Posts Tagged ‘Oscar Schmidt’

Oscar Schmidt And What Could Have Been

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – He has a personality that splashes everywhere and a big laugh to match. Not quite a Magic Johnson shakes-the-walls laugh, but not far off either.

Except that Oscar Schmidt is being serious now.

He said he would have been one of the 10 best players in the NBA if the basketball world had been different in the 1970s and ‘80s, and he came to the United States. And not one of the 10 best in the league. One of the 10 best ever,

“Yes,” Schmidt said. “Anytime. It was easier, because in the NBA at that time it was one-on-one, always. One-on-one, I’m free. If it comes to two players guarding me, maybe.”

Insert big laugh.

“I would be one of the best 10 ever.”

Schmidt officially enters the Hall of Fame on Sunday afternoon via the International committee as a Brazilian great who played in five Olympics, led the shocking upset of the United States in the title game of the 1987 Pan-American Games in Indianapolis, could score on anybody, and also starred in Italy. But the closest Schmidt got to the NBA was when the Nets drafted him in the sixth round in 1984.

Signing with the NBA at that time would have meant being ineligible for the national team, and Schmidt was not willing to make that tradeoff. The Nets pursued him three years in a row, he said, but no way. After the rules were changed to allow the Dream Team to play in the 1992 Olympics, sure, except that Schmidt was 34 by the time of the historic Barcelona Games. It would be different under the current rules.

“Give me two months of practice, I kill everybody else,” he said Saturday at the Hall of Fame, the day before the induction ceremony.

Another big laugh.

“There was not a price [the Nets could have offered]. There was national team. That’s it. The national team doesn’t have a price. It’s proud. It’s what you live for. And today, people don’t like to play for the national team. That’s very sad for me.”

Schmidt was a 6-foot-9 scoring machine at small forward in the Larry Bird mold, able to shred defenses without beating many opponents in a race or a jumping contest. He could shoot and he was smart. Perfect, then, that Larry Bird agreed to be his presenter Sunday afternoon at Symphony Hall.

Schmidt was asked what he would have averaged in the NBA and said, “One point a minute. Twenty minutes, 20 points. Forty minutes, maybe 60.”

C’mon. Get serious.

“Did you see me play?” Schmidt fired back.

But a point a minute?

“One point a minute at least,” he said. “Do you know how many hours I practiced a day.”

Eight, he answered.

Schmidt will not soften his answer. With a different set of eligibility rules, he would have been one of the all-time NBA greats, and that’s that. To him, there is no debate. There certainly is no big laugh about that.

Schmidt Induction Means USA Flashbacks

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Let us pause, to give David Robinson the opportunity to cover his eyes, Danny Manning time to drop-and-roll his way under the nearest desk and Dan Majerle a chance to run. Anywhere.

Brazilian scoring machine Oscar Schmidt is being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday in Springfield, Mass., and several players from the United States may shudder at the memory of Indianapolis on Aug. 23, 1987, and the showdown for the gold medal at the Pan-American Games.

The team of top college talent – future No. 1 picks Robinson, Manning and Pervis Ellison, coached by Denny Crum – had won the previous six games in the tournament by an average of 25 points. The U.S. program as a whole had won 34 in a row in the Pan-Ams. Then came the Sunday in Market Square Arena that elevated Schmidt to a new level of recognition and started to cut away at the Americans’ sense of invincibility.

Schmidt, a 29-year-old forward who had been playing in Italy, made seven of 15 threes and scored 46 points to lead Brazil from a 14-point halftime deficit to a 120-115 victory and the gold. It was one of what would become a life full of shining moments, but he would later call the game the most satisfying of a career that ended in 2003.

A sixth-round draft pick of the Nets in 1984 who never came to the NBA because, he said, he was offered a one-year guaranteed contract, Schmidt was named one of the 50 greatest players in FIBA history, participated in five Olympics, was the leading scorer in three of them, and now enters the Hall of Fame via the International committee. Among the others who will be inducted Sunday, in addition to the others with NBA, NBA or ties to U.S. college men’s programs:

Sylvia Hatchell – The three-time Coach of the Year took North Carolina to the 1994 national title, the Final Four two other times, and is the only women’s coach to win a championship at three levels (NCAA, NAIA, AIAW). She was the third Division I coach to reach 900 victories in the women’s game and guided teams to a 30-win season seven times and a 20-win seasons on 28 occasions. Hatchell was also an assistant for the U.S. Olympic team that won gold in 1988.

Edwin B. Henderson – Known as the Grandfather of Black Basketball, the selection of the Early African American Pioneers committee first learned the sport at Harvard during a summer of P.E. classes for gym teachers in 1904 and taught the game his students upon returning to Washington. He later formed the first African-American athletic conference, the Interscholastic Athletic Assn. Henderson died in 1977.

