Anthony Impressive For Team USA
Carmelo Anthony came in looking for redemption. He’s right on course.
Anthony is a lock to be named one of the 15 players chosen Tuesday to accompany Team USA to Asia. Barring the unforeseen, those close to the situation believe the Nuggets forward will make the 12-man team for the World Championship, Aug. 19-Sept. 3 in Japan.
"Not surprised,’’ Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters Saturday during training camp in Las Vegas, when asked if he was surprised at how well Anthony has played. "I’m really pleased. He’s played very well every day. Because I didn’t get a chance to see these guys in person, I didn’t know he’s as good a shooter as he is.’’
Krzyzewski was busy coaching Duke last season when Anthony averaged 26.5 points, the most by a Nuggets player in 15
Saturday was the fourth day of camp. Nuggets coach George Karl got reports from assistant Tim Grgurich from the first two days of camp and Karl said Anthony was a "top-five player’’ in camp.
"Carmelo has stood out,’’ Krzyzewski told reporters Friday. "He’s like on a mission.’’
Anthony is determined to make up for a disappointing performance at the 2004 Olympics. He played sparingly and was labeled an attitude problem by coach Larry Brown.
ESPN.com has called Anthony "a lock to make the active roster, and he may even be earning himself a spot in the starting lineup.’’ Team USA director Jerry Colangelo told ESPN.com, "Carmelo came in here as part of a mission, and he has played accordingly. He’s making a statement early on in this camp with how much he wants to make the team.’’
The team continues practice Sunday and Monday. The 15 players who will go to Asia will be announced at a press conference Tuesday morning at Las Vegas’ Wynn hotel, and Anthony can expect to hear his name called.
"He’s up, he’s an easy guy to play with,’’ Krzyzewski told reporters about Anthony on Saturday. "I really like him. I think he’s a hell of a defender, too. He’s a great player. It looks like he wants to be that. It looks like he wants to be better. He’s come here not only wanting to play well, but to get better.’’
After Tuesday’s announcement, players will be given a five-day break before continuing to practice in Las Vegas in preparation for an Aug. 3 exhibition game there against Puerto Rico. Then it’s on to China for two exhibition games and to South Korea for two.
The 15 players must be cut down to the final 12 by Aug. 18.
With several players injured or not candidates for the World Championship, there are 18 players fighting for the initial 15 spots. Figuring to get cut are forward Adam Morrison, either point guard Luke Ridnour or Kirk Hinrich and a big man, possibly Amare Stoudemire, who is not back to himself after undergoing knee surgery.
High praise from some great coaches and players thus far. The guy gets knocked for every little thing he does wrong, so it's nice to see him getting some positive articles written about him for a change.
Keep up the good work, kid.