For spreading only 168 pounds on his 6-foot-7 frame -- and being on the receiving end of a
Fast-forward 16 years to Tuesday night's 97-76 U.S. defeat of the defending African champions. This time it was Angola dishing out the hard fouls, at least in the first quarter. A short time later, forward
Midway through the second quarter, reality set in. The Redeem Team's
Considering that they played without their finest player --
Last summer, the African champs rolled through the Afrobasket to qualify for Beijing, scoring almost 96 points a game, and no one came within single digits of them. Angola resembles a high-end Division I college team, not unlike
His country may be buried in breathtaking debt, but President
Contrast Angola with Cameroon, which sends scores of talents to U.S. colleges -- but has such a dysfunctional basketball infrastructure that, at last month's Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Athens, the Proud Lions threatened to go on strike to protest their treatment at the hands of the federation.
Tuesday's undercard, in which Spain needed overtime to beat China 85-75, had much more relevance to the ultimate disposition of this tournament than the Americans' run with Angola. The hosts led the defending world champs until the final three minutes of regulation, coming tantalizingly close to what would have been China's greatest basketball victory. With
In that way, Spain vs. China was essentially different from the home team's encounter with the U.S. on Sunday night, which featured 22 Redeem Team dunks, most of them on the break.
Coimbra became a basketball coach upon retirement, and a year ago, his club team went bust. According to former teammate