Nigeria Will Be A Different Test For U.S.

LONDON – Moments after a 47-point beating of Tunisia Tuesday night, Tyson Chandler was asked if he had seen anyone on the opposing team capable of joining him one day in the NBA.

Ever the diplomat, Chandler didn’t take that bait.

“Well, I honestly wasn’t focused on that,” he said. “My focus was on winning the game and that’s really all I was thinking about.”

That’s fair. Tunisia is the only team in the Olympic field that doesn’t boast at least one player with NBA experience. Nigeria, the team that the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team tussles with later today (5:15 p.m. ET) will provide a different test than that young Tunisia team did.

Nigeria has several American-born players with NBA ties on their roster, including Hornets swingman Al-Farouq Aminu, the No. 8 pick in the 2010 Draft, and former NBA players Ike Diogu and Olumide Oyedeji. Aminu’s older brothe, Alade, is a former Georgia Tech star.

Nigeria might be the most surprising team here, considering the road it had to travel to get to the Olympics.

The Nigerians pulled off a couple of stunners in the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament, including upset wins over Lithuania and Greece, as well as a 25-point, 10-rebound performance by Diogu in a win over Hawks All-Star center Al Horford and the Dominican Republic that clinched Nigeria’s first ticket to the Olympics.

The Nigerians didn’t waste any time making themselves comfortable, knocking off African champion Tunisia in their opener before coming back to earth Tuesday in an ugly 72-53 loss to Lithuania.

But that setback won’t have any impact when they hit the court tonight.

“It’s a new game and another chance for us to try and prove ourselves on this stage,” said Diogu, the former No. 9 pick of the 2005 Draft who has 225 games of NBA experience. “Beating Tunisia showed everybody that we belong here. It was a historic day for Nigeria and the basketball program … We will not be intimidated by those guys. A lot of us went to school in the U.S. and have played against those guys. We have no reason to feel overwhelmed.””

While it should be a bit more of a test for the U.S., any dreams of anything more should be tempered by one quick look at the rosters.

“We already know we’re getting everybody else’s best shot,” LeBron James said. “That’s the way it always goes and probably always will. And that’s fine. We have to worry about us and what we do. We take care of that business and we’ll be fine.”

Whether or not James and the rest of the U.S. Team’s first unit will do the bulk of the heavy lifting against Nigeria remains to be seen. U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski played around with his lineup last time out, starting the second five in the second half against Tunisia, before giving his team a day off on Wednesday, most likely their last of this competition.

The American players keep saying all of the right things and stressing that they respect all opponents, only to destroy the competition by an average of 37 points in their first two games. They’re making it look easy.

“It’s not easy to us,” James said. “The final score may look that way, but we go out and we work hard, we work our habits and we try to get better.”

Tonight should be another opportunity for the U.S. to do exactly that.

73 Comments

  1. vern says:

    @Mario Cheese—- You say if Rubio wasn’t hurt they’d win. LMAO!!! So Rubio would somehow put LeBron,Kobe.Carmelo,Durrant in check with his presence? You’d have a better chance convincing us that the world is flat.
    You must be smoking the same thing ESPANA TRUE CHAMPIONS is. Put the pipe down and concentrate!

  2. Maxman32 says:

    Correct with the different eras about 1992 and 2012. I think that the 92er team would have the record if they had the rules of today.
    1992: 2 halfs a 20 minutes
    2012: 4 quarters a 12 minutes
    1992: 30 second shot clock
    2012: 24 seconds shot clock
    1992: 127 points highest score
    2012: 156 points
    1992: highest points per minute: 127/40: 3,17
    2012: 156/48: 3,25

    So if the teams back 1992 would have to shoot 6 seconds earlier every possession…:-).

  3. osiris says:

    USA will still dominate International Basketball not unless they would not allow NBA players to participate, just like the times before the Dream Team. It would then level the playing field since USA has unlimited number of talents and prospect compared to other countries.

  4. info says:

    i can not compare the 92 dream team to this 2012 team. they both played in diffrent era’s. today the game is more faster and in th 90′s more physical style of play. but this 2012 team is better than the 08 team

  5. Spanishoop says:

    Awesome game by the Team Usa, congratulations.

