LANG GOING TO TEAM USA TRIALS
* Kris Lang ('02) is among the 15 players that have accepted invitations from USA Basketball to compete for a spot on the USA entry in the 2005 Tournament of the Americas, a qualifier for the 2006 World Championship event in Japan.
After the trials (Aug. 5-9) in Miami, a 12-member team will represent USA Basketball in the FIBA Americas World Championship Qualifying Tournament from August 24 to September 4 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Of the 10 countries involved, five will earn berths to the 2006 World Championship. Argentina has already claimed one of them by winning the 2004 Olympics.
Lang (6-11) and Ernest Brown (7-0, Fayetteville Patriots/NBDL) are the only centers on the "Finalists Roster" posted at USAbasketball.com. Other participants include former college stars Charlie Bell (G, Michigan State '01), Tyus Edney (G, UCLA '95), Lynn Greer (G, Temple '02), Aaron McGhee (F, Oklahoma '02), and Ron Slay (F, Tennessee '03). The players invited to attend either played last season in the CBA, NBDL, or overseas.
The USA is in Group A with Brazil, Canada, Panama and Venezuela. Group B consists of Argentina, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Uruguay.
Former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, 63, recently agreed to coach the Panama national team and will begin training them on August 7. The USA will open preliminary round play on August 24 against Panama. Former Tar Heel Ed Cota is eligible to play for Panama (his parents are from Panama), but it is not known at this time if he will participate in this event.
SMITH TO WORK FOR NETS?
* According to the New York Post, the New Jersey Nets are interested in TNT's Kenny Smith as a color analyst for games on the YES cable station. Smith would work with Marv Albert, the cable outfit's new lead play-by-play announcer for Nets' games.
Smith is on TNT's popular studio show, "Inside the NBA," and would only be able to work a limited number of games. Either CBS college basketball analyst and former Net Mike Gminski, ex-Nets analyst Jim Spanarkel, or Jersey City's Bobby Hurley, all former Duke Blue Devils, would be considered for the other games, the Post reported.
Smith has permission from TNT to talk with YES about the job, but declined to comment about the situation, the story noted.
OVERSEAS RUMOR MILL
* With the summer signings in full force on the international circuit, there have been several Internet reports that Shammond Williams, last in the Russian Superleague with UNICS Kazan, will be moving to Spain and playing for Winterthur FC Barcelona. Those reports continue to go unconfirmed by the Spanish League (www.acb.com) and FC Barcelona.
Williams is a high commodity on the overseas market. Because he has a passport from the Republic of Georgia the former NBA player does not count among a team's limited import players under European rules.
Williams had previoulsy been linked to Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) as the replacement point guard for Euroleague MVP and ex-Marylander Sarunas Jasikevicius from Lithuania, who departed for the NBA with the Indiana Pacers. But Clemson's Will Solomon, last in Turkey, was signed by defending Euroleague champion Maccabi instead.
* It was noted at Eurobasket.com recently that, "Aris Thessaloniki [Greece - A1 League] wants North Carolina's Jawad Williams." It was also reported there that John Gilchrist (Maryland) is a target of the Greek A1 club Kolossos.
Virginia's Elton Brown recently signed with Apollon Patras in the Greek League, and Duke's William Avery has moved from Ukraine to Greece (Panionios Athens) for the 2005-06 season. Terence Morris (Maryland), Roger Mason (Virginia), Lonnie Baxter (Maryland) and Travis Watson (Virginia) are former ACC stars that played in Greece last season.
* UNC grad Melvin Scott recently told Inside Carolina that his agent is talking to teams overseas about the start of his pro career. "I'm waiting on Utah to call me back, to see if they are going to invite me back to [NBA preseason] camp. If not, I have some deals overseas. I'm looking at Greece right now. My agent hooked it up. He knows some people over there," Scott said.
Jackie Manuel is working to get his injured left foot healthy and then he will consider his pro options. "The vet [NBA] camp is coming up in October, so I'll be ready by then," Manuel said, "[but] if that doesn't work out I'll go overseas," Manuel said during a conversation with IC last week.
WILLIAMS STILL SCORING
* Caneros de La Romana (Liga Dominicana de Baloncesto - LIDOBA) in the Dominican Republic is the new team of former Tar Heel shooting guard Donald Williams. In a game on Friday, Williams scored 37 points as Caneros (3-14) won 118-113 in overtime.
Georgia Tech's Eddie Elisma (Marineros de Puerto Plata, 10-7) also plays in the Dominican Republic pro league and rumor has it that former Georgia Tech star Fred Vinson will be joining him there for the end of the season and playoffs, according to eurobasket.com.
THIS MONTH'S BIRTHDAYS OF NOTE
- August 1: Roy Williams (55) and Ranzino Smith (39)
- August 3: Rick Duckett (48)
- August 6: David Daly (45)
- August 8: Woody Durham (64)
- August 12: David Cason (33) and Ed Geth (31)
- August 15: Darrell Elston (53)
- August 16: Adam Boone (24)
- August 23: Charlotte Smith-Taylor (32)
- August 26: Bill Bunting (58)
- August 30: Fred Quartlebaum (38)