* The 2004 Olympics ended with a win on Saturday over Lithuania (6-2) for Larry Brown and Team USA (5-3), but it followed a semifinal loss the day before to eventual gold medalist Argentina and was only good enough to earn bronze and ponder what will be needed to return USA basketball to the top in international competition.
Former Tar Heel George Karl endured a similar disappointment -- a sixth-place finish -- with a collection of NBA stars at the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis. As someone that has been there and done that, Karl shared his thoughts on changes USA Basketball should make with the New York Daily News on Saturday ---
"How many truly great basketball teams have ever been assembled by committee? We should appoint a general manager. Hire Chuck Daly to be the fulltime Olympic GM. Hire Dean Smith. Two basketball guys, not a committee. Let the GM hire the coach. Let the coach and GM get six pros and six college kids together in 2006 (FIBA World Championship in Japan) or throw in some high school kids, too."
"American players are not as coachable as their opponents. And it shows up when you've only got a few weeks. Because you don't end up coaching as much as managing egos. Could we still be the best if we sent our best players? Sure. But you can see that's not going to happen anymore. The next time we go up against the world, we better have guys ready to play it. 'Cause it's not 1992 anymore."
ON THE MOVE
* After two seasons in the NBDL with the Fayetteville Patriots, Jason Capel will be playing his third pro season in Japan. Capel has signed with the Aisin Sea Horses for the 2004-05 season, according to eurobasket.com.
Kris Lang played last season with the NBDL champion Asheville Altitude, but recent reports from Poland say Lang is "very likely" to return to Wloclawek, Poland. Lang played for Polish League champs Anwil Wloclawek in 2002-03.
For his 16th pro season Steve Bucknall will return to France after 10 years. Bucknall will be with Olympique Antibes in France's second-division Pro B League, according to eurobasket.com. Bucknall has played the last three seasons in Greece, the last two with Iraklis Thessaloniki.
DEAN SMITH: HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE
* The third annual World's Greatest Alumni Game was held at the Dean Dome on Saturday. The legendary Dean Smith was in attendance and the game's host, Jerry Stackhouse, made sure to include his former coach in the pregame intros. "I think he is deservedly the most famous Tar Heel of us all. ... [With] everyone coming back, guys taking from this program but also giving back, he is really the heart and soul of it. He and Coach [Bill] Guthridge -- Coach Guthridge, too, is a huge part of it," Stackhouse told Inside Carolina when asked about the introduction of Smith.
At the Olympics last Thursday after a quarterfinal loss to the USA, Spain's coach Mario Pesquera concluded a tirade of complaints with angry comments directed at Larry Brown for a late timeout that he thought was unnecessary. "I continue to respect [Brown] as a coach, but for me, a coach that is up there Dean Smith would never have done something like that," Pesquera opined.
The Philadelphia Daily News reported last week that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry met with members of "Coaches for Kerry" during a campaign stop in Philadelphia. Former Temple and NBA coach Don Casey is the the groups national chairman. The article noted that Dean Smith, "a personal friend of vice presidential nominee John Edwards, also is a "Coaches for Kerry" driving force."
Then on Sunday during the final day of NBC's Olympic coverage, boxing analyst Teddy Atlas said, "Yes, that is very appropriate that you mention Dean Smith for his "Four Corners Offense" because that is exactly what the Cuban fighter is doing right now. He is protecting his eight-point lead with one-minute to go by circling the ring and avoiding his opponent just like the "Four Corners Offense" of Dean Smith."
TRISH ROBERTS STEPS DOWN
* Former North Carolina women's basketball assistant coach Trish Roberts has resigned as head coach of Stony Brook University's women's team to take care of family issues following the recent death of her brother.
Roberts was a graduate of Tennessee, where she was an All-America selection in 1977 with a scoring average of 29.9 ppg. She was an assistant coach at UNC from 1986-1988.
During the past five seasons under Roberts Stony Brook (American East Conference) had a record of 66-76.
* September 2: Mike Pepper (46) ... 3: Kevin Madden (38), George Lynch (34) ... 8: Byron Sanders (21) ... 9: Walter Davis (50) ... 10: Curtis Hunter (41) ... 14: Larry Brown (64), Pete Chilcutt (36) ... 16: Courtney Chambers (23) ... 17: Rasheed Wallace (30) ... 18: Leah Metcalf (21) ... 21: Doug Moe (66), Ryan Sullivan (28) ... 23: Pete Brennan (68), Eric Montross (33) ... 24: Bob MacKinnon (44) ... 25: Bob McAdoo (53), Rashad McCants (20), Ivory Latta (20) ... 26: L.J. Hepp (26) ... 27: Sylvia Crawley (32), Candace Sutton (22).