Need a Cal fix? Watch the Dominican Republic National Team take on Uruguay in round three of the FIBA Americas Championship at 1 p.m. Eastern on ESPN3. Yesterday, the team beat Panama, 92-68, a victory marred by Edgar Sosa’s horrific leg injury, which I still can’t handle looking at. The tournament ends Sunday with the top two teams qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.
Here’s ESPN’s preview of the Dominican Republic team, written prior to the second round. It goes without saying that the team will greatly miss Sosa, and Cal will have to rally the troops for a good performance this afternoon.
One of the many treats of watching FIBA-TV’s broadband telecast of these games on ESPN3.com is to watch and listen to Dominican Republic head coach John Calipari throughout entire timeouts. Clearly a player’s coach, he occasionally needs to pull a cheat sheet from his coat pocket to go over some of the plays he has already installed. Charlie Villanueva is recovering from an ankle injury and is out of shape; he commits a foul every five minutes spent on the court and is struggling to get in rhythm and from 3. It will be difficult to do so in this tournament.
The Dominican Republic can be a maddening team to watch, and even more to root for, as they forget their keys to success for stretches. Their commitment to championship-level defense comes and goes, and they fail to consistently get the most of one of the finest players in this tournament, Al Horford. The Dominicans played their best basketball so far in their last two games, so there is a sense they are improving, but the quality of competition they will face will be unprecedented for this team and for Calipari. Francisco GarcÃa seems to be finally taking advantage of the inside-out game with Horford, and Jack-Michael MartÃnez, a poor man’s Dennis Rodman, is an automatic double-double, with a few bonehead plays thrown in the mix. The Dominican Republic is has the talent to make it all the way to Sunday’s final, but it will have to demonstrate it has learned the FIBA game quickly.
You want a link? I’ll give you a link.
¡Viva la RepÃºblica Dominicana! ¡Viva Calipari!