USA Basketball rolled into the nation’s capital this past weekend, taking part in a variety of World Basketball Festival events throughout the city. It all culminates with the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams facing off tonight at the Verizon Center against their counterparts from Brazil in a friendly exhibition. The men’s team held a “Hoops for Troops” practice on Saturday afternoon at D.C. Armory in front of 3,000 fans, many of them members of the armed forces. The team ran through 5-on-0 full court offensive sets, defensive drills, and had an intra-squad scrimmage. The special gathering had a “midnight madness” feel with a sprinkle of Wizards home game flavor. And, lest we forget, these are the best basketball players in the world going hard at each other; it was truly special to witness. (Additional coverage of this experience will be available in forthcoming posts.)
On Sunday, the men’s team held a practice at the Smith Center (George Washington University’s basketball arena), and it was briefly open to the media. The preparations are part of the USA Basketball tour that started in Las Vegas with this stop in D.C., along with appearances in Manchester, England and Barcelona, Spain, before ultimately arriving in London to defend their 2008 Olympic gold.
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