Raiders

Strong Bay showing at USA Basketball training camp

410669.jpg

Strong Bay showing at USA Basketball training camp

June 16, 2011COLLEGE PAGE

CSNBayArea.com staff

The USA Basketball Under-19 World Championship training camp begins June 17 in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Bay Area is well represented.

St. Mary's Coach, Randy Bennett, has guided the Gaels to three NCAA Tournament appearances in 10 seasons at the helm, highlighted by a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010. His success and respect in the college basketball world have awarded him one of two assistant coaching positions with the U19 squad.

Bennett is joined by Jacksonville University's head coach, Cliff Warren, and the two will work under head coach, Paul Hewitt. Hewitt recently became the new coach at George Mason University after spending the past 11 seasons at Georgia Tech.

In addition to Bennett, Stanford's Anthony Brown, as well as Cal's Allen Crabbe and Richard Solomon are three of the 20 players vying for spots on the 12-man roster.

In his freshman season for the Cardinal, Brown averaged 8.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and was a member of the PAC-10 All-Freshmen Team. Brown started 10 of 18 league games, averaging just under 27 minutes per game, and notched a career-high 21 points against Oregon State on January 29.

Crabbe was not only named PAC-10 Freshman of the Year, but was an All-PAC-10 Honorable Mention selection as well. He set a school record for 3-point field goals in a season by a freshman with 62, and scored a career-high 30 points in an OT win over Washington State on January 13.

Solomon appeared in all 33 games for the Bears, averaging 5.6 points and 4.4 rebounds. He recorded his first career double-double on December 28 vs. Hartford, with a 10-point, 10-rebound performance.

Crabbe and Solomon were teammates at Price High School in Los Angeles.

The 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship is being held June 30-July 10 in Valmiera, Liepaja and Riga Latvia.

Check csnbayarea.com for updates from Colorado Springs.

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

sean-smith-raiders-cowboys-ap.jpg
AP

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders cornerback David Amerson didn’t practice all week, but ran just well enough to be considered “doubtful” for Sunday’s game against New England.

Translation: Outlook for Sunday is not good, but Jack Del Rio’s fingers remained crossed real, real tight. The Raiders hope there’s a way he can be active against Tom Brady’s buzz saw attack, because their cover men are beat up.

Amerson has missed two straight with a foot injury, and has dealt with injury all year. Gareon Conley’s season officially ended Monday, when he was placed on season-ending injured reserve. Antonio Hamilton and Demetrius McCray were already there.

Reggie McKenzie hasn’t reached out for reinforcements. That leaves TJ Carrie, Dexter McDonald and Sean Smith to play cornerback. Carrie’s been the rock, a sure tackler who hasn’t made spectacular plays but doesn’t give them up. McDonald has been forced into action, with holes let in his game.

Smith should be the No. 1 guy in this group, the steadying presence on the outside. That hasn’t been the case this year, where he lost a starting job in training camp and sub-package snaps during the season, only to have injuries to Conley and Amerson bring him in the fray.

He’s also been dealing with felony assault and battery charges in Los Angeles stemming from a July 4 incident in Pasadena.

Smith has been a lightning rod for fan criticism, a byproduct of his $9.5 million salary this year and explosive plays allowed early in the year.

If there’s an anvil weighing on his mind, teammates insist you’d never know.

“We’re human at the end of the day,” Amerson said. “You feel it, but you have to find a way to remain even keel and professional and do your job well.”

Smith will be counted on heavily Sunday against New England, especially if Amerson can’t play as expected. He has proven vulnerable to speed without help and proper disruption at the line of scrimmage, though that hasn’t been an issue lately because the Utah alum has recovered well after a rough start.

He got pulled after struggling against Vernon Davis in Washington. He didn’t play against the Chargers after giving up two huge plays to Baltimore the week before.

Amerson originally sprained his foot in Week 7 against Kansas City – he hasn’t played since – and Smith was called upon to respond. He wasn’t targeted in that game, and has been strong in coverage ever since.

Smith has allowed three catches for 12 yards in four targets over the last two games. The ninth-year veteran insists he wasn’t doing anything markedly different, and had zero interest in patting himself on the back for recent jobs well done.

“I’m not,” Smith said. “I’m out there doing my job, man, the best way I can.”

Smith says the off-field distractions during a roller-coaster season, one of his career’s most trying yet, haven’t impacted him much

“Nope. Not at all,” Smith said. “As long as I wake up a Raider, I’m all right. I’ll deal with whatever happens. I’ll always be there for my guys, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help our team win.”

Raiders defensive backs laud Smith’s locker room presence, saying he’s an excellent teammate. Cornerbacks in general must have a short memory when things go bad, to refocus and prevent that from happening again. Smith apparently has that in spades.

“I know how things go, especially when you have a target on your back,” Amerson said. “Sometimes you get hit with the perfect pass and you give up some plays. You can’t do anything about that but take advantage of the next opportunity. Sean’s a good player, and he definitely has that mindset.”

Smith will lend experience to this big game, something the Raiders need after suffering so many injuries.

"It sucks that so many of us have gone down,” Smith said. "You want to have all your guys out there, but that’s the NFL. Injuries happen. As long as everybody comes to work and acts like a pro, we’ll be all right. We all have a job to do. We all would like to start, but you have to be ready when your number’s called.”

Kevin Durant takes shot at Zaza Pachulia while center's kid play one-on-one

zaza-durant-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Kevin Durant takes shot at Zaza Pachulia while center's kid play one-on-one

Kevin Durant doesn't take it easy on anyone. Not even the children of teammate Zaza Pachulia.

After practice on Saturday in Philadelphia, Pachulia's two sons, Davit and Saba, were playing one-on-one at the facility the Warriors were using. Kevin Durant filmed one sequence and posted it to his Instagram Story.

One of Pachulia's sons grabbed the ball and drives around the other without dribbling. As he makes the shot, Durant offers his commentary and took a shot at the Warriors starting center.

"That's a travel. Such a travel. Same thing your pops do," Durant said, taking a shot at Pachulia.

Durant also had another message for Pachulia written on the video.

"Yo, @zazapachulia at some you have to teach the boys how to play off the bounce," Durant wrote.