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Old 08-29-2007, 06:32 PM   #1
AI Nuggets3
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,916
Default Kidd- "the key is to get Melo the ball"

because 4,534 Carmelo Anthony topics on ISH aren't enough. some really good quotes tho from his teammates/coaches.....nice piece.

In Las Vegas, Anthony Lights It Up for the U.S.

Nuggets All-Star Leads Team in Scoring in Preliminary Round

By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 27 -- As players gathered in front of the USA Basketball office to catch the team bus for FIBA Americas Championship opening ceremonies last week, Carmelo Anthony strutted down the hotel's lobby wearing fancy sunglasses. Tayshaun Prince and Tyson Chandler gave Anthony a hard time about his Hollywood look, and Dwight Howard later got ahold of the glasses, put them on and broke into a dance that put his teammates in stitches.

Anthony's shades were unnecessary for an event that started well after the sun went down, but the Denver Nuggets all-star forward must have anticipated that the spotlight would find him over the next two weeks.

The United States can attribute its dominant showing in this tournament to a makeover that yielded Jason Kidd's leadership and playmaking, Kobe Bryant's relentless desire on both ends of the floor and Michael Redd's long-distance proficiency. But another constant through each of the first four games was Anthony leading the team in scoring. "He looks like an assassin out there," Jerry Colangelo, managing director of the U.S. senior national team said of Anthony, who led the team in scoring (21.3 points) and rebounding (six) in the preliminary round.

Anthony was asked if he was bothered that new additions had made him the forgotten man -- although he was the leading scorer for the U.S. team that finished third in the world championships last year in Japan. "I swear I don't worry about that," Anthony said. "We are all superstars on our own teams, so there is no need for anybody to be selfish."

With Anthony, Bryant, LeBron James, Redd and Amare Stoudemire, the team doesn't necessarily need a go-to guy, but Anthony is repeatedly the guy that his teammates go to when the United States needs a bucket.

"The key is to get him the ball," Kidd said after the Americans' 37-point victory against Brazil on Sunday night, during which Kidd connected with Anthony for a beautiful alley-oop. Anthony has shown an incredible nose for the ball and always seems to be open. "I don't need the ball in my hands to score," Anthony said. "I'm going to find it."

Anthony has come a long way since he was lightly used backup for the 2004 bronze medal-winning team in Athens, where then-U.S. coach Larry Brown singled out Anthony for complaining about playing time.

"There was a question mark a few years ago when people came to me about him, just the little silly things that happened," said U.S. assistant coach Jim Boeheim, who won a national championship with Anthony at Syracuse. "But I told [the USA Basketball selection committee], 'This is a kid you don't have to worry about. He's rock solid. He'll be there every night.' He's been an anchor for two years on this team."

Anthony averaged 19.9 points in the world championships and admits that he has matured and improved since his introduction to international basketball following his rookie season three years ago. "I didn't know what to expect over there, honestly. I just knew I wanted to play. That was the only thing I knew," he said. "But now, now I've got my feet wet, and I feel good. I think I pretty much know the game now. I know the international game. I know the rules, how physical I can be and what I can and what I can't do."

His offensive repertoire seems limitless. He has scored in almost every way imaginable -- catching lobs, breaking down defenders with dribble penetration, using his strength to bully opponents in the low block and knocking down perimeter shots. Anthony, not Redd, was the team's leading three-point shooter (60 percent) in the preliminary round. "He has so much confidence in his game," Boeheim said, "he's just unstoppable."

Anthony finished second to Bryant in scoring last season, but Bryant has gained a new appreciation playing alongside him. "I have always had the utmost respect for Carmelo, his ability, his work habits and what he does," Bryant said. "Being here with him just reinforces that. He has always been one of my favorite players in the NBA."

Though undersized at 6 feet 8, Anthony hasn't made U.S. Coach Mike Krzyzewski look silly for starting him at power forward. "Arguably, Carmelo was the most important player we had last year," Krzyzewski said. "I love Carmelo. Carmelo is a winner, and he's a heck of a competitor. He plays with courage on both ends of the court. I'd like him on my team anytime."

What can't be overlooked, though, is the behind-the-scenes work Anthony did to make sure that the United States sent its best, specifically his best friend on the team, James. James had wavered about his decision to participate this summer but said Anthony pressuring him to the stay the course toward winning the gold in Beijing next summer was one of the major reasons he came back. "Carmelo wanted me, so I'm here," he said.

"When I heard he was trying to back out," Anthony said, "I said, 'There is no way, you can back out. We already committed, we got business to take care of.' "
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