HoopsHype Team USA rumors

September 14, 2014 Updates

Since starting the national program in 2007 that was previously Serbia and Montenegro, this group has never faced the Americans. Nor have they won an international tournament, with a second-place finish in the 2009 Eurobasket and a fourth-place finish in the 2010 FIBA tournament as top showings. "They have a lot at stake here I feel, and they're outspoken about it," Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo told USA TODAY Sports about Serbia. "This is their opportunity they've been waiting for, and they have a dream. But so do we, so it works both ways." USA Today Sports

"They're probably the hottest team, and they're playing at a high level," USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Serbia. "They have stars on their team, and Teodosic, I loved him when I saw him in the World Championships in '10, Bogdanovic is a rising star. Their big guys (including former NBA big man Nenad Krstic) are good, they're well coached, and they're strong. They can hurt you from many different positions. "They're just playing great basketball right now. Actually, it's beautiful to see. I hope I don't see that beauty tomorrow night." USA Today Sports

Pistons center Andre Drummond was an active participant in the practice’s final 15 minutes, open to the media, shooting free throws and working one-on-one with U.S. assistant coach Andre Griffin. “We’ve played hard this whole tournament and have given it our all,” Drummond told the Free Press after Saturday’s practice. “We’re excited to be here and we’re mentally ready for this game.” Detroit Free Press

Gordon Hayward: It was great being able to work with some of the talented players and coaches on the team. Coach Krzyzewski and Coach Thibodeau are very detail oriented — very similar to Brad Stevens, my coach at Butler. They make sure you’re focused on everything being sharp and precise. When we practiced, they weren’t necessarily long practices, but it was intense. I like that. When you practice, it should be focused and tough training. I got great feedback from the coaches, and that’s was definitely a confidence booster. Those guys are really well respected. To have them pay you a compliment is a pretty big deal. They’ve been around the best ever to do it. I also picked up a lot playing with some of the great players on the team. It’s not a situation where you go up to a guy and ask him to show you something, but you can view them from afar when they’re training. After practices, everyone kind of went and did an individual workout on their own, so you can pick up little things that guys are doing. Gordon Hayward

That said, I did bring my laptop, and was able to game a little bit. Klay told me that one of his best friends is real big into League of Legends, which is something I’m big into as well. No one else in the league really plays computer games like I do. A lot of them of are big into FIFA and NBA2K, which I do play, but I didn’t get into any of that while they were playing during camp. I had my laptop and just turned it on to play when I had a chance. Gordon Hayward

Faried and the U.S. fighting off the favorite’s tag now seems a bit preposterous, what with the way the U.S. National Team has mowed down the competition. They’ve won their eight games leading up to this point by an average of 32.5 points, a number skewed a bit by the 59-point blowout of Finland in their opener. “I never knew we were a heavy favorite,” Faried said. “That surprises me because before, when we first started, everybody said we were going to lose and we’re not that good. So as far as being a heavy favorite, we just have to take that for what it is and go out there like we’re the underdogs still.” NBA.com

September 13, 2014 Updates

In fact, Rose, on the eve of Team USA's gold medal match vs. Serbia, called his FIBA World Cup an unqualified success. "I would give it an A in my mind," Rose said. "Just coming off of what I had to go through and actually getting a spot on the USA team after missing two years of basketball? Like, c’mon man. It shows that I at least worked somewhere and hard work pays off. If anything, it gives me more confidence to head into the regular season." Chicago Tribune

Gay took a vicious elbow to the top of his mouth in the third quarter of Team USA's Thursday win over Lithuania, and the damage done will be coming home with even after Sunday's gold medal game against Serbia in this FIBA World Cup comes to an end. "I've got a fracture in my jaw, a broken tooth and am going to probably need a root canal," Gay told USA TODAY Sports. "The top is where I got hit. It's painful. It's uncomfortable, and it still bleeds, so I've got to continuously gargle. It is what it is, man." USA Today Sports

What it was, as Gay sees it, was an unnecessary play that he was sure to voice his opinion about at the time. While Gay had to leave the game because of the hit, he spoke up in the handshake line after the game. That sparked a shouting match between the two teams, included USA coach Mike Krzyzewski waving his arms amid the chaos and trying to play peacemaker. "I think (the elbow) had a little bit to do with (the situation afterward)," Gay said. "It was a dirty play, man. It was a dirty play." USA Today Sports

And when all the pressure is on the other team, as it will be for the United States on Sunday, it can be an enormous equalizer. Just ask Spain. “We’re not going to be scared, for sure,” Krstic said. “Some players never get this chance — the chance to do something great in our lives.” SheridanHoops

Do yourself a favor and turn off the football for two hours and see what happens. When the Serbs are involved in a gold medal game, you really never know what you are going to get. “If they beat us, when it is over I will shake their hands,” Djordjevic told me. “But we are going to play our game.” SheridanHoops

September 12, 2014 Updates

Q: So guys were really weren't mad or disappointed when Durant removed himself from the roster? Kenneth Faried: No. We all understood. We respected his decision. We said: "Get your rest and we'll see you in the regular season. But we still want to go after this gold right here and get this World Cup." ESPN.com

The players were mostly politically correct in discussing the unexpected exit of the Spaniards, but they had to be as surprised by the development as the rest of us. Kyrie Irving, for one, said he welcomed the fact that the questions about Spain would finally come to an end. "I mean, you know, obviously everybody wanted to see us play Spain, but we're not, so those questions can go out the window," he said. "It's all about Serbia and France, and we're going to prepare as best we can." USA Today Sports

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