The Toronto Raptors have left Las Vegas after completing their NBA Summer League run. But their coach is sticking around for another week.
Jay Triano will oversee the USA Basketball minicamp at Valley High School beginning Thursday. Twenty-five players will participate with the hopes of being invited back to Las Vegas in 2010 as Team USA prepares for the FIBA World Basketball Championships in Turkey.
“I think we want them to get an understanding of what the national team represents, and we want them to understand the international game,” Triano said of his primary goals for the three-day camp, which will culminate with the USA Basketball Showcase intrasquad game Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center. “I want to keep it similar to what Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) does and keep it as simple as possible.”
Triano worked last year with the USA Selects, so he’s familiar with many of the players who will be in this year’s minicamp.
“I got to know a lot of them, so that will obviously make it easier for me,” he said. “But we’re using the same blueprint as the national team that Coach K and Jerry Colangelo (USA Basketball’s managing director) developed, so it should be fairly smooth.”
A Canadian, Triano said he has no problem helping the Americans prepare for the world championships in 2010 and the 2012 Olympics.
“I’m glad to lend my experience,” said Triano, who appeared in three Olympics for Canada and played and coached internationally in Italy. “I’m glad to help in any way I can.”
• KEEFE O-FER — Former UNLV guard Brian Keefe coached Oklahoma City’s summer league team. The results were bad — an 0-5 record — but Keefe said the experience was invaluable as he attempts to climb the NBA coaching ladder.
Keefe started his NBA career in 2005 as a video coordinator in San Antonio, moved to Seattle in 2007 as a player development coach and now is an assistant to coach Scott Brooks with Oklahoma City.
“You get to know them as people and see their strengths and weaknesses as players,” said Keefe, who played for the Rebels from 1997 to 1999. “It will definitely help me during the regular season.”
• GRIFFIN SHINES — Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin made things happen again at the Thomas & Mack, totaling 19 points and 10 rebounds in Los Angeles’ 74-64 loss to Washington.
Griffin is averaging 20.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in four games. He is in the hunt for summer league Most Valuable Player honors