If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you may remember us mentioning our good friend, Jason Brubaker. Jason writes for CollegeHoops.net, co-wrote the NBA Playoff Banter and currently owes me his car (which we will be detailing the reasons of again very soon). Also, he and I both follow USA’s Basketball team with a fervor. We have sent roughly 1000 text messages to each other through their first five games and spent about twelve hours on the phone fawning over Dwyane Wade’s resurgence. Brubaker and I both took exception to Chris Sheridan’s article after today’s game. Sheridan has been following this team for a long time, but still feels the need to write negatively about them all throughout the Olympics. You can find the most recent article in question here. I’ll let Brubaker take it away…
Could ESPN’s Chris Sheridan be more negative about Team USA? I mean, reading his articles, you would think this team is struggling, instead of beating the hell out of people. I know a columnist is supposed to take a stand and state his opinion, maybe create a discussion topic by taking an unpopular stance, but this is ridiculous. The Greece game was our toughest test…until we ran away with it. Then, he wrote about how Spain would be a much tougher test than Greece. Well, one 37-point rout later, he apparently still isn’t convinced. Now, he’s writing about how we can’t let our guard down against Australia. Maybe he missed the demolition of Germany, a game that meant absolutely nothing to either team, yet still Team USA came out fired up and focused.
Can Team USA cruise to the gold medal? No – the talent of the other teams is too good. Can Team USA be upset? Sure – anything can happen in a single-elimination game. If Team USA plays like it has been, can they be beat? No way. Is there any reason to be worried about arrogance or a mental letdown from what this team has shown? No. I know the 2004 team had some arrogance problems, but why is this team being judged based on that? The 2008 Team USA should be judged on what they’ve done in pool play in 2008 – nothing else. And what they’ve done is show that they have more talent, depth, speed and strength than anyone else in the world.
Yes – the Aussies played us tough in a scrimmage game a couple weeks ago. In a related note, we also won that game. I guess winning isn’t enough anymore. If we don’t blow the other team out, then Sheridan views it as a loss. By the way, all I’ve heard from Doug Collins is what you do in pool play doesn’t matter which you enter the medal round – which is true. So why is Sheridan worried about what happened in a scrimmage (as a wise man once said – “we talking about practice…not a game, not a game, we talking bout practice. How silly is that”)?
Bottom line, if this team stays focused, and there is no reason to believe they won’t, they win the gold. Forget what happened in 2004, forget what happened in 2006. This team, these 12 players, are united in one goal, and they’ve given no reason to believe they’ll let up until they reach the medal stand. They’ve played the games the right way, and done all the things NBA players supposedly wouldn’t do – play defense, play unselfishly, make the extra pass, forget about stats, hustle, not worry about minutes, etc. They’ve given us something to be truly proud of – and it’s sad that some people, like Sheridan, are missing the show.