    I´m Spanish too and proud to have some guys playing in the Nba. This generation for Spain is the best ever for us (including winning one world championship), there are 40 million people living in Spain, you have around 320 million people there. Think about your “professional” Ncaa league for youth people compared with our What league?

    So i think our success is better than a lot of countries cuz we have less opportunities and less money too.

    You work harder, but expend more money than all the world leagues joint. International players are coming to the Nba as never before due to Tv earnings or they are really closer to the Us regular players?

    Congratulations to Team USA again, you really know how to play, but some respect is good too.

    Spanish 2nd roster is kinda loser, they always waste all the lead (watch out Claver in Portland, give him a lot of towels).

  6. lakers says:

    in a 2 on 2 kobe and leborn vs gasol bothers the bothers would win hands down too much size. plus its going to be a halfcourt game cause its 2 on 2. so even a bigger advantage of being big.

  7. Adrian says:

    shame on Coach K
    this is the Olympics– win by 20 and leave it at that, there is no honor in putting up 153 points on a poor county that does not have a professional basketball league.

  8. No way says:

    I’m from Spain and I think, and most of the people think the same here, that there is no way for us to beat this USA team. It’s obvious that you’ll get the gold medal without any problems. And I agree with some comments above… We’ll see if We’ll be able to reach the final round after watching such bad game against GB. If We had Riki Rubio, We would probably have more chances to win… the silver.

    Congratulations to the americans. What a fantastic performance that you’ve shown us today.

  9. riotzilla says:

    James Harden Broken here:

  10. I miss Wade and Bosh

    • Spanishoop says:

      You mean Wade, Howard and Rose…

      Bosh? Well huh…

      • Spanishoop says:

        Who misses Blake Griffin? well, maybe some teenagers…i guess he is too much agressive, he could be as Lbj if he had more respect at playing.

  11. R.g. says:

    I used to play basketball but after this game I won´t.

  12. Bert says:

    ^^
    Maybe Europe can… not Espana…

  13. Leon says:

    Gotta love the guy that said that “the whole USA team is talented enough to get a team built around them BUT HARDEN”. James has probably the highest Basketball IQ of the team at his mere 23 years old. He can read the court like few guys on the league on both ends. Try building a team around Melo, like NY is ridiculously keep trying to do, see where you end up.

  14. The clown says:

    Do you know what I´m more scare about next games?

    Dracula. Be carfeul guys of injuries. Lights with you.

  15. mario cheese says:

    If Ricky Rubio wasnt injured then I believe Spain could really beat the US

    • Spanishoop says:

      Navarro’s better by far than Rubio. They both are injured.

      Navarro was last European Mvp beating Pau Gasol and has come to the Olympics at 20% or maybe 30% (he had played around 15 minutes at all).

      Check out Ricky’s games with Team Spain, nothing special.

      If we had Navarro at 80% we would gain more respect.

  16. Frank says:

    If USA plays like today, NOBODY can beat them, nobody. I think Nigeria didn’t play thaaat bad, it was USA which played their best game ever. Give them the gold medal and let the others play for the silver.

  17. Jen says:

    This team is better than the Dream Team and alot more likable too. They are getting better and better! I would like to see Westbrook start over DWill for one of these games.

  18. USA . Enough Said says:

    AHAHHAHAA . Are you serious . If Spain Beats Russia I’ll Be Suprised . There pathetic ok all they have is 3 big guys . We have Kobe . Enough said . AHAHA . Ok . Wait . All you have is your 2 guys gasols . Who would win in 2 on 2 .? Lebron , Kobe or The Gasol Brothers . Exactly, Stfu . We stay in United states chanting USA .

  19. alchemist says:

    last time i know, Espana was almost beaten by GB!

  20. ARGENTINA says:

    Im from Argentina and i love Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino. but we dont have a chance against USA, nobody does. Still hope for a silver medal

  21. USA, USA! says:

    @Olympic Nigerian Basketball Team: Ouch…

    @USA Basketball Team: Damn Son…83 points!

  22. modern9527 says:

    It’s really different……making US broke record……

  23. Magic13 says:

    I think US have the best team. Name by name they should be undefeatable.
    But today differences have narrowed. So names and talent don’t warranty winning.
    One thing that can make them lose is their attitude.
    They believe they have already won it all… it’s like they should have granted the gold and stayed home while the rest of the world compete for silver.
    That’s not the best approach when you know you have the best talent. That’s not the image you need to show. What’s the point? You need to show other things… respect, effort, sportmanship, a trully team play. And then you will be trully admired.

