The 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team: Mason Plumlee

Mason Plumlee (Christ School / Arden, N.C.) is one of three 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team members with prior USA Basketball experience, and no doubt USA head coach John Olive will expect him to lead by example when the team reports for two days of practice on April 9 in Portland, Ore. But if the past is any indication, the World Select Team will have its hands full with the 6-10 forward who is a proven winner. Plumlee helped the USA to a silver medal at the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Argentina, and he has led his high school team to three state titles and an impressive 99-8 record in his three seasons with Christ School. With his high school season over and the 12th annual Nike Hoop Summit just weeks away, Plumlee talked with USABasketball.com about his USA Basketball experience, his decision to attend Duke University and why his mom's food isn't always his favorite.

Russia League Games Online

If you can handle the choppy download speeds, and understand Russian announcers (or just turn on the mute, but it is pretty fun to listen to them), you can watch games here.

Weekend Updates

Did you hear that USA U18 National Team member JaMychal Green wants to return to the court for USA Basketball this summer? "I haven't heard anything right now but last summer they said the 18-year-old team could come back and try out for the 19-year-old team," Green was quoted in the Montgomery Advertiser. Last summer he started all five games, led the squad in rebounding (8.4 rpg.) and was second only to tournament MVP Kemba Walker in scoring (11.0 ppg.), while logging just under 17 minutes a contest.

Speaking of Walker, he was named to the 2009 Big East All-Rookie Team and is in the running for the Rookie of the Year honor, which will be announced tomorrow.

Travis Releford, who has provided a good spark off the bench for Kansas this season, helped fuel the 83-73 KU victory over Texas for the Big 12 regular season title.

On the women's side, UConn sensation Maya Moore, who won gold medals with the USA's 2006 U18 National Team and also helped the U.S. to gold at the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship, earned her second Big East Player of the Year honor. And remember, this amazing student-athlete is just a sophomore. Additionally, former USA Basketball coach Geno Auriemma collected yet another Big East coaching honor. Read what they're saying about Maya's second Big East Player of the Year award:

Cousins Verbals to Memphis

While on an unofficial visit to the University of Memphis this past weekend, DeMarcus Cousins verbally committed to play for the Tigers next fall. Could there be three future Tigers on the 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit roster? Memphis already has signed Xavier Henry, and the school is still in the hunt for point guard John Wall.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sue Bird Checks in from Russia

Sue Bird, who has been busy attempting to defend Spartak Moscow Region's EuroLeague and Russia Super League titles, checked in with the Seattle Storm via email.

Maalik Wayns Cleared to Play ... Just in Time!

2008 USA U18 National Team member Maalik Wayns had knee surgery this season and has been given the go-ahead to play for his Roman Catholic High squad in the upcoming state tournament. He could be a little rusty, but given Wayns' penchant for competition we're pretty sure he'll be better than most out there on the hardwood.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Getting to Know The 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team: Xavier Henry

Ask Xavier Henry (Putnam City H.S. / Oklahoma City, Okla.) to describe his game on the basketball court, and his answer is suprisingly direct. The 6-5 forward will tell you his is a talented scorer who hates to lose. And it just may be that confidence that has earned him one of 10 coveted spots on the 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team.