U.S. nemesis Greece, which knocked off the U.S. two years ago in the World Championships, is in Group B with the U.S. after the Olympic qualifying tournament.Â Dirk Nowitzki and Germany are also in the group.
|Buck up, big guy!|
Group B is loaded.Â The weakest team is probably Angola, but they've improved a great deal since the Dream Team destroyed them, and so weakest is a relative term. Proof? They just beat China and Yao Ming.Â In good news for Coach K, they relied on speed and defense to neutralize China's size.Â As you may remember, they have some American players, including Milton Barros, brother of the NBA's Dana Barros.
Greece we know about, probably more than we want.
Germany we know has Dirk Nowitzki but not Ademola Okulaja:Â the former UNC star will be out for the summer with a back injury.Â They will, however, have Clipper Chris Kaman, who was grandfathered in since his grandparents were German. We're not really sure how that works, but maybe someday Nick Horvath's kid will be a 6-10 superstar and will play for the U.S. under the same rule.
The Olympic tournament is also likely to be the global coming-out of Spain's teenage phenom Ricky Rubio. The 6-3-ish Rubio has been compared to the greats of the game - Magic and Maravich primarily.Â It's going to be fun to see if he can close to living up to the hype.Â He'll have to get past Kobe Bryant's defensive intensity if he wants to build an early case for greatness.
And of course China features 7-6 Yao of the Houston Rockets.Â Yao just began to work out in the last few days after stress fracture surgery sidelined him since March.Â He's somewhat pessimistic about China's chances, though as the home team, of course, they'll get a huge boost from the crowd. Ming, who has gotten used to an NBA level of play, told Sohu.com this about China's chances: "My form in the [Stankovic Cup] games might be an illusion, caused by the differing quality of opponents. We have lots of problems, in rebound, in defense and in shooting quality, overall. These cannot be solved in one or two days."
|Group A||Group B|