D.J. White plays well, U.S. loses in basketball to country with total population of 3 million

Indiana power forward D.J. White led the United States with 14 points and 9 rebounds last night in its 81-72 loss to Uruguay in the first game of the Pan Am games.

The Americans play again tonight against Panama at 6:45.

International basketball must be seen, I suppose, as a testament to the importance of coaching. How else to explain the United States’ loss? Yes, Uruguay had a team of professionals but not of NBA professionals. Yes, they’re older and physically more mature but can that really be it? The American kids all work with strength and conditioning coaches extensively. They’re in top shape.

True, the international game is slightly different from the American game at any level, partially due to court size and structure and partially due to style fluctuations. Again, that doesn’t seem to be enough explanation.

Shouldn’t the United States, with its sports-mad population of 300 million, be able to find 12 guys who are simply athletically superior and more basketball polished? All these kids have been attending camps coached by the best in the country since they were 10 years old and have spent the past few years playing for premier colleges in high-pressure situations.

So then it must be the coaching. This American team has been working with Jay Wright for a week and a few days. The Uruguay team, from what I’ve been able to gather, has been together in some form for much, much longer. They’ve been coached by the same man, Alberto Espasandin, for at least the last few years. That’s got to be the difference.

Don’t tell Kelvin Sampson, though. It could got to his head, and we want him to stay humble.


  1. It has a lot to do with coaching, and being a team. Two weeks is not enough to build a high quality team. It also doesn’t matter how superior athletically the USA guys are. Coach Knight has almost 800 wins and 3 NCAA championships with disciplined team players. Not superior athletes.

    If we want to be on top of the world, they need to get the team together, and start working them out at the end of may, give them 6-8 weeks to learn and feed off each other.

  2. I just have a question. I’ve always wondered why Assembly Hall has red and blue seats. Does anyone know why there are blue seats? Is it just to give the Hall some variety?

  3. Cross,

    Hope all is well. You probably think I am some kind of smuk for not hitting you back. No excuse, but I always try to respond. Just in this instance it was not in a timely fashion. If you give me another chance, I will do better in the future. Of course I remember you. If you are back in town, I would love to visit with you. E-bone came down to camp this year and has been coming the past several summers. We often talk about you and the good ole days. Glad to hear you landed in the sports business. Jackie and I are doing great and have been blessed with two wonderful children. Hit me back if you get a chance. Best wishes, God bless, and Go Bobcats!!!

    Big John

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