Tonight at 8:00 PM, John Calipari and the Dominican Republic team have one last chance to make Dominican Republic basketball history. If they can defeat Nigeria tonight, the Dominican Republic will earn their first Olympic basketball berth. It would also be the first Olympic basketball berth in history for their opponent, Nigeria, should they win instead.
Yesterday, the Lithuanians defeated the Dominicans 109-83 in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament. Lithuania is ranked #5 in the world, so it's no surprise that the Dominicans went down to them. However, tonight is the last hurrah for the Dominican Republic, and if Coach Cal, Francisco Garcia and company don't get it done tonight, its all over and Calipari can get back on the recruiting trail.
Nigeria is fresh of an upset of the highly favored Greek basketball team, led by Ike Diogu formerly of the Arizona St. Sun Devils. Diogu was drafted 9th in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors and has been playing very well for the Nigerian team.
In U.S. Olympics news, Blake Griffin, James Harden, and Andre Iguadala were chosen yesterday to finish off the U.S. Olympic roster. Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay, and Anthony Davis were all eliminated and will serve as alternates. The American team has lost Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh due to injury and appears to be thin in the center position.
So my question to the Big Blue Nation is this: Would you rather see Coach Cal come home early to return to the recruiting trail, or coach in the Olympic Games?
Personally, I'm excited for him to coach of the Olympics, but I can understand why some Kentucky fans might prefer, deep down, to see Calipari back in Kentucky and taking care of business. Last year we had this same kind of situation, and the same question came up. I don't recall what the consensus was, but I suspect it was to hope Coach Cal succeeded in his quest to win and continue the Dominican Olympic dream.