Friday, July 9, 2010
The U.S. Select team is thoroughly good
By Eamonn Brennan
College hoops has its own Dream Team. It's true: In advance of FIBA World Championships, the real Dream Team -- featuring the starting five of the Miami Heat, and some other dudes who are OK, too -- has to practice against somebody, and those somebodies are the U.S. Basketball Select team, a composition of the best college hoops players around. Which means the U.S. Basketball Select team, while not quite as mind-blowingly awesome as the crew that features some guy who made some decision that made every sports fan in the world feel like they needed a shower Thursday night, is still pretty awesome in its own right.
The 20-man roster is here. Pretty good, right? The question now is how to organize that 20-man talent into a starting lineup and rotation.
You could make the argument that Smith deserves a starting nod, given his performance in the NCAA tournament and his more natural point guard skills; Pullen is a bit more of a scorer, and the squad has plenty of that already. But Pullen can handle the ball as well as anyone, and there's no denying his talent, so this sounds about right.
Mike Miller makes another excellent point. As it stands, Singler is not only this team's best player, but its most versatile and therefore most invaluable. Morris and Johnson and Dunn and Pullen are all pretty position-specific guys. But Singler can play any of the forward positions and has the range to stretch the floor as a three. Plugging him in and out of a guard-heavy lineup is a major advantage.
Another semi-interesting thing about this team: Lorenzo Romar and Jay Wright are its coaches. Both guys like their teams to play a free-flowing, guard-heavy, offensive style. With that starting five's speed and versatility -- even Johnson can step out and hit perimeter jumpers -- it's easy to envision this group relentlessly pushing the ball and scoring from all angles like the Phoenix Suns. I would love to watch this team play.
Anyway, can the Selects beat Mr. Vitamin Water and his merry band of amazing millionaires? No. They can't. But if you have to practice against anybody, you could do worse than this group.