BRONZE, BENCH FOR JAMISON AT WORLDS
* ... After playing seven minutes in a Team USA win over Australia to reach the quarterfinals, former Tar Heel star Antawn Jamison was reduced to four minutes in a mop-up role in a victory over Germany. The win advanced the USA to the final four of the FIBA World Championship in Japan.
When Greece stunned the USA last Friday 101-95 in the semifinals, Jamison was never called on and could only observe his team from the bench.
"Well it's just a tough loss to take in," the Washington Wizards' forward told a reporter from fiba.com about being defeated by Greece. "To play defensively the way we did today after doing so well in some of most recent games is disappointing and it's uncharacteristic of the way we've been playing of late."
On playing sparingly and not getting much of a chance to contribute: "It's very hard. It's one thing to accept it if we win but to think that you could have gone out there and played well and given an extra spark, it's disappointing right now. But you know, it's a team effort," Jamison responded to fiba.com.
Team USA (8-1) went on to defeat Argentina (7-2) by 15 in the third-place game on Saturday to claim bronze medals, as they did at the Olympics in 2004. Again, Jamison did not leave the bench.
Spain took the gold medal at the World Championship and the 2008 Olympic berth that goes with it. The Americans get another chance to qualify for the Beijing Summer Games at the FIBA Tournament of the Americas next August in Venezuela where berths will go to the top two teams.
"Now we have to go through another tournament, but that's the price you have to pay when you don't come out and win. We just have to keep our heads held high and be ready for next summer," said Jamison about the next challenge for Team USA.
Jamison's 2006 WC stats: 7 games, 8.9 MPG, 3.6 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 5 steals, FG: 10-30 (.333), 3-pt. FG: 5-15 (.333), FT: 0-1 (.000)
* ... Ademola Okulaja posted some nice numbers -- 15 points and nine boards -- against the USA in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Championship in Japan. Germany trailed by only one point at halftime, but could not overcome poor shooting by Dirk Nowitzki, foul trouble for Nowitzki and Okulaja, and lack of depth, and could not keep pace with the Americans.
Okulaja connected on 6-of-7 from the field in 29 minutes with four personal fouls and five turnovers in the game against Team USA and his former Tar Heel teammate Antawn Jamison.
The loss to the USA sent Germany (5-4) into the loser's bracket where they lost a close game to France and then fell to Lithuania in the game for seventh-place on Sunday.
Okulaja's 2006 WC stats: 9 games, 26 MPG, 10.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.1 APG, 9 steals, 1 block, FG: 35-71 (.493), 3-pt. FG: 10-26 (.385), FT: 14-17 (.824)
FRANCIS MARION ADDS HOLMES
* ... After his first season as a coach with Montreat College (NAIA, Div. II), former Tar Heel Jonathan Holmes ('03) was ready to move on. Charleston Southern appeared to be his next stop as an assistant coach, but in mid-July things changed and that job didn't happen.
Holmes then interviewed at Div. II Carson-Newman College (Jefferson City, Tenn.). He was one of two finalists being considered for an assistant coach position there. However, the Carson-Newman job eventually went to UNC-Wilmington assistant coach Chuck Benson instead.
That left an opening at UNC-Wilmington. It was filled by Adam Collins, the head assistant coach at Francis Marion University (Florence, S.C.). That transaction had Francis Marion's new Head Coach Gary Edwards looking for a replacement for his top assistant as the school year was about to begin.
"Coach Edwards got in touch with Coach [Eddie] Fogler, who recommended me," Holmes explained to Inside Carolina via e-mail last week. "After interviewing [at Francis Marion] last week, I have moved to Florence, South Carolina, and started work."
"Jonathan is an outstanding young coach with a bright future in this profession," said Francis Marion Head Coach Edwards in a statement released by the school announcing the hiring of Holmes.
"As a standout student and athlete in Indiana, and later as a co-captain for the University of North Carolina, he has established a record of extraordinary performance," Edwards also noted.
Holmes told IC, "I had a great start to my coaching career last year at Montreat College, and I anticipate the same experience, if not better, here at FMU." He also has two years of professional experience overseas having played in England and Denmark after leaving North Carolina.
Holmes expects to be very busy as the head assistant coach at FMU, a Division II school and member of the Peach Belt Conference. His duties with the Patriots will include recruiting, on-floor coaching, monitoring individual workouts and providing academic support.
"It will be a great opportunity for me to get a ton of experience in only my second year of coaching," said Holmes about his new job.
TAR HEEL PROS: GRIDIRON EDITION
* ... For Raiders wide receiver Ronald Curry, the comeback effort through the riggers of training camp and limited action in the preseason games looks to have been a success.
"Curry, a third-down threat before torn Achilles tendons ended each of his previous two seasons, twice glided effortlessly on deep post patterns. Both times quarterback [Andrew] Walter overthrew him," the AP reported after the Raiders' final exhibition game last week.
* ... The Jets' final cutdown to 53 players included a mild surprise, according to the New York Post. Free-agent rookie receiver Wallace Wright from North Carolina made the squad.
Calling Wright "a terrific story," the Post noted the former Tar Heel never started a game for North Carolina and only had 23 receptions in his college career.
"He just came in and took every opportunity, did positive things with them and just kept distinguishing himself," Jets' coach Eric Mangini said, according to the article.
* ... The Cowboys released third-string quarterback Matt Baker over the weekend. Dallas Head Coach Bill Parcells had said often that he would only carry two quarterbacks on the active roster. Baker was then signed to the Dallas eight-man practice squad.
* ... TRANSACTIONS: Defensive Lineman Chase Page cut and signed to practice squad by San Diego, Baltimore released TE Bobby Blizzard, CB Cedric Holt waived by Tennessee, LB Sedrick Hodge cut by Miami and FS Dexter Reid released by Indianapolis.
Throughout the season consult the alumni link posted at IC to locate where former Tar Heels are playing in the NFL.
SEPTEMBER TAR HEEL BIRTHDAYS