HoopsHype World Cup rumors

September 12, 2014 Updates

It only took three days for Robin Lopez to fall in love with the Philippines, so much so that the American NBA center has presented himself as another naturalization candidate for the country's basketball team. “If the whole Andray Blatche thing doesn’t work out, I’m here for Gilas,” Lopez said on Thursday after conducting a training camp organized by Gatorade and NBA Philippines at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong. “I don’t wish any harm to come to Dray because obviously he’s played his heart out for that team and he’s a great fit,” the Portland Trail Blazer said, referring to Blatche, who reinforced Gilas as a naturalized Filipino in the recent Fiba World Cup. Sports Interactive Network Philippines

September 11, 2014 Updates

But over in Spain, where the U.S. will play for the FIBA World Cup title on Sunday, Mike Krzyzewski believes he has the answer. It is a bit sentimental, but to this point, you can't argue with the results. He calls it "feel-it" moments: team visits to cemeteries, trips to military bases, anything to drive home the significance of representing one's country. "When it's time to change the culture of a team, your players have to hear it, see it and understand what you're trying to do," said Krzyzewski, the coach of the U.S. national team since 2005. "But to really make change stick"—and when he describes this, he drags out the word really—"they have to feel it. "To do that," he said, "you have to create moments." Wall Street Journal

Beyond hiring Krzyzewski as coach in the wake of the Athens debacle, USA Basketball also made a point of getting its players to buy into the meaning of international competition. "We knew we had ask our players for a new level of commitment than was expected previously and we had to get them to realize we weren't going to win international competitions doing things as we had," Colangelo said. "We needed them to see themselves not as basketball players but as representatives of our country, doing our service, our piece. We had to get them to feel patriotism and selfless service." Wall Street Journal

Jonas Valanciunas gave DeMarcus Cousins an elbow to the throat while boxing out. Boogie reacted and almost punched Valanciunas in the back of the head. Cousins got a technical. Valanciunas got… to watch his back when the Raptors play the Kings next season. Amazingly, this can be considered restraint and a sign of maturity on the part of Boogie Cousins. A year ago, he might have thrown a punch. Make no mistake, the FIBA officials are decidedly bad. USA leads 43-35 at the half. The Big Lead

Spain's guards didn't adjust by looking for Pau and Marc Gasol in the post enough, and then compounded that by missing all but two of their 22 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. "Everyone thought we had won this before it started, but we didn't prepare well for the game and were trying to play catchup the entire way," Spain guard Juan Carlos Navarro said. "They prepared better than we did. We relied on doing what we always do, defend and get out on the break, but our shots didn't fall, and they played with a lot of poise." Boston Herald

It also turns this inaugural World Cup -- sporting that new name FIBA hopes will lend the event more stature -- into a tournament that will likely be remembered as the end of an era for not one but two international powers: Argentina and those very same Spaniards. It's hard to imagine Pau Gasol, Jose Calderon and Juan Carlos Navarro coming back to the national team for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil ... especially after the hell they'll catch for failing to deliver this time when hopes were so high. It's also fair to wonder how much they'd be able to offer at that point even if they did return. It thus seems safe to suggest that Spain, even if it can still field Marc Gasol, Rudy Fernandez and Ricky Rubio in Rio, will no longer be the same force Team USA has come to expect (and respect) since Spain won the 2006 World Championship in Japan. ESPN.com

The result could have some influence on Brazil's Olympic bid in 2016, when it will host the event in Rio. FIBA officials in Madrid confirmed to ESPN.com that Brazil has not yet been awarded a berth in its own Olympics with a proposal on the issue to be put before the governing body's board next spring. The team might have to qualify via next summer's FIBA Americas Championship. "It's very sad because we know we could have gone further but we didn't," Barbosa said. "We have a great team. Right now, we lost but we're still together. This was just a bad day." "If it's in our hands we will take this," Teodosic said. "We will not give it away. If we have a chance in the semifinal, we want to go on." ESPN.com

September 10, 2014 Updates

Mike McGraw: There will be no USA vs. Spain at FIBA World Cup. Spain loses to France 65-52. Semis are USA-Lithuania on Thu and France-Serbia on Fri. Twitter @McGrawDHBulls

The popular narrative, which was relayed to him after Wednesday's practice, is that teams such as Lithuania and Spain have the formidable frontcourts to slow the USA's group of Faried, Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings) and Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets). Faried disagrees. "That's what's going around?" Faried asked with a quizzical look. "That's massively disrespectful. I'm not buying that at all. We'll just have to see tomorrow, I guess." USA Today Sports

"I think we've played well," Krzyzewski said. "I don't know what everybody has been watching, but our guys have played our butts off, have great camaraderie. "We've developed into a really close group, a good group. If we don't win, it won't be because we haven't put the effort and developed the camaraderie and all that kind of stuff. We're proving worthy of winning. Now whether we do or not ..." USA Today Sports

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