Tag Archives: Team USA

It’s Good to Be a Duke Basketball Player

In an interview with The Chronicle today, sophomores Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler revealed that the entire team got together early Sunday morning to watch the USA take on Spain for the gold medal with a fully catered hot breakfast from Mad Hatters at 2:30 a.m. I’m pretty sure there isn’t another student group on campus that would get that sort of royal food treatment. The highlight of the after-hours feast, they say? French toast.

With Coach K scheduled to arrive at RDU this evening around 5 p.m., the team will be meeting him at his home later tonight to welcome him back to Durham.

—by Meredith Shiner

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Filed under Men's Basketball, Olympics

Sports Blog’s July Wordle

Lots of news around these parts: Team USA romped over Australia this morning, Reggie Love was featured in an E:60 story last night, 1,700 freshmen moved into East Campus dorms yesterday. We’ll bring you more news in the coming days when daily production starts again (orientation issue Friday, normal schedule begins Monday), but before the grind, we decided to break it up and provide you with The Chronicle’s Sports Blog’s first Wordle, which is described on its own site as a “toy for generating word clouds from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.”

What better way to experiment with this new “toy” that put it to the test? We submitted the URL for the collection of July posts, and here’s what Wordle spit out.

Consider this a new monthly feature: on the 1st of every month, we’ll show you the Wordle for the previous month. Don’t forget to keep us on schedule.

If there are any other tricks out there that you’d like us to incorporate, don’t forget to drop us a line, either in the comments section below or by e-mailing Sports Editor Ben Cohen at bzc2@duke.edu.

by Ben Cohen

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Filed under Alumni, Olympics, Uncategorized

Is This Redeem Team Really A Dream Team?

The New York Times’ coverage of these Olympics has been expansive and prolific, from their Olympics blog to their print edition and everything in between (I suppose that’s what happens when you have 32 reporters in Beijing). At Rings today, Team USA (and college basketball) beat writer Pete Thamel, following the lead of Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel, proposes whether the 1992 Dream Team, widely acknowledged to be the best collection of basketball talent ever assembled, would be able to beat this 2008 team, commonly known as the Redeem Team after the failures in 2004.

But here’s another wrinkle to this question: If you believe that this year’s team, coached by Mike Krzyzewski, could handle Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, then wouldn’t the title of “Redeem Team” no longer be appropriate? Dream Team may be a cliche applied to every American basketball team whose captain isn’t Allen Iverson, but it seems unfair to label this team anything but.

All summer long, the defining traits of this team have been exhausted. Team USA Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and Krzyzewski have made the team a three-year commitment to emphasize the importance of bringing back gold; Krzyzewski has supposedly instilled a sense of humility and stripped the team of its American arrogance; the players have, finally, taken pride in their defense and have converted steals, blocks and stops into high-flying dunks. But now, after mundane routs of formidable opponents Greece and Spain, this year’s Team USA may be remembered for the enormous amount of skill. The question, for me, isn’t whether the 1992 Dream Team would beat the 2008 Redeem Team. If Kobe Bryant and LeBron James could handle Jordan and Magic, then why can’t this year’s team be the Dream Team instead?

What do you think: Who would win? Is this team a Dream Team, or a Redeem Team? Or, in a titling situation we haven’t covered, does its identity rest in a combination of the two?

–by Ben Cohen

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Filed under Men's Basketball, Olympics

Posnanski Flunks Krzyzewski

The Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnanski is perhaps the best-regarded sports columnist (and blogger!) in the country, which is why his latest column from Beijing is relevant–that, and it’s the sharpest rebuke of Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski yet. Posnanski’s column, “Give Coach K an F for diplomacy,” criticizes Krzyzewski for belittling a foreign reporter who asked the Duke head coach why Team USA felt the need to dunk even in garbage time of its 101-70 win over China Sunday.

