Team USA Basketball Comes to Staples Center
The hottest tour this summer- it’s not Coldplay, Adele or Beyonce. It’s the USA Basketball Showcase presented by Verizon, Sunday July 24th, at 5:00 pm, this exhibition vs Team China is a tune-up for the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics.
Los Angeles is fortunate to catch a glimpse of Team USA before heading to Rio de Janeiro. Las Vegas is where they train, and hold exhibition games, LA sports fans will be filled with Olympic pride strolling past Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes en route to the game.
Postgame, the departing sea of people exiting Staples will be shouting,”U-S-A, U-S-A!” that will drown out the Figueroa traffic.
The 12 players representing Team USA are a healthy mix of returning faces, new comers and even a few surprises who are looking to deliver the U.S. Olympics Men’s Basketball Team it’s third consecutive gold medal.
Los Angeles Clippers Center DeAndre Jordan, who collected All-NBA First Team honors, earned a spot on the roster for his shot blocking prowess and swarming defense. “He is a world class athlete, defender and great teammate,” said Team USA Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin wanted to participate, but due to injuries sustained during this year’s playoffs, they were forced to decline the invitation. The NBA’s two biggest stars: LeBron James and Steph Curry will also skip the Olympics after a long grueling season which concluded with an epic 7-game NBA Finals.
Despite their absence, this group is expected to bring home gold. They have skill and depth at every position. While this is no ‘Dream Team’, the defense this squad possesses is second to none.
The 12 players representing the Red, White and Blue are: Carmelo Anthony, Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, DeMar DeRozan( from Compton, he went to USC), Kevin Durant, Paul George, Draymond Green, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Kyle Lowry and Klay Thompson.
“I think I can speak for the entire coaching staff and say we’re extremely excited about the team we will field for Rio de Janeiro 2016,” said Jerry Colangelo. Since 2005, he has served as the Managing Director of Team USA Basketball.
Team USA will feature two players who won gold in London in 2012. Kevin Durant, the newest Golden State Warrior, (in some circles seen as a villain), and Carmelo Anthony. Durant led the U. S. with 19.5 points per game, as for Melo, he will make history by being the first male basketball player play in four Olympic games.
This is a relatively young roster, the average age is 27. Team USA trained in Las Vegas this past week, followed by an exhibition game vs. Team Argentina on Friday, at the new, stunning T-Mobile Arena.
This will be Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final Olympics. He has compiled an outstanding 75-1 record during his tenure, including two gold medals in 2008 and 2012.
Its the event of a lifetime for basketball fans to see all this superstar talent under one roof. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit: www.usab.com/showcase.
Dodgers Ace Clayton Kershaw Might Need Surgery
The Los Angeles Dodgers hopes for October glory may have been derailed, when Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts announced Wednesday Cy Young pitcher Clayton Kershaw, may need season ending surgery.
Kershaw has a herniated disk in his lower back that has put him on the DL since June 26th. ” I think the way it flared up, it is more of an indication that surgery is more of a possibility, but were still hopeful he’ll return this season,” said Roberts.
The ‘Flare’ up the Dodgers skipper is referring to occurred during a bullpen session on Saturday. Kershaw threw 60 pitches prior to feeling stiffness in his back. The injury has been nagging Kershaw for yeas now. The Blue Crew is used to this.
Although the injury bug has decimated the club, they find themselves 1 game up in the NL Wild Card, and 4 back of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
The Dodgers are riding Kershaw’s back, literally. He has an MLB leading ERA 1.79 and 145 K’s. Many don’t want to rush him back, concerned for his future. The New York Mets had to pull the plug on their ace, Matt Harvey, earlier this summer.
The Boys in Blue have a lot to think about.
PAC-12 Media Day Goes Hollywood
In the heart of Hollywood just steps away from the Walk of Fame, the PAC-12 conference took over Hollywood & Highland for the PAC-12 Media Day on Thursday, July 14th and Friday, July 15th. The mall was transformed into a stadium; complete with an AstroTurf mini-field and a beautifully constructed stage courtesy of the PAC-12 Network.
Players and coaches from all twelve schools participated in this year’s festivities. These included the water bottle toss- which drew laughs and frivolity from all involved. Cal won this now suddenly important contest as a lighthearted camaraderie permeated the air.
This in stark contrast to typical college football media days. The annual event usually takes place at lavish hotels, where coaches conduct endless interviews similar to a press junket for the next summer blockbuster.
The PAC-12 did an exceptional job turning Media Day 2016 into a fun, fan-friendly experience. Some of the conferences best players were delighted to meet eager fans, take selfies and show off their arm strength by chucking T-shirts into the outstretched arms of shoppers on the third floor.
Super Bruins fan who goes by the moniker, ‘Jimmy’-showed up early both days in a well-worn vintage UCLA jacket. His loyalty on display, not bothered by the sweltering heat.He’s been a fan for more than fifty years, “I came out here to support Mora, he’s the best coach this schools had in ages,” he said.
Much like spring training in baseball, spring hopes eternal for all 12 schools at this point. Locally, USC and UCLA will both field strong teams with the Bruin’s projected to win the PAC-12 South, followed closely by the Trojans. Day one featured new USC head coach, Clay Helton held court with the media. He is shedding the interim label from last year, after replacing Steve Sarkisian mid-season, leading the Trojans to a PAC -12 South title.
He looked comfortable discussing the Trojans prospects this year. Helton’s first major decision is naming a starting Quarterback after the talented Cody Kessler was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. His two choices are Redshirt Junior Max Browne, and freshman Sam Darnold.
USC and UCLA both open the season on the road against tough SEC opponents.
Their first opponent is the defending national champion, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Certainly no one can accuse USC of a weak pre-season schedule this season, as in previous years. The game will be played on September 3rd, at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The mighty Crimson Tide are nearly impossible to beat, however, a Trojans upset victory would put them right back on the national map.
Day two belonged to the Bruin’s and head coach, Jim Mora. A dark cloud hung over the room as Mora opened the press conference by addressing the ongoing sexual abuse scandal at Penn State, particularly involving current UCLA Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley.
Bradley was a player and coach at Penn State for thirty seven years, when last week court documents reveled that Bradley may have known about Jerry Sandusky’s actions dating back to the late 1980’s.
Mora stood fiercely behind Bradley. “I know this about Tom: he is a man of integrity, he’s been vetted by a number of people including UCLA, it took us a long time to hire him because the university takes these things very seriously,” said Mora.
Mora also announced the defense will be switching to a 4-3 scheme, abandoning the old 3-4. In addition, they will only spend one week this summer in the grueling San Bernardino heat. Mora brought Offensive Lineman Conor McDermott and Linebacker Jayon Brown with him to media day. Where was Josh Rosen?
The Bruins All-American Quarterback was the focal point of the event, even in his absence. Mora maintains he selects upper-classman to represent the Bruin’s at functions, but the crowd was disappointed the most popular Bruin wasn’t there.
The Sophomore had incredible numbers lhis Freshman season.Throwing 23 touchdowns, and piling up 3,668 yard in the air. The Bruins will also be dancing the Texas-two step when they begin their 2016 campaign, visiting the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday, September 3rd. In an ironic twist, the Bruin’s will meet their former coach, Noel Mazzone. The former UCLA Offensive Coordinator left Westwood this year for the same position at College Station.
LA can’t wait for football, and we ain’t talking about the Rams!