Friday, August 20, 2010

Griz Notes: The World Championships

Posted By on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 1:31 PM

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Though it was disappointing to see O.J. Mayo get cut from the national team in favor of the roughly similar Eric Gordon, the upcoming World Championships should hold a lot of interest for Grizzlies fans.

With one cut left to be made, Rudy Gay seems certain to make the final squad and given how well he's played in exhibitions so far (a team-high 19 points off the bench against France at Madison Square Garden last week), should be in line for significant rotation minutes. This should be a great experience for Gay as he seeks to climb a tier among the game's elite in wake of his near-max contract.

Meanwhile, barring another bout of back spasms, Marc Gasol will be the starting center for the Spanish team and probably the best true big man in the entire tournament. Center Hamed Haddadi will star for Iran, which will join the US team in Group B when official tournament play starts August 28th. (The US and Iran will face off on September 1st.)

USA and Spain are the tournament's two top teams. They'll face off this weekend in exhibition play, and hopefully we'll get to see some Gay and Gasol on the court together. The U.S. team plays three European exhibition games before heading to Turkey to start the tournament. All games are televised:

Sat. Aug. 21 vs. Lithuania (Madrid) — 2 p.m., ESPN
Sun. Aug. 22 vs. Spain (Madrid) — 2 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Wed. Aug. 25 vs, Greece (Athens) — 11 a.m., ESPN

There will also be multiple replays on NBA TV.

Here's Gay interviewed recently on the USA Basketball site.

And here's Gay with a couple of breakaway dunks against France:

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