Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Well, it's a start

Last Friday, the Raleigh News & Observer had an interesting article on the 20-and-under USA Mens Basketball team. Their first game was yesterday and the tournament will continue until August 1 (it's in Halifax, Nova Scotia). This is the qualifying tournament for the World Championships that will be held next summer in Argentina (The team is coached by Lumberton, N.C. native and Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson).

And while that's great, what was intriguing about the story was that last week, Rashad McCants was cut from the team. When I first read the news, I just figured that there must be a lot of 2- and 3-guards on the team and it became a numbers game.

But after reading the N&O article I've since changed my opinion -- especially when you consider that Wake Forest guards Justin Gray and Chris Paul, and UNC's Sean May made the final roster.

UNC guard Rashad McCants also tried out for the U.S. team but was cut Wednesday, even though Paul said he was the best player at the week-long tryouts.

Gray said McCants, his roommate during the tryouts, had told him he felt he hadn't given his best effort emotionally.

"We talked about it," Gray said. "He wanted to apologize to the coaches. It was the manly thing to do. He talked to them and let them know he was sorry for whatever he did to hurt his chances. He wanted to let them know he wasn't that type of guy."
Following McCants' UNC career, I think this revelation is actually more encouraging than troubling. And by that I mean that the old McCants would just put the blame squarely on anyone but himself and in all likelihood solve the problem by pouting. But the new and improved McCants realized that maybe he didn't give his best effort (which in and of itself is concerning), and thought it important enough to apologize for his lackluster effort.

So there are two ways to look at this: on the one hand, McCants still has some growing up to do -- and you better believe that Roy Williams will facilitate that -- but on the other hand, McCants realizes that things don't always go well, and that sometimes he is the reason -- and now he is willing to take responsibility.

I think I'll take the 'glass is half full perspective.'