U.S. Forces hoop team tunes up against local military All-Stars
HEIDELBERG, Germany — The U.S. Armed Forces basketball team continued its tuneup for next month’s World Military Games with a 113-87 victory Monday over the European Military All-Stars.
Travis Cantrell, a guard based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, scored 22 points to lead the U.S., which will compete as Team USA in the 16-team World Military Games tournament Dec. 4-10 at Catania, Sicily.
Guard Craig Marcelin, stationed in Heidelberg, added 20 points.
The two teams will play again at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Vogelweh gym in Kaiserslautern. The games are being played under NCAA guidelines, but coach Antonio Robinson said he hopes his team will be able to play some games under the rules of FIBA, the international basketball association.
Team USA officer-in-charge Eddie Goad of Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., said talks were under way for Team USA to play against German league clubs before leaving for Sicily on Tuesday.
“Nine of our players were on last year’s team,” Robinson said. “We have plenty of international experience.”
Still, center Jelani Nix of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., said he would like more playing time.
“We’re not getting enough games,” said Nix, who scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in 18 minutes Monday. “People say this [upcoming] tournament is just a step below the Olympics.”
Nix said his team is getting plenty of practice time, something the European All-Stars were lacking going into Monday night’s game. Composed mainly of players from Ramstein and Heidelberg, the All-Stars had just one five-player practice session going into Monday night’s encounter against Team USA.
However, the lack preparation wasn’t evident early on Monday as the All-Stars took a 22-20 lead after the first 10 minutes.
Team USA righted the ship with a 28-14 second quarter and put the game away with a 38-point outburst in the final 10 minutes.
The game was the second of Team USA’s tune-up games; it beat the Ramstein Rams 107-71 at Vogelweh on Sunday.