Wichita State’s Ron Baker is No. 7 for Team USA, which is in training camp at the Chicago Bulls facility. It opens play in the Pan Am Games on July 21 against Venezuela in Toronto.
On Wednesday, Baker described training camp as tough and physical because of the number of pro players. The roster is made up of seven collegians and five pros, four of whom played overseas most recently and former NBA player Ryan Hollins. Team USA will face teams primarily made up of older players with considerable experience with FIBA’s 24-second shot clock, longer three-point line (21 1-3/4 inches), wider lane and four 10-minute quarters.
“The toughest thing for us college guys is getting used to the FIBA rules,” Baker said. “It’s a lot more physical game. You’re going to get away with a lot more bumping and pushing at the rim, and even on the ball.”
Baker prepared for the three-point line with WSU assistant coach Greg Heiar throughout spring and early summer workouts. The college distance is 20 feet, 9 inches.
“We worked on ranging out our jump shots,” Baker said. “He knew what Fred (VanVleet) and I were about to go through, so he emphasized it in our individual workouts.”
TV for Pan Am Games
Here is what USA Basketball is saying about TV for men’s basketball:
▪ All games should be on ESPN3.
▪ ESPN2 is showing 2-6 hours of live coverage daily. Men’s basketball is expected to receive a lot of air time.
I would guess that means they’re not guaranteeing every minute of every USA game will be shown, but basketball should be one ESPN2’s top priorities.