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9.20 The Cooler

Gasol leads Spain to gold-medal game; LeBron says he’s staying

By 09.20.09
Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol

After an up-and-down couple of weeks that saw them perform up to their potential and down to some lesser competition, Team Spain is right where they’re supposed to be at the FIBA European Championships: playing for the gold medal. In yesterday’s semifinal, Pau Gasol scored 18 points and Rudy Fernandez added 14 and three steals to lead Spain in a blowout win over Greece, while Ricky Rubio continued his underwhelming (at least stats-wise) tourney with a 5-point, 3-assist effort. Spain will face Serbia in the final, the team that upset them on the first day of the tournament. In Serbia’s semifinal, Milos Teodosic dropped 32 points (6 threes), and Nenad Krstic had 18 points to lead them past Slovenia … In the two other games that had a 2010 World Championships berth on the line, France knocked off Turkey behind Tony Parker‘s 28 points and 10 dimes, and Croatia beat Russia behind Roko Ukic‘s 18 points and eight assists … LeBron picked the wrong summer — and the wrong media climate — to go on a worldwide publicity tour. Every place LBJ has been this offseason, whether it’s promoting his documentary, his book, the LeBron VII’s, or whatever else he’s got going on, he’s been peppered with questions about free agency, and has no choice but to give the nice-guy answer. Over the weekend ‘Bron was signing copies of his book, Shooting Stars, at a Borders store in Cleveland, and of course the free agency question came up. “I ain’t leaving,” LeBron said, which was then reported like it should be taken seriously when it really should be taken with a whole cup of salt. Really, what do you think LeBron is gonna say when he’s in Cleveland and trying to sell a book about himself? “Nah, I doubt it. I really love Detroit, so hopefully we can work something out there.” This is just going to make things even worse if he does eventually leave. (At least LBJ was mindful enough to wear an Indians cap to the book signing instead of his Yankees fitted.) … Steve Nash to Yahoo! Sports: “I’m not one of those people that feel if you don’t win a title everything was for naught. Only one team wins it and a lot of times there is luck involved.” All true, but when a player who doesn’t have a ring says that, it holds a little less credibility than somebody with a ring saying it. Good thing Nash has some perspective on the whole thing, though. Most guys like Barkley, Ewing, Malone and the rest don’t seem to let the no-titles thing nag at them, which prevents “I need to win something” embarrassing moments like Pros vs. Joes and ill-advised comebacks. Perhaps we can take this to mean Nash won’t hang around the League when he’s a shell of his prime self, getting backup minutes on a contender trying to catch a ring before he’s done. Then again, if they’re willing to pay you … The Rockets are still auditioning guys to help their frontcourt situation, including Lorenzen Wright, Stromile Swift and Jelani McCoy. McCoy is like a 7-foot Kevin Ollie; he just won’t go away and hasn’t done anything memorable since college … College football/basketball notes from yesterday: Javier Arenas had a 61-yard kickoff return in Alabama’s blowout win over North Texas, plus 90 more yards on punt returns; and Greg Paulus threw for 346 yards (24-for-35), two touchdowns and one interception, and ran for a TD in Syracuse’s win over Northwestern; and Wake Forest honored Rodney Rogers during their game against Elon. Rogers, who played at Wake before a 12-year run in the NBA, was paralyzed in a dirt bike accident last year … Tony Wroten is one of the best high school ballplayers in the country, a junior PG at Seattle’s Garfield H.S. (alma mater of Brandon Roy) who did work at this summer’s Elite 24 and the adidas Nations camp, to name a couple places. The 6-5 Wroten decided to play football this season, sparking some debate over whether his parents were doing the right thing in letting him risk injury like that. In the first game of the season, Wroten played receiver and safety, catching a TD pass and snagging two INT’s, but in the fourth quarter hurt his knee fighting for extra yards after a reception. After missing Garfield’s next two games, it was just announced last night that Wroten has a torn ACL, putting him out for football and most likely out for the basketball season. On the positive side, Wroten is only a junior, so he’s not missing his senior year. And he’s talented enough and has a big enough profile that he’ll still get a scholarship. We’ve asked before if you’d let your kid play a contact sport like football when he’s got phenomenal basketball talent; does this change your mind at all? … We’re out like Jelani McCoy …

TOPICS#LeBron James

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