LANG SHINES, U.S. TAKES 4TH TO QUALIFY
* The U.S. entry of non-NBA players reached the final four at the FIBA Americas World Championship Qualifying Tournament in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, over the weekend. That was good enough to qualify the U.S. (4-6) for a berth at the 2006 World Championship in Japan next year, but a semifinal loss to Brazil on Saturday was followed by another loss to Venezuela on Sunday and left them in fourth place and short of a medal.
In the bronze medal game Sunday against Venezuela, former Tar Heel Kris Lang was outstanding with 30 points (13-18 FG, 4-6 FT) and 14 boards in 35 minutes. Lang left the semifinal game versus Brazil on Saturday night in the third quarter due to a sprained ankle after scoring 14 points and grabbIng nine rebounds in 19 minutes.
"Coach stressed that we needed to go inside early and develop a presence on the inside and that's what I took personal to do and I thought we were very successful with that. Oscar (Torres) and Victor Diaz were just hitting a lot of tough shots with a hand in their faces," said Lang after the Venezuela game, according to the USA Basketball game report.
"This was a very memorable experience because I played for the USA, I've always wanted to that, and I've always wanted to bring home a medal but I was not successful at doing that, but I can go home knowing I tried my hardest to try and get the medal but it just didn't happen that way," Lang stated.
U.S. head coach Mo McHone noted, "I'm not surprised by the way Kris (Lang) played. He has been our best player consistently from day one. He played for me in Korea and I knew what he had, but to be very honest, I didn't think he'd be able to dominate inside the way he has. He has taken on some of the best players over here and tonight he took Richard Lugo and put 30 on him. I think he deserves to be in the NBA, people are missing the boat on him."
Lang played in nine of Team USA's 10 games and logged the following stats: 23.1 mpg, 12.1 ppg (47-80 FG, 0-3 3pt. FG, 15-23 FT), 7.4 rpg, 6 assists, 26 personal fouls, 16 turnovers, 13 blocked shots and 3 steals.
Along with the United States (fourth), the FIBA Americas region will be represented by Argentina (clinched berth with Olympic gold, second), Brazil (first), Venezuela (third) and Panama (fifth) at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan next August.
PHELPS RETURNS TO GERMANY
* Former Tar Heel guard Derrick Phelps ('94) will be back in Germany for his 12th pro season. Phelps has signed with GHP Bamberg, the defending German League champs, the club announced yesterday.
Bamberg, Germany, was Phelps' first overseas stop in 1996 following two seasons with Chicago in the CBA that also included a 10-day contract with Sacramento of the NBA. In addition to Bamberg, Phelps has also played in the German League (Bundesliga) for Bonn, Berlin and Ludwigsburg during his career.
Last season, Phelps played for Randy Weil in Holland with EiffelTowers Nijmegen and averaged 11.2 ppg, 3 rpg and 7.3 apg in the Dutch League.
FELTON OFFERS FREE CLINICS
* Before Raymond Felton reports to his first NBA training camp on October 4 with the Charlotte Bobcats he will host a couple of free basketball clinics for girls and boys in his hometown of Latta, South Carolina, on September 24. Felton, recently drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats and previously a two-time South Carolina Mr. Basketball, will hold the clinics at Latta High School.
"I'm excited about coming home to Latta to talk to the kids about basketball basics and the importance of working hard in school," said Felton, according to the Charlotte Bobcats' website. "I am bringing some of my NBA friends to help us out."
Those friends will be former Duke stars Chris Duhon and Jay Williams. Felton's former AAU and high school coaches and members of his family are scheduled to attend. A check to his alma mater for its general scholarship fund will also be presented.
S. WILLIAMS FALLS TO FINLAND
* Former Tar Heel guard Shammond Williams was in Finland on Saturday with the Republic of Georgia national team. In the EuroBasket Division B qualifying game, Finland downed Georgia 87-79 and left both teams at 2-2 in Group D with two games to play.
Williams, a naturalized citizen of Georgia, played the game's full 40 minutes and had 21 points, six assists and four steals. Georgia was hurt by a lack of depth as Williams, Zaza Pachulia (Atlanta Hawks) and Nikoloz Tskitishvili (Minnesta Timberwolves) combined for 66 of the Georgian's 79 points.
They also had no answer for Teemu Rannikko as he poured in 27 points that included five three-pointers on eight attempts. Hanno Mottola (Utah) also starred for Finland with 19 points and nine rebounds.
Georgia hosts Macedonia (4-0) tomorrow and Luxembourg (0-4) on Saturday. The countries in Eurobasket Division B are playing to qualify for EuroBasket 2007 in Spain.
REPORT: K. SMITH WORKING FOR CHARITY GAME
* Houston television station KRIV reported Saturday that former Tar Heel Kenny Smith is working with a promoter to organize a charity all-star basketball game on Sept. 11 in Houston to benefit Hurricane Katrina victims, according to a report by Associated Press.
Smith and a Houston promoter, Martin Fox, said they have commitments from some of the biggest names in the NBA, the reported stated.
Smith said the event has a national television partner that will be announced when details are finalized. The game would be played at Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets. "This is not a pipe dream. It's just small hurdles, not big ones. The big ones have been jumped over," said Smith, according to AP.
BIRTHDAYS OF SEPTEMBER
A look at Tar Heel birthdays for this month ...
- 2: Mike Pepper (47)
- 3: George Lynch (35) and Kevin Madden (39)
- 8: Byron Sanders (22)
- 9: Walter Davis (51)
- 10: Curtis Hunter (42)
- 14: Larry Brown (65) and Pete Chilcutt (37)
- 16: Courtney Chambers (24)
- 17: Rasheed Wallace (31)
- 18: Leah Metcalf (22)
- 21: Doug Moe (67) and Ryan Sullivan (29)
- 23: Pete Brennan (69) and Eric Montross (34)
- 24: Bob MacKinnon (45)
- 25: Bob McAdoo (54), Rashad McCants (21) and Ivory Latta (21)
- 26: L.J. Hepp (27)
- 27: Sylvia Crawley (33) and Candace Sutton (23)