Dengate’s All-Tournament Team
Posted Sep 2 2007 10:14PM
LAS VEGAS, September 2, 2007 — With a 23-point showing in the gold medal game of the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, new Houston Rocket Luis Scola put the finishing touches on a spectacular tournament -- even if it ended in silver, as Argentina dropped the final contest to the United States, 118-81.
In 10 games here in Las Vegas, the Argentine big man posted averages of 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds -- both figures placing him in the top seven in each category.
While Scola proved to be the most valuable to his team's cause, there were a number of outstanding performers who consistently turned in strong outings over the tournament's 12 days. So, as we close the book on this stage of Olympic qualifying, I present to you my all-tournament team, those five individuals who stood out above the rest of the field:
ROMEL BECK, MexicoIt looks like there is nothing this kid can't do on the floor. He was the only real threat Mexico had and yet still managed to shoot 58.9 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. He even drew a four-point play on Kobe Bryant after breaking the ankles of the perennial NBA All-Star. It's a bit surprising he hasn't gotten a look by any NBA teams, but his play here may change that very soon.
LEANDRO BARBOSA, BrazilBarbosa had Brazil in position to claim one of the Olympic bids, but the team couldn't hold on to a double-digit second half lead, losing to Argentina in the semifinals. Even so, the Brazilian Blur played admirably given he twisted an ankle during the tournament, that seemed to slow him even if he still appeared the fastest player on the hardwood. He turned in four of the top nine single-game scoring performances (36 vs. Virgin Islands; 34 vs. Puerto Rico; 32 vs. Uruguay; and 30 vs. Canada) and registered the tournament's top scoring average (21.8 ppg).
ESTEBAN BATISTA, UruguayBatista was a beast to reckon with for any team's big man -- and his replacements. He's big, strong, relentlessly crashes the glass and was, seemingly, on the court the entire tournament. A restricted free agent of the Atlanta Hawks, Batista logged the highest workload of any player on the eight teams still fighting beyond the first weekend, averaging 35.5 a night for Uruguay. And he was effective in that time, averaging a tournament-best 12.4 boards per game and scoring more than 20 points in five of his team's eight games.
CARMELO ANTHONY, United StatesAnthony said this weekend, "It sounds funny, but it's almost like it comes naturally to me. The game is fun." Most of the tournament it seemed that way, as Anthony is the only player -- who averaged more than eight points per contest -- to avergage better than a point per minute he played. Anthony led the US with 21.2 points in only 19.4 minutes per night. Compare that with Phoenix's Leandro Barbosa, who averaged a tournament high 21.8 for Brazil but required 32.0 minutes a night to do so.
HECTOR ROMERO, VenezuelaVenezuela didn't really give too many teams trouble, as it went 1-6 in the tournament, but the team's leading scorer (19.9 ppg) Romero was the focal point of every opponent's defense. He has one of the ugliest, albeit effective, jumpers this tournament has seen, but he looked just as comfortable stroking the ball as he did pump faking and driving to the rim.
SIXTH MAN: FEDERIC KAMMERICHS, ArgentinaMy tourney fave. Kammerichs will first grab your attention with his sweet 'stache, while his heart and drive will win you over. Not the most athletic player in this tournament, Kammerichs never took a second off when he was on the floor. He proved a pest on the offensive glass, but could still step out and hit a three on you. What won me over? On Wednesday night, he went up to block a shot in the low post by Nene only to be undercut by the Brazilian. Kammerichs had to be helped off the floor and didn't return, but the next night was there at midcourt, crouched down trying to stay in front of LeBron James. Nevermind the foolishness in such thinking, you have to love the effort.