Sunday, September 26, 2010

Coach Linzy Davis: winning a World Tournament with a High School junior by the name of Carmelo Anthony!

Linzy Grant Davis is an international basketball coach. He coaches the USA Elite National Team and has earned 5 world titles, and he is co-director with Al Outlaw over Team Georgia Elite Basketball Club, located in Atlanta, Georgia. He has coached a long impressive list of NBA players including Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
Davis coached the USA Elite National Team that won the U20 Nike Douai World Championship, Douai, France in 2001 (Carmelo Anthony, MVP), 2005 (Tywon Lawson, MVP), and 2006 (Chase Budinger, MVP).

Davis ahead of time in helping USA Basketball back to #1

Coach Linzy Davis began coaching USA teams in FIBA World Basketball Tournaments in 1997. In 2001, a young high school junior from Baltimore, Maryland, by the name of Carmelo Anthony, joined the USA Elite Select team that was to compete in the 15th Annual Douai World Championship, Douai, France. A USA Team had never won gold at this prestigious tournament which has produced NBA stars like Tony Parker, France National Team.

Carmelo Anthony exceeded expectations of his coach and led the USA to their first World Championship victory in Douai, France.
"Carmelo was a 17 year-old junior competing in a U19 tournament" said Linzy Davis, Head Coach of the USA team.
"I expected McDonald's All American, and North Carolina signee, Jawad Williams, Cleveland, Ohio, to lead the team. (Jawad is currently in the NBA) He was a senior and a year older than Carmelo. But Carmelo was more aggressive and took a leadership scoring role. His eight and skills created defensive challenges for opponents. Shelden Williams, was a high school junior, who signed with Duke University, and currently plays in the NBA, was our main inside muscle. Billy Edelin, Washington D.C., was the point-guard who ran our team. He was a high school senior and signed with Syracuse University, along with our 7'0" high school senior center, Craig Forth, who was from Syracuse, NY. The trio of Carmelo, Edelin and Forth went on to lead Syracuse University to an NCAA National Championship.
It is a great challenge for a young USA team to compete in Europe. There is a six hour time difference. The culture and environment is different. The language is different. Also, there is a great challenge in putting together a USA team. The best players in the USA have a lot of people around them, and many of them act as street agents. The best players are focused on the basketball in the NBA. They are not interested in the importance of playing FIBA basketball in Europe. But FIBA basketball in Europe provides a center world stage and a networking tool that can open doors for a young promising prospect.
A coach must understand how to assemble a team that has perfect chemistry. In order to assemble a perfect team, you must know how your competition thinks. I make it a point to get to know everything about the competition. I want to know how each player thinks on the opposing team. I want to know how the coaches think. I want to know their language and their culture. I want to know the officials. I want to know the tournament officials. I want to know the volunteers that help with the event. And I want to know the fans. I want to know everything about my environment.
When a person has all this information, you can effectively manage your team through all situations. You can create an extraordinary experience for the players. I develop a simple list of rules that each player must follow. I share a wealth of information that gains their respect and attention. The two greatest enemies of every player are sleep deprivation and proper nutrition.
A coach must understand that each player has his own agenda. But the team goal has to be bigger than that agenda. Each person must put their ego aside and bring their collective strength to the table.
The USA Team that was assembled in 2001, was challenged to win gold, and establish dominance on the world stage. Billy Edelin got things started for the USA as he scored a game high 26 points to lead the USA to a 95-85 exhibition win over Argentina. Carmelo Anthony scored 13 points, Marcus Hayden had 11 points, and Jawad Williams and Corey Gibbs both added 10 points. "We established our philosophy, kept it simple, and rehearsed the fundamentals they need to focus on, in order to be successful in the international game. The guys did a great job of following the game plan, and they earned the victory".

Edelin was a high school senior and Carmelo was a high school junior. "You could tell back then that Carmelo would become a dominate player. His body needed time to mature. And he had to get stronger".
The amazing thing about this team is everyone was committed  to win as a team. In our first game against France, Carmelo Anthony scored 18 points to lead the USA Team to a 80-72 win over France. Jawad Williams added 13 points, Billy Edelin and DeAngelo Alexander had 12 points, and David Paris added 9 points.
In game quater-finals, Carmelo showed he was very comfortable with center stage. He led the USA Team with 20 points on 7 for 11 shooting including 1 for 1 behind the 3-point line, as the USA defeated Croatia 71-50. Billy Edelin finished with 15 points on 7 of 10 shooting and Shelden Williams added 10 points on 4 of 4 shooting. "We played outstanding position defense and it helped our transition game. Our guys were on fire tonight. This is a group that is confident and focused on winning a gold medal".

In the semi-finals, Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points to lead the USA to a 94-86 win over Argentina. Shelden Williams added 22 points, DeAngelo Alexander scored 19 points and Billy Edelin finished with 18 points and 5 assists. The USA had to play without David Paris who suffered a knee injury, and Marcus Hayden had to play with a bad knee and Mike Crain had to play with stitches over his right eye.
In the Championship game verse Canada, the USA had to overcome the hot shooting of UConn signee Devon Brown, who scored a game-high 42 points, however, tournament MVP, Carmelo Anthony led the USA with 28 points, Billy Edelin (All Tournament) finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Shelden Williams scored 25 points and added 12 rebounds as the USA defeated Canada 102-99 in an emotionally charged game.

I felt like this Tournament was a turning point to Carmelo Anthony. His success from the Tournament drove him into the spotlight and to the top. He attended Oak Hill Academy, and continued his winning ways. He won a national championship at Syracuse University his freshman year. And he was a clear leader when he joined the USA Senior National Team. I believe Douai, France, gave him a glimpse of the future if he continued to work hard. The proof is in the pudding. He is still proving he is among the best in the world.

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