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Author Topic: • Players & Professional Basketball Scouting • Jugadores & el Scouting Profesional del Baloncesto  (Read 131669 times)
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Posts: 299

« Reply #2 on: Jul 25, 2012, 10:41:19 PM »

About Basketball Players & Professional Scouting • Sobre Jugadores de Baloncesto & el Scouting Profesional

Scouting for Africa: What next for Mali ?

Mali's women's national team left Ankara, the stage of the 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women (OQTW), damaged and with more uncertainty for upcoming events than ever.

Most Mali overseas-based professional players did not show up to represent the country in the Turkish capital amid speculations of a boycott, and no one knows whether they will return.

This allegation raised my curiosity and I decided to find out more about why Mali played the OQTW with a 11-player team including Nassira Traore, Adizatou Maiga and Diana Gandega, the three remaining players from last year’s Afrobasket team who finished third at home.

In response to the absence of major high-profile names, the national federation named rising and promising players Fanta Guindo, 18, and Aminata Traore, 16.

Mali were eliminated in the Preliminary Round of the OQTW as they suffered big margin defeats against both Canada (89-23) and France (87-33).

In the African context, Mali's women's national team have enjoyed relative success in continental championships, including a gold medal, a silver and two bronze at senior categories.

Nassira Traore, arguably the most experienced player in the squad, led the team with 10.5 points per game in Ankara.

However, this time she was denied a repeat of her 2008 Olympic experience.

While in Ankara, I caught up with Nassira Traore, Mali Basketball Federation Secretary General Salamatou Maiga and head coach Michel Perrin on separate occasions. Below is what they had to say.

Nassira Traore
Chitunda: Tell me about this Olympic Qualifying Tournament experience.

Traore: It was great, especially as we played against tremendous players such as [Sandrine] Gruda and [Isabelle] Yacoubou.

Chitunda: I appreciate that you had an inexperienced team. But missing very easy buckets, turning the ball over inexplicably has little to do with experience.
Traore: This is because we lacked more practicing time.

Chitunda: Sometimes I had the impression that the team did not understand what coach Perrin was asking them to do.
Traore: That is because he is a new coach for most of us.

Chitunda: Can you describe the young players’ contribution to the team?
Traore: They have tried their best. This is what they have been asked to do.

Chitunda: There were nine players missing from last year’s Afrobasket.
Traore: Honestly, we missed them a lot. This made our games even harder.
Salamatou Maiga
Chitunda: What are your thoughts on Mali’s performance at the OQTW?

Maiga: We came to Ankara to prepare for the 2013 Afrobasket. We did not come here to get qualified.

Chitunda: As far as I am aware the OQTW is not a preparation tournament, do you agree?
Maiga: You are right. However we knew we were not going to get qualified, that’s why we brought a young team to prepare the future of our national team. We finished third [2011 Afrobasket] and we came [to the OQTW], whereas Senegal [runner-up] didn’t. No, there was not any boycott. They have not refused to play for our national team. Most of them had just finished their professional seasons overseas, and they needed some rest. So we wanted to give a chance to our young players.

Chitunda: What expectations do you have for the 2013 Afrobasket should Mali professional players not join the national team?
Maiga: Being young does not mean that you cannot compete. If they do not come we will play with the same team. Let me give you an example. Back in years, Angola started with a young team. They are now an established team.

Chitunda: Will Michel Perrin remain with the national team?
Maiga: We have not decided it yet.

Chitunda: Does the current political turmoil in Mali affect the sports in the country?
Maiga: Politics and sports are two different matters. The political situation in our country cannot stop us doing sports.
Michel Perrin
Chitunda: Some times during the games I saw you shaking your head. Was that a sign of frustration?

Perrin: Yes, it was frustration. Some of these players make inacceptable mistakes, for example, they forget to make a screen, or a rotation. They forget details that make a difference in basketball. I will stay with the team if the conditions are sorted out. I cannot work in the same conditions and I hope we may have better conditions. I know that Mali has a lot of conditions to do a great basketball work and win the Africa championship.

Chitunda: What were expectations when you signed a contract with Mali?
Perrin: Three months ago, we expected to have a proper preparation and bring our best players. Unfortunately the political turmoil began in the country, and this is something that none expected. It is not the federation’s fault. I must admit that the federation are trustable as they have been honesty to me throughout.

Chitunda: Have you contacted the missing players?
Perrin: Yes, I have. We have to resolve it inside [with the federation], as we will need to see and talk and find out what is going on.
As I met Nassira, Salamatou and coach Perrin, I got the impression that should Mali's Federation remain with such unsolved issues, this may be the declining point of an African giant, leaving a question - what next for Mali?

Julio Chitunda from FIBA

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Posts: 299

« Reply #1 on: Oct 02, 2010, 11:00:53 PM »

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« on: Aug 11, 2010, 05:13:04 AM »

About Basketball Players & Professional Scouting • Sobre Jugadores de Baloncesto & el Scouting Profesional

Collegians Were the Olympic Basketball Show in 1960

Let me tell you about the original Dream Team, the 1960 United States Olympic gold medalist basketball team coached by Pete Newell, with Jerry West and me as the co-captains.

