<
>

First Cup: Wednesday

  • Luciana Chavez of The News & Observer: "The Americans have been so successful because they talk. 'We're not afraid to get on someone if someone's not playing defense,' U.S. guard Jason Kidd said. 'When you look at all the other teams that have been together for so long, they can talk to each other.'"

  • Joanne C. Gerstner of The Detroit News: "Tayshaun Prince is making sure to get the full Olympics experience. He's attended swimming and beach volleyball -- twice. 'It's really a really fun environment and you get caught up in it,' Prince said. 'I think people forget that we're sports fans, too. We're just not only fans of our own game. I've wanted to see as much as I can to take advantage of this opportunity. This is a really different environment than what I usually am in. When you're in the NBA, it's hard to break away during your season to see other things, especially something like swimming or beach volleyball. Being at the Olympics is a chance for me to be a fan and be appreciative of other athletes and sports. This is a great opportunity.'"TrueHoop First Cup

  • Ryan O'Halloran for The Washington Times: "LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been the two best U.S. players entering Wednesday's quarterfinal game against Australia. Both players have earned praise for their scoring, defense and leadership as the United States has won its games by an average of 32.1 points. 'They've played so well,' Krzyzewski said. 'I hate to say just two guys have done it because our team has played really well. But those two guys are playing at the highest level right now.'"

  • Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News: "'Everything has been better this time,' said Carmelo Anthony, comparing 2008 with the disaster of the Athens Games. 'Everything. On the court and off the court, I'm happy.'"

  • Pete Thamel of The New York Times "There are basically three decorated N.B.A. scouts on USA Basketball's staff. Tony Ronzone, the director of international player personnel, combines with Bill Branch and Todd Quinter to form an exponentially more nuanced and detailed-oriented scouting staff than past iterations. 'There will not be a situation here that we're not prepared for,' Jerry Colangelo said. It has sure looked that way so far, as the Americans went 5-0 in pool play and throttled their opponents by an average of 32.2 points. They play Australia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Quinter and Branch have compiled a 37-page report on the Australians. They obsess over basketball minutiae like how often a player goes to his left, who a team's defensive weak links are and what are the different options on a set play."

  • Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News: "Get this: Most days Dwight Howard rides shotgun on their excellent adventures, but occasionally Chris Bosh goes out unchaperoned, which, if you remember stories of NBA players unofficially sequestered at previous Olympics, is like finding Mark McGwire in the line behind you at Wal-Mart. Do the locals know who you are, Chris? 'Chris Bosh-u ... Chris Bosh-u ...,' Bosh says, mimicking the cries. 'Photo please. ... Signature.' Bosh isn't as popular here as Kobe or LeBron, but it's not for a lack of trying."

  • Jason Quick of The Oregonian: "Now, keep in mind that Steve Blake is never one to use hyperbole or to blow smoke. Yet, the Blazers point guard is practically drooling for the season to open so he can play with Greg Oden. 'Working out with Greg the last couple of days -- you can't help but get excited,' Blake said. 'You throw a bad pass on a lob and you think it's too high, but he grabs it and gets it. That changes a lot of things.' Blake said he is most impressed by Oden's size and with how Oden knows how to use it. 'His explosiveness with his size is unlike anything I have ever seen,' Blake said."

  • Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun: "Ben Gordon is making waves of playing abroad, but his words smack of desperation at a time when the Chicago Bulls refuse to cave into his wishes. Gordon's plight, and one that applies to a smattering of players, brings to light some of the problems associated with the league's salary cap, which is among the most arcane in pro sports. Unless this year's player movement to Europe becomes a trend, the image conscious NBA isn't likely to do anything. In some cases, players, in particular restricted free agents, have left the NBA because the system failed them."

  • Fred Kerber of the New York Post: "Nets having a 'voluntary' workout week and everybody except the tall Asian fellow has responded and is taking part. Yi Jianlian is sort of pre-occupied over in his native China. Even if he could break away, the red-eye flights are killers from Beijing. ... Bobby Simmons and Keyon Dooling spoke to an enormous media gathering of three (and those media numbers could fluctuate by one or so the rest of the week). Both said this was great. Both said they like what they see. And both trashed the early power ratings that have the Nets near or at the very bottom of the East (if not the entire league) and ranked sixth in the Ivy League. 'Everybody's going to be surprised,' said Simmons who insisted he is ready, willing and able to be the Nets' full-time starter at small forward."