Suzuki of Durham
TAR HEEL BASKETBALL OLYMPIANS
* The 2004 USA senior men's team has UNC graduate Larry Brown as head coach, North Carolina coach Roy Williams among the assistant coaches and Dave Hanners, a former Carolina player and assistant, as the video coordinator. With the 2004 Summer Olympic Games to begin in Athens, Greece with the opening ceremonies on Friday, here's a recap of the Tar Heels in Olympic basketball history:
1964 -- Tokyo, Japan: Larry Brown (Gold)
1968 -- Mexico City, Mexico: Charlie Scott (Gold)
1972 -- Munich, Germany: Bobby Jones (Silver) ... The USA team refused to accept silver medals in protest of the championship game officiating.
1976 -- Montreal, Canada: Walter Davis, Phil Ford, Mitch Kupchak and Tommy LaGarde (Gold) ... Dean Smith was the head coach and Bill Guthridge was an assistant coach.
"I felt the victory was very much in the old spirit of the Olympics, because the young men on the team were thrilled to be there. Going in, we promsed we would play as a team. And that's what we did." -- Dean Smith, "A Coach's Life"
1980: Al Wood ... The U.S. was among the countries that boycotted the Moscow, Soviet Union Olympics. The '80 USA basketball team did not get to compete on a world stage, but a team was selected and went 5-1 in the "Gold Medal Series" against France, the '76 USA team and various NBA all-star squads.
Larry Brown was an assistant coach and UNC grad Tim Taft was the team physician.
1984 -- Los Angeles, California: Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins (Gold)
1988 -- Seoul, South Korea: J.R. Reid (Bronze)
1992 -- Barcelona, Spain: Michael Jordan (Gold) and Henrik Rodl (Germany, 7th-place) ... Jordan won his second gold medal as players from the NBA competed in the Olympics for the first time and were dubbed "The Dream Team."
1996 -- No Tar Heels were on Dream Team II as the USA took the gold in Atlanta.
2000 -- Sydney, Australia: Vince Carter (Gold) ... Larry Brown was an assistant coach to Rudy Tomjanovich on Dream Team III.
The Tar Heels have had 13 players selected to 14 Olympic team roster's. The medal breakdown is as follows --- 10 gold, one silver and one bronze, for a total of 12 medals won by 11 Tar Heel hoopsters. Coaches are not awarded medals.
North Carolina women's basketball has been represented by Trish Roberts (Silver) in 1976 and by Sylvia Hatchell as an assistant coach in 1988 (Gold).
The Atlantic Coast Conference will also be represented on the U.S. team in the 2004 Olympic men's basketball event by Tim Duncan (Wake Forest), Stephon Marbury (Georgia Tech), Carlos Boozer (Duke) and assistant coach Oliver Purnell (Clemson). Darius Songaila of Wake Forest will play for Lithuania. Iker Iturbe of Clemson will play for Spain.
OKULAJA, GERMANY FALL SHORT
* With 6:42 to play, Germany forward and former North Carolina star Ademola Okulaja hit a three-point shot to tie the game with the USA Olympic team at 68. About six-and-a-half minutes later NBA star Dirk Nowitzki also connected on a three for Germany. This one tied the game at 77 leaving just 3.8 seconds to play.
It took Allen Iverson's swish of a 40-footer at the buzzer for three to give the U.S. an 80-77 win and kept Germany from taking the USA into overtime in Cologne, Germany last Wednesday.
Nowitzki was outstanding and deservedly got plenty of recognition and accolades from the NBA stars of Team USA for his 32-point, 12-rebound performance. Okulaja, with 10 points, six boards and two steals in the near-upset, was also a known commodity to at least a couple of members of the young USA squad.
"I knew Okulaja from watching him when he played at North Carolina and he is a good player," Carmelo Anthony replied when asked if he knew anybody on the German team besides Nowitzki.
"Yeah, Dirk Nowitzki (laughter) and I know Okulaja played at North Carolina," said LeBron James after the game when asked if he knew any German or Italian players.
"I got to coach Okulaja and he told me what a special place this is," Larry Brown noted when he was asked what he thought of Cologne, Germany. "And, after being here a short time and having been received the way we have been, it's a wonderful experience for all of us."
WNBA TAKES A BREAK
* With the Olympics in progress through August, the WNBA season will be put on hold. Here's a look at how the former Tar Heels in the WNBA have fared:
Nikki Teasley, L.A. Sparks (17-9): 31.9 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 6.0 APG (1st), 1.4 SPG in 26 games. Teasley played 17 minutes with two points (1-6 FG, 0-4 3-pt. FG) and four rebounds for the WNBA All-Stars in last week's 74-58 loss to the USA women's Olympic team.
Charlotte Smith-Taylor, Charlotte Sting (12-13): 28.5 MPG, 7.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.2 APG in 25 games.
Coretta Brown, Indiana Fever (12-15): 16.3 MPG, 4.0 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.8 APG in 22 games as a reserve.