USA Basketball Player Blogs - July 31

During the course of USA Basketball training camp, players will be checking in on a regular basis to give you the scoop on what's going on in Las Vegas and in the minds of the team as they prepare for the 2006 FIBA World Championships.

Carmelo Anthony | Bruce Bowen | Kirk Hinrich | Amare Stoudemire
Previous Player Blogs: Week One from Las Vegas

Back from Denver, Back to Work
Posted by Carmelo Anthony on July 31, 2006, 10:50 p.m. ET

I went back to Denver for a couple days, for the week. I took a day or two off. I played, worked out and came back to Las Vegas. That was my four or five days off.

It feels good to be back. This is probably the best pickup ball youíre going to play in the summer and at the same time, youíre learning about each other. Everybody is out here making each other better. Itís going to help us out for the Olympics and for our regular season, too.

Right now, weíre going to take the scrimmage against Puerto Rico as a real game, but at the same time, weíre just looking to get better at certain aspects of the game and hopefully tomorrow weíll see how our chemistry is as a team.

You Kind of Dread the First Day Back
Posted by Bruce Bowen on July 31, 2006, 10:50 p.m. ET

The break was wonderful for me because it was a chance for me to visit with my family. My wife has allowed me to represent my country. And I say, ďshe has allowed me to,Ē because itís a union that we have and it is not just about me. She understands that I want to represent our country, so we had to make concessions with our plans for the summer. It just so happens Iíve been working out a great deal the whole summer and our little break was a chance for me to get away and visit with her in the Bahamas. Thatís what we did. I was able to work out in the mornings so I would have my total afternoons with the family. So, thatís what I did.

It feels great to be back. You kind of dread that first day because you havenít been around the ball Ė as far as team ball. Youíve been working out or whatever, but that doesnít amount to what you do when you get out on the court and youíre playing defense against somebody else and things of that nature.

Youíre always going to be a little rusty, I think, any time you take time off because itís a whole learning situation for everybody learning Coach Kís system and what he would like. So, itís just a little learning curve, but you get over that and you move on.

It will be exciting to see different faces when we scrimmage Puerto Rico tomorrow. And just to see how we come together and guys really push one another to get the job done, as far as defensive pressure and getting out on the break and things like that.

It Felt Good Today
Posted by Kirk Hinrich on July 31, 2006, 10:45 p.m. ET

The break went well. I think I just tried to get some rest and just get ready to come back out here. Weíve been gone for a long time. The break went well, Iím happy to be coming back and excited to be here.

I tried to get some rest over the break. I just tried to take care of my body and my leg and get ready. There really wasnít much going on except for just hanging out. My hamstring feels good. It feels much better. I think the rest really helped it. Iím just excited about how good it felt today.

Today we revisited what we did during the first week Ė trying to just get better as a team. For us, organization has to come together quickly because we havenít been together that long. I think guys are doing a good job of picking things up.

The communication between players is coming. Itís going to be another key thing for us: how well we communicate with each other because weíre not used to playing with each other. If we were able to play together, communicate together and play organized, I think weíll be fine.

Weíre real excited to scrimmage against Puerto Rico tomorrow. Practice has been good but I think any time you can face an opponent you could possibly face in the World Championships and just see somebody else and see how you stack up and where youíre at, itís good for us.

Time To Play
Posted by Amare Stoudemire on July 31, 2006, 10:55 p.m. ET

My time off was well spent. I had a chance to really enjoy my time with my family and kind of relax a little bit and enjoy the city of Phoenix. Now itís back to work. We didnít really have too much time off and thatís understandable; weíve got a goal at hand. So, itís time to play.

The communication between players is coming along great. Sometimes you have to remind yourselves to talk. So, thatís one thing weíve been doing as a team is talking more and better.

Today, we just kind of refreshed our memory on the plays, on the defensive schemes and what-have-you. Those are the things that weíre really focusing on. Heís doing a good job of teaching us the things that he wants done and itís our job to do it. The purpose of practicing is to make the drills interesting so, that way, once weíre out there on the court, we donít have to think about it. We just go out there and play ball.

I think the scrimmage tomorrow against Puerto Rico is going to be a wake-up call, for us to go play against another team. Whether itís a dominant game or we have to fight to win, itís still going to be a wake-up call for us. Either thereís going be some flaws or thereís going to be some great things during that game so, weíre just looking forward to the experience.