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August 7, 2010
Global Hoops: Oh, Canada ... France, Brazil
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The Nike Global Challenge in Hillsboro, Ore., is the last major all-star tournament of the 2010 summer basketball circuit and features some of the nation's top high school recruits along with several elite international players. RivalsHigh will have daily reports from the event.
HILLSBORO, Ore. - The word is chambrer. In literal French, it means either "to mock" or "to bring wine to room temperature." It's also slang for trash-talk.
Some members of the USA West team decided to parlez vous a little chambrer early in their matchup with Team INSEP (France) in the first round of the Nike Global Challenge. Bad idea. La Francais came to play, heating up well beyond room temperature in the second half and holding on to beat USA West black-and-cordon-bleu, 112-108.
"We have, I think, more intensity," said French guard Benjamin John after scorching USA West for 25 points. "That makes the difference."
Indeed. It did all day.
If the players on the four USA teams figured they were the top four teams in this eight-team international tourney, they clearly were suffering from a little American elitism.
Things started off routinely enough for the host country after USA Midwest put a 41-point hurting on the All-Asia Camp team.
Then the wheels came off for USA West against France in the first upset of the day, but not the last. Canada outlasted USA East in a double-overtime thriller and Brazil came agonizingly close to sending a third straight US team to the consolation bracket before falling to USA South in overtime.
Canada's win was arguably the most impressive, coming as it did against a USA East team featuring five-star recruits James McAdoo of Norfolk (Va.) Norfolk Christian, Rakeem Christmas of Bryn Athyn (Pa.) Academy of the New Church and Michael Gbinjie of Richmond (Va.) Benedictine. But star power alone doesn't hit clutch shots - and neither did USA East in the game's waning moments.
"The US always has something to lose," said Canadian forward Khem Birch of Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame after putting up a 25-point, 20-rebound performance. "We're Canada, we have nothing to lose."
Not that Birch (Rivals No. 9 for 2012) - or his teammates - had any intention of doing anything other than serving USA East humble pie coated in maple syrup.
"People always put high expectations on the US and we thought we could use that against them," said Canadian forward Kyle Wiltjer of Portland (Ore.) Jesuit High after putting up a game-high 31 points. "We went into the game with the mindset that we'd play our hearts out and have each other's backs no matter what happened. We knew they were good, but we also knew we could win."
This and that from Day 1