Fifty years after our triumph in Rome, that team will assemble again on Friday in Springfield, Mass., for enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — along with the 1992 gold medalists, who had the Dream Team name bestowed upon them when they competed.

Our team represented a changing of the guard for the United States in Olympic competition, just as the 1992 team did when N.B.A. players represented this country for the first time. Instead of Amateur Athletic Union players, our team came primarily from the college ranks.

As young as we were, with no professional experience and only three of us having previously played together, we represented the United States as well as any other team in history.

In Newell, we had one of the greatest teachers and coaches ever. He would generally figure out a way to beat you, regardless of the talent on his teams.

We had speed, quickness and stamina, played stifling defense, and rebounded at both ends of the court. We averaged 102 points and held our opponents to fewer than 60. We played textbook basketball, blocking out under the boards, setting picks for each other, moving without the ball to get open for good shots. Everyone played his role. (The importance of a strong bench with unselfish role players is lost on many teams today.)

I didn’t need to score 33 points a game, as I had at the University of Cincinnati, and I preferred looking to pass first, anyway, and get everyone involved in the offense. Terry Dischinger, Jerry Lucas and West were particularly adept at getting open. Five players averaged in double figures (17 for Lucas and me, West at 13.8, Dischinger at 11.8, Adrian Smith at 10.9).

Our nightly “clinics” in Rome accelerated the development of basketball programs in other countries. Newell later taught the game around the world, generally without pay.

We were seriously challenged only once, in our sixth Olympic game, when the Soviet Union drew as close as 7 at halftime. (This was at the height of the cold war, with huge pressure on both teams to win.) Newell did not trust the officiating in a close game, so we opened the second half by smothering the Soviets with a full-court press and simultaneously went on a 25-1 tear. We won, 81-57. Then we beat Italy, 112-81, and then Brazil by 90-63 for the gold.

How this team got to Rome was a story in itself. In 1960, USA Basketball did not exist to coordinate the selection process. A.A.U. officials had made the selections since 1936, when basketball became an Olympic sport. The A.A.U. players were amateurs in name only. They worked for companies — like Goodyear, Vickers Aviation, Caterpillar or Phillips 66 — that had National Industrial Basketball League teams. The N.B.A. did not pay well and offered no benefits. For many college graduates, A.A.U. basketball was the better option.

In the Olympic tryouts, Newell’s team of N.C.A.A. all-stars ended A.A.U. domination. We routed their strongest teams — Goodyear, Phillips and Caterpillar — but even then, Newell was not permitted to choose all the collegians he wanted. There was no room for John Havlicek, Tom Sanders, Lenny Wilkens or others who went on to N.B.A. stardom.

Besides me, our team’s collegians were the seniors West (West Virginia) and Jay Arnette (Texas), all of whom could play guard or forward; the sophomores Dischinger (Purdue), at 19 our youngest player, and Lucas (from Ohio State’s 1960 national championship team) at forward; and the junior Walt Bellamy (Indiana) and the senior Darrall Imhoff (the anchor of Newell’s 1959 California champions) at center. Lucas also periodically played center.

Smith, a speedy guard from Kentucky’s 1958 championship team who could score from 30 feet, represented the Armed Forces all-stars. He, West and I played on the 1959 Pan American Games team. Smith was most valuable player of the 1966 N.B.A. All-Star Game, and he still has the car he won for that honor.

From the A.A.U. came forwards Bob Boozer (Peoria Caterpillars), an all-American at Kansas State who delayed his N.B.A. career for Olympic eligibility, and Burdette Haldorson (Phillips Oilers, University of Colorado), who had also played for the 1956 gold medalists; the starting guard Les Lane (Wichita Vickers), also a former defensive back for Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma; and Allen Kelley (Peoria), a guard from Kansas’ 1952 national champions.

The 1960 Olympic team sent nine players to the N.B.A. Boozer, Smith, Arnette and Lucas were my teammates on the 1964 Cincinnati Royals, the only franchise ever with five Olympic gold medalists. Boozer later joined me on the 1971 N.B.A. champion Milwaukee Bucks. West won an N.B.A. title with the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers and Lucas with the 1973 Knicks. I was N.B.A. rookie of the year in 1961, Bellamy in 1962, Dischinger in 1963 and Lucas in 1964. Imhoff played 12 seasons in the N.B.A. Lucas, Bellamy, West and I are in the Hall of Fame as individual players, as is Newell as a contributor.

Unfortunately, Newell will not be with us Friday; he died in 2008 at age 93. Neither will Lane, the assistant Warren Womble, the team manager Dutch Lonborg and the trainer Dean Nesmith, who are also deceased. We honor their memory as we celebrate that unforgettable September at the Rome Games.

By Oscar Robertson, a 12-time N.B.A. All-Star, was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2009.

From The New York Times

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