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Dooley dialed in to USA squad

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East Carolina's Joe Dooley points and gives instruction during the USA Basketball U18 National Team's training camp.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Friday, June 15, 2018

East Carolina first-year coach Joe Dooley played in part in assembling the roster for the USA Basketball U18 National Team that could be on a collision course to face host team Canada this weekend in the championship game of the FIBA Americas tournament.

Dooley was a court coach during the USA squad’s training camp held May 31-June 2 in Colorado. He got the gig in large part due to his connection to Kansas head man Bill Self, who is the USA U18 head coach, and it provided Dooley with his first-ever USA Basketball experience.

He returned to Greenville shortly after training camp and is now focused mainly on offseason workouts with the Pirates, but he also has followed USA’s hot start to the competition. USA and Canada are the favorites to meet Saturday for the championship, and each squad went 3-0 in preliminary games, highlighted by the Americans posting a 43-0 first quarter in a 118-26 rout of Panana.

“I’ve been watching and texted back and forth with coach Self a few times,” Dooley, who was an assistant for Self at Kansas from 2003-13, said Thursday. “If they had to play Canada, it would be a tough game but I think they have good backcourt play. I really like Cole Anthony, who is one of the top-five players in the country, and Quentin Grimes and the kid Coby White from down here (Wilson). They are really good and high-level players.”

Semifinal action is Friday and medals will be awarded Saturday. In the semifinals are the U.S. versus Argentina and Canada against Puerto Rico.

There were 34 players at training camp — most of them big-time prep recruits — and 12 made the team. White, who has signed to play at North Carolina, is the only in-state player.

“The international game is different and the rules are different, so we had to prepare differently and also prepare the roster,” Dooley said. “Some of it is because of the way coach (Self) wanted to play, but also part of the preparation is you are playing Canada in Canada. Last year we lost to Canada and (Duke signee) R.J. Barrett had a huge day.

“The fouls are called a little tighter, so we also had to have more big men than usual. That was interesting, too, and there were different dynamics.”

Dooley added that the experience provided him with a day-to-day opportunity to connect with Self that he hasn’t had since he left Kansas. One of the USA team’s assistant coaches is Wake Forest’s Danny Manning, who also is a former Kansas assistant.

“It was great and we talked about a lot of basketball,” Dooley said. “Bill, Danny and I were together at KU for nine years, so we just got to talk a lot. (Notre Dame’s) Mike Brey also was great and he spent a lot of time with us and was fun to be around.”

Schedule notes

Thursday saw the American Athletic Conference announce the home and away pairings for all of its teams for the 2018-19 season, which for East Carolina means that each of the four AAC squads coming off postseason bids will visit Minges Coliseum.

The Pirates’ conference schedule will feature home-and-home series against Connecticut, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, Tulane, Tulsa and Wichita State. ECU will host Cincinnati and Temple, and travel to UCF and SMU. Cincy, Houston and Wichita made the NCAA tournament last season, and Temple was in the NIT.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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