“There was no showing off,” Krzyzewski said before glaring at the reporter. “You dunk when you have to dunk. They have 7-footers. If you don’t take it hard, Yao would block it. He did block one…. I don’t know your definition of showing off, to me that’s hard basketball. I thought we played very hard. I thought we took it to the basket hard. Don’t confuse hard with showing off.” Continue reading

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Filed under Media, Men's Basketball, Olympics

Team USA Cruises Past China

GENEVA — While many members of the working media toiled in Beijing, I watched Team USA’s 101-70 romp over China Sunday afternoon at  Mr. Pickwick’s Pub here in Switzerland, a country with a decidedly sparse basketball history. I’m here for six weeks on a study abroad program, but wasn’t going to miss Mike Krzyzewski and Team USA’s opening game, so a group of six Dukies (including me) trekked to this English-speaking bar, which showed Eurosport’s coverage of the game on about six televisions. We chose a large table with a view of the big-screen projector about 30 seconds before Dwight Howard and Yao Ming jumped for the opening tip.

A sparse crowd filled Mr. Pickwick's Pub in Geneva, Switzerland to watch Team USA beat China, 101-70, in its first Olympic game Sunday.

A sparse crowd filled Mr. Pickwick's Pub in Geneva, Switzerland to watch Team USA beat China, 101-70, in its first Olympic game Sunday.

There is plenty of vitriol for U.S. basketball analysts floating around the Internet, but almost every play-by-play or color announcer would be better than Eurosport’s team, which sounded like it was transported directly from a soccer stadium and given a print-out of Wikipedia’s basketball entry. The language was bulky and acumen of the game was akin to a fifth-grader in the Triangle, but, more than anything, the repeated botching of players’ names was frustrating. Chris Bosh or Dwight Howard were mistaken for Carlos Boozer multiple times, even though the former Duke star didn’t play much until garbage time, and one time, the play-by-play man referred to Deron Williams as “Der-EEN.”

It was certainly interesting, though, to hear and see the depiction of Krzyzewski here in Europe. Granted, we didn’t see the introduction of starting lineups, but I didn’t hear a reference to Krzyzewski as Duke’s coach–not even one. Moreover, assistant coach Jim Boeheim was referred to as Syracuse’s coach, and the announcers might have mentioned his name more than Krzyzewski’s–that is, when they weren’t mispronouncing Coach K’s last name. Perhaps it was different in the United States or even in China, but at least for right now, it seems that Krzyzewski’s implicit connection with Duke might not be as stressed as I previously thought.

I’ll try to get back to Pickwick’s Tuesday, when the Americans play Angola, and offer another report on across-the-pond depictions of Team USA and Krzyzewski, both from bargoers and media members.

–by Ben Cohen

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Ward Takes Duke’s First Medal

While her classmates shop for twin extra-long sheets and peruse potential pals on Facebook, Rebecca Ward’s college preparation has been a bit, um, unique. She took a vacation. To Beijing. To compete in the Olympics. And yesterday, the incoming freshman fencer won the bronze medal in the women’s individual saber, earning Duke’s first medal of these Games.

Ward, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the semifinals by her fellow American and fifth-seeded teammate Mariel Zagunis, who went on to win the gold, and the pain from the unexpected loss still lingered in her third-place bout, as she fell behind 6-1 in the first-to-15 fight. But Ward finally regained her composure and took five straight points to eventually take the lead at 13-11. After her opponent, Russia’s Sofiya Velikaya, tied it at 13, Ward won two of the last three points to secure the prize.

She still has a chance to win another medal in the team saber competition, which spans Aug. 13 and 14 on the East Coast. And after that, she only has five days until she moves in to her East Campus dorm.

Also in competition today is Team USA, led by Mike Krzyzewski, against China at 4:15 EST.

–by Ben Cohen

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Exclusive Interview With Coach K: Day 4

This is the fourth of five clips of a June 17 exclusive interview with Mike Krzyzewski that The Chronicle will post this week (the last will come at midnight Friday). In this excerpt, Coach K talks about the growing politics of the 2008 Olympics and how he and Team USA will respond.

COMING FRIDAY: Learn more about what Coach K calls his “last big project” at Duke. Any guesses? Leave them in the comments section below.

–by Ben Cohen

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