    • International says:

      I disagree with you. Actually it seems for me that US team competes strong even against weak teams. I do not think that differences narrowed. Before and today still US team just crushes other teams. Maybe it was a really bad attitude in 2004, bad coaching, but US team is still MUCH stronger than others and probably unbeatable in this tournament. US members don’t say that they already won, they acknowledge that other teams are talented and robust and that may beat US if they would not compete with much effort and heart.

  24. dondonscreek0102 says:

    Based on what teams are showing off so far, Spain is in fourth place for me behind USA, Russia and Argentina…
    … but sure dude, dreaming is free and as we all know, nothing is impossible…
    but sometimes, we just have to accept some clear realities of life. USA is a very tough one to beat. And for Spain, it will also be a lot of hard work for them to beat the other 2 teams I mentioned.

  25. International says:

    US is much stronger than all other teams, they could beat others playing with only 6 players:)

  26. Mark says:

    My dude Espana up there gave all of us some good laughing material. Thanks for that Espana. But really though, it isn’t even a discission whether the USA team is going to beat everyone they come up against. The only thing I can think of that can be up for dispute here is by how much.

    But yeah, good luck to Nigeria though. I hope they keep the deficit under 20pts. I think that would be as good as a win for any team going up against the US.

  27. Harvindeerjeet Singh says:

    GOOOOOOOOOOOO INDIAAA!!! I HOPE INDIA BEATS ALLLLLL!!!!

  28. Dramey says:

    I guess if you can consider anything under a double digit victory a loss by the U.S. then all those teams will do great. But actually beating the USA team, Espana, pull your head out of your behind.

  29. Showbaba Canada says:

    I love team USA even though I still appreciate my motherland Nigeria. One thing that is sure about the Nigerians is that we know the truth we hope to beat team USA but yet we know is a hard thing to do comparing the experience of team USA and the Nigerian team. We know USA is winning this one but yeah this is sport where any thing can happen. Goodluck if we beat team USA.

  30. Sand King says:

    Spain must have to beat russia first! but it will be very tough for them to get rid off russia! especially the WOLVES DUO are GROWLING now which is ready to bite anyone going against them.. A.S & A.K 47 are the two best player in group B! no doubt about that..

  31. J.T. says:

    I’m from Spain. The first comment is over-excited and unreal… Yeah, Spain has a chance to defeat USA, but it’s very difficult. Although Gasol brothers aren’t only good players we have. Navarro is the second best spanish player ever. He is injured, but he still can help us. And Calderón, Rudy, Ibaka, S. Rodríguez, Reyes and Llull can do it well.

    USA is first, and in a second place go Spain, Argentina, Brazil and Russia. That’s clear. :)

  32. Rocabye says:

    Its common knowledge USA has the best team in the Olympics. The only question is if they’ll have such a bad game that someone can actually beat them in an upset. It’s more about USA playing terribly then anyone else playing well. USA on a bad day is still better than every other team out there, with a possible exception to Spain.

  33. nbafan says:

    lol these comments make me laugh specially the first one

  34. USA4GOLD says:

    ESPANA you sound so kiddish! At least hope for getting silver cause France is going to whoop your butt and USA is taking it all the way to GOLD!!!!

  35. YOUR A FOOL says:

    ESPANA ?!? LOL, WHAT A JOKE.
    USA can take out Spain without effort.
    Your the biggest fool for thinking spain has any chance of winning gold.

  36. vern says:

    ESPANA TRUE CHAMPIONS—- ARE YOU CRAZY? I know you’re trying to hype yourself up which is always a good thing but don’t believe the hype.LOL, true those teams you talk of have some good players but the USA has great players. With the exception of Anthony Davis and maybe James Harden, every single player on USA is talented enough to have teams build around them. Every single player is talented enough to be the main focus of opposing teams. We have two or three players that are talented enough to be the main focus of the entire NBA. NOTE: Every team is scared of USA. Ask them and THEY will tell you so. The most these teams you speak of can do is make the games entertaining to watch.They might even make some USA fans bite their fingernails. No brag just fact!!

  37. B-baller says:

    This ESPANA guy reminds me of Laker fans during the regular season. Talk about how good your team is AFTER they beat my team. Thanks.