Dawn Staley – Staley was a star at every level, a three-time All-America and two-time Player of the Year as a guard at Virginia, a seven-time All-Star in the American Basketball League and the WNBA, and a three-time Olympic gold medalist. Despite leaving college in 1994, she still holds the NCAA women’s record for career steals. Staley also played professionally in France, Italy, Brazil and Spain and is currently the coach at South Carolina with a staff that includes 2012 Hall of Famer Nikki McCray.

Payton, Reinsdorf, Granik Top List Of Hall of Fame Class Of 2013 Nominees

Nine-time All-Star Gary Payton, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and former league executive Russ Granik are among the new Hall of Fame nominees with NBA ties, NBA.com has learned.

Thirty-one candidates are moving forward via selection from the North American committee, the section that handles the majority of the nominees from the NBA. The next step after that is judging by a nine-member panel. Seven votes are needed to advance to the finalist stage, an outcome that will be announced at All-Star weekend in Houston in February. Then, a separate group of 24 voters makes the ultimate ruling. Support from 18 of the 24 is required for induction, with the results revealed at the Final Four in Atlanta in April.

Gary Payton was a nine-time All-Star -- Noren Trotman/NBAE/Getty Images

Gary Payton was a nine-time All-Star in a 17-year career. — Noren Trotman/NBAE/Getty Images

The Women’s committee has a similar process and timing. The only difference is that the initial panel is seven voters and five approvals are necessary. Election into the Hall requires the same 18 of 24 as the North American field.

Five other categories have direct-election with one layer of balloting and a limit of one inductee per committee: ABA, Early African-American Pioneers, Veterans, International and Contributor. Six votes are required among seven ballots sent to people with a background in each area, with winners announced at All-Star weekend.

The International committee has nominated Vlade Divac and Sarunas Marciulionis, who both had long careers in the NBA, and Oscar Schmidt, best known in North America for scoring 46 points to lead Brazil past a United States team (with David Robinson, Danny Manning and several other future NBA players) to win the gold medal at the 1987 Pan-American Games in Indianapolis.

The ABA list includes Zelmo Beatty, Ron Boone, Roger Brown, Mack Calvin, Louie Dampier, Bob (Slick) Leonard and George McGinnis. A year after the induction of Mel Daniels, the Pacers have a good chance to be represented again.

Payton, a trash-talking, menacing two-way player who was named first-team All-Defense by coaches nine years in a row with the SuperSonics, is clearly the strongest candidate among the nominees with an NBA connection. Payton was nicknamed “The Glove” for his tight defense and averaged at least 20 points a game seven times. He also logged at least eight assists a game in five of those seven.

The entire list of nominees from the North American committee (which includes pro, college and high school ranks): John Bach, Dick Bavetta, Gene Bess, Maurice Cheeks, Jack Curran, Bobby Dandridge, Lefty Driesell, Bill Fitch, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Travis Grant, Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Robert Hughes, Kevin Johnson, Marques Johnson (first time on the ballot), Gene Keady, Bernard King, Guy Lewis (first time), Danny Miles, William (Speedy) Morris (first time), Dick Motta, Curly Neal, Payton, Rick Pitino, Mitch Richmond, Paul Silas, Eddie Sutton, Jerry Tarkanian, Rudy Tomjanovich, Paul Westphal and Gary Williams.

Mark Jackson was removed from the ballot after not receiving a single vote in three years, despite being third on the career assist list.

Reinsdorf and Granik are candidates through the Contributor category that also includes, among 21 candidates, Al Attles, Marty Blake, Harry Glickman (first time), Del Harris (first time), Red Klotz (former Baltimore Bullets point guard best known for running the Washington Generals), Jerry Krause, Johnny Most, Gene Shue and Donnie Walsh.

The entire list of nominees is scheduled to be released today.

U.S. and Olympics Records Fall As Anthony, U.S. Destroy Nigeria 156-73

LONDON – Carmelo Anthony couldn’t explain it. Few who witnessed it could, and even they would just be guessing about how records that have stood for years could all come crashing down in a matter of minutes at the Olympic Basketball Arena late Thursday night.

Maybe Anthony is right, perhaps it was “just one of those nights.”

Maybe it was just being in the zone and the perfect opponent at the perfect time for a team still hunting perfection in a game that has been known to humble those chasing foolish things.

And maybe, just maybe, it was Anthony, one of the greatest scorers on the planet right now, catching fire in a glorious 14 minute and 29-second stretch the likes of we might not see again on the Olympic stage.

By the time the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team had finished toying with Nigeria, they set Olympic records for most points in a half and most points in a game in their 156-73 win, the only thing anyone knew for sure was that history had been made and that they’d probably never see anything like it again.

Anthony set U.S. Olympic records for points (37), breaking Stephon Marbury‘s record of 31 (against Spain in 2004), 3-pointers made and attempted (10-for-12) and the U.S. team set Olympic records for points scored, points in a first half (78), field goals made (59), 3-pointers made and attempted (29-for-46), field goal percentage (71.1), victory margin (83) and their 41 assists tied a record.

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