USA Basketball makes its move to Tempe official

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While the United States senior men’s national basketball team has held its summer training camps in Las Vegas, using UNLV’s on-campus Mendenhall Center as a home base of sorts, junior teams have held their training and tryout camps in Colorado Springs, Colorado since 1993.

That officially changed on Wednesday, as USA Basketball announced that it will move its headquarters to Tempe, Ariz. USA Place, LLC has been commissioned to develop the new headquarters, which will be based on a 10.5-acre plot of land right next to the Arizona State campus.

“This is an exciting and an incredible opportunity that offers nothing but positives for USA Basketball,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in the release. “USA Place will offer USA Basketball an excellent site for the development of its office headquarters, a training center and event center that will provide the organization with a first-class site for hosting junior level events and will allow USA Basketball to continue to evolve.

“The new USA Basketball headquarters and training center will be first-class, state of art facilities, something I know we will be very proud of.”

The facility, which is projected to cost $350 million, will also host state championships for the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

One question to ask: how much will this benefit Arizona State?

According to, which initially reported the arrangement back in June, developers expect some 300,000 people to pass through the new development (there will also be a conference center and a hotel) annually. So economically there will be a boost, but there’s also the aspect of having some of the nation’s best prep talent right around the corner as well.

Even in the case of college players who are trying out for these junior national teams, word travels when it comes to a campus and what it has to offer so that won’t hurt matters either.

Whether or not head coaches Herb Sendek (men’s) and Charli Turner Thorn (women’s) make inroads with recruits based on this news remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a positive for their respective programs.

“Everything we do is in terms of recruiting the best players to our program, and this will help us do that,” Turner Thorne told AZCentral. “This is a huge victory for our community in the name of world-class basketball.”

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.