JaVale McGee Continues To Impress In Pursuit of His Family’s Third Gold Medal
Paula and Pamela McGee, aunt and mother of JaVale McGee
[photo via mlive.com]
I was going to throw this in a link post (ShareBullets), but it seems worthy on its own. ESPN’s Chris Sheridan has posted a full update from Team USA training camp day two on TrueHoop, but I’ll quote one particular aspect that’s certainly of interest to Wizards fans. Sheridan writes:
After practice, I spent some time chatting with JaVale McGee, who was cut from the team after mini-camp in Las Vegas but then was invited back when Brook Lopez withdrew. McGee had an interesting story to tell about rifling through the dresser drawers at his grandmother’s house when he was a young boy and coming upon the Olympic gold medal was won by his mother, Pam McGee, for the 1984 U.S. Olympic women’s team. McGee’s aunt, Paula — the twin sister of Pam — was cut from the ’84 team, and McGee’s younger sister, Imani Stafford, 16, won a gold medal earlier this summer for the United States at the under-17 girls World Championship in France.“He’s trying to do what he can do,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “and if we don’t make the final roster decision here, which I don’t think we will, I hope he continues on with us because he’ll keep getting better. At that spot, Tyson (Chandler) is really playing well, and you know what Lamar (Odom) will do when he gets into game shape. But if something goes wacky, to have another big guy is not a bad thing. That’s where he fits in. He’s in the discussion. And when we started camp in Vegas he wasn’t even invited. So he’s made that much of an impression.
Whether JaVale will actually get a shot at his family’s third gold medal in international play remains to be seen … pretty cool to be in contention nonetheless. And if McGee doesn’t make it this year, he’s putting in a lot of work for the future. It looks like he should at least pack his bags and prepare to play in Team USA’s three exhibition games in Europe before the FIBA Worlds in Turkey — versus Lithuania on August 21st and Spain on the 22nd, both in Madrid, and versus Greece in Athens on the 25th.
The most encouraging part of Sheridan’s report, at least to me, is Coach K saying, “he’s made that much of an impression.” It makes me consider, perhaps McGee could be more coachable (or less un-coachable) than I thought. Guess he’ll really only be able to prove that in a Wizards uniform under Flip Saunders though. In any case, set your T.V. to ESPN 2 at 1 pm this Sunday to watch McGee and Team USA take on France in an exhibition match.