USA Basketball Rumors
Mavericks’ head athletic trainer Dionne Calhoun reached one of his lifelong goals this summer – one that figures to be topped next year. Calhoun was chosen to be on the USA Basketball medical staff for this year’s FIBA World Cup in China and next summer’s Olympic Games in Japan. It’s a two-year commitment that he gladly accepted and that the Mavericks embraced. “It really is a dream come true,” Calhoun said. “It’s something I wanted to do ever since I knew I wanted to (be) in medicine.”
“It was a really great experience,” Calhoun said. “Pop was great. The folks on his staff, Chip Engelland, Ime Udoka, Will Hardy, they were great. Steve Kerr, awesome. Jay Wright from Villanova and Lloyd Pierce, Jeff Van Gundy, P.J. Carleslimo – they were great people, first and foremost, alongside being really talented coaches. “I’ve worked (Tim Grgurich’s) summer camp and the NBA predraft camp and now Team USA. Those are all unique opportunities where you get to spend time with players. You spend a lot of time with them. You’re in the trenches with them. For me, the relationships I’ve built with other players and the other medical staffs, that’s an opportunity you don’t normally get this sport. The experience as a whole is one of those life experiences that you just can’t replace.”
Chris Forsberg: Who did Enes Kanter root for when Turkey played USA? “There is this one side, don’t really want me to be in their country, and one side gave me a home … and four of my brothers are playing for that team. So I was definitely cheering for Team USA.”
USA Basketball has kept its No. 1 spot in the FIBA world men’s rankings, even after a disappointing seventh-place showing in the World Cup that ended earlier this week. It’s now nine years and counting in the top spot for the U.S., which has held the No. 1 ranking since winning the 2010 world championship. World Cup champion Spain stayed No. 2, Australia leaped eight spots to No. 3, World Cup finalist Argentina rose one spot to No. 4 and World Cup bronze medalist France fell two slots to No. 5.
“FIBA made a mistake moving the World Cup into odd years,” David Stern, the former N.B.A. commissioner, recently told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “And as a result, you are asking players to play in the FIBA world championship, play in the season and then play in the Olympics. And I think that pushed a lot of players to feel that they should make a choice between back-to-back years of international competition.”
Utah’s Rudy Gobert and I had a brief chance to chat about this issue — again — after he and his teammates clinched the bronze medal for France in a victory over Australia in FIBA’s third-place game on Sunday. “I wish all the best players would come, but it’s never going to happen,” Gobert said of the modern N.B.A. player’s approach in the Load Management Era. “They think about themselves more than anything — and it’s understandable. It’s a business. We all have families to take care of.”
And the late withdrawals, a list of talent that includes James Harden, Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard? If they want to play next summer? “We’ll deal with those cases individually,” Colangelo said. “It’s important to field as strong a team as possible.” Indeed. When the U.S. suits up its A-Team, it’s unbeatable. In 2016, the U.S. routed Serbia in the gold medal game by 30. The average margin of victory in that Olympic cycle: 22.5 points. In 2020, the schedule is ideal; the Olympics open in late July and conclude in early August. The chance to be part of another Redeem Team should be motivating.