  38. lbj says:

    who do you think will win 1992 dream team vs 2012 dream team with prime wilt chamberlain and kareem abdul jabar on their roster in a game 7 showdown?

  39. PGKing says:

    As a fellow Nigerian,I’m so proud of our boys,for making it this far and although are chances of beating the US are slim to none,all of Nigeria will be rooting for them…if only my younger cousin Folarin Campbell was included on the Nigerian team,I would feel better about our chances…pin:21BB8342

  40. christian says:

    don’t talk too much espana, and you will see who the true champions, USA is the best team you have to accept the facts that basketball is came and develop in america

  41. ESPANA TRUE CHAMPIONS says:

    This is SILLY talk by Americans.

    Team USA thinks they are special because they beat weak teams like NIgeria and Tunisia. TEAM USA scare NOBODY.

    I want to see what America says after Espana defeats you in the gold medal game. That is to say IF TEAM USA/Fake dream team beats ARgentina, Brazil, and Russia which won’t happen. ESPANA WILL BE CHAMPS!

    • NbaGuy123 says:

      Are you retarted? I dare you to try to compare those teams to the US, you will eat all your words soon. The US already crusehed spain and will do it again.

      • lbj says:

        who do you think will win 1992 dream team vs 2012 dream team with prime wilt chamberlain and kareem abdul jabar on their roster?

      • KamilfromQueens says:

        All Spain has is the Gasol brothers.

        Name one person on that roster that can stop…hmmm, lets see, KOBE, LEBRON, MELO, DURANT, WESTBROOK, IGUODALA, or HARDEN, on any given night.

        N O B O D Y can

        The sooner you understand that you have no chance, the sooner you will have a good night’s sleep.

      • KamilfromQueens says:

        On a second note, the only team that has played very well against us is Argentina.

        A couple hard fouls and Manu is down.

        We win.

      • jared says:

        lbj, are you seriously adding a prime Wilt and kareem? ok since they chose laetner over shaq, lets add a prime shaq to 2012 along with a healthy dwight howard, a healthy D wade, and a healthy derrick rose and see who would win that. most likely usa

      • uoykcuf says:

        Hey, how come noone is feeding lbj troll? He’s hungry!

      • @LBJ says:

        wilt retired back in the 70s and kareem retired in ’89, so your question is irrelevant

    • Law064 says:

      @Espana true champions are you sure that Spain will even get to the gold medal round? Yous Spain will get destroyed again by the US. The US will beat any team in this year olympics, just face it Spain is NOT godd enough to beat the US. USA USA USA!!!!!

    • BOOyah says:

      did your ESPANA win gold last time or silver? thats what i thought

    • TTKIN says:

      So an article trying to help the world recognize that Nigeria is a good team now, and theyre overcoming odds, and all u take away from that is cursing about America’s team? Typical hater.

      I’ve lived in the US for a long time and I enjoy every team, country, sport, and bit of competition. Quit hating and be happy we can watch so many countries compete with each other and show respect. That doesnt happen often because of people like you.

    • axel2091 says:

      I guess that the beat down of Spain in the Prelims meant nothing? Reality check, pal. If Spain somehow makes it to the final, the USA will be more than happy to serve you with the silver medals on a silver platter because the only gold being served will be around the neck of the USA.

    • K_S85 says:

      Getta outta here!!!!!!!!! now!!!!!

    • Alexies says:

      Are you talking about the Spain team that just barely beat GB by 1?

    • tom says:

      you were lucky to beat a team as terrible as gb . usa could have beat them by 80 but were kind enough to win by only 40 .

    • Amitpal says:

      Seriously?? I think, no I’m sure that Team USA bench can beat spain. talent level is not even close. Let’s take the bench. Deron Williams, Russel Westbrook, James Harden, Melo, and Kevin Love. That team can easily take down spain. The Gasol brothers are big and long but Pau is weak. Melo can easily throw Pau off the block cause he’s not that strong. Love can contain Mark. After that spain has nothing. Ruseel can shut down any wing player Spain throw’s at him including Ricky Rubio who does better in the nba then in the international basketball. End of the day, USA bench wins easy.

    • keso says:

      as simple as youve never won an olympic gold medal ever since period… gasol brothers will retire without an olympic gold medal…. in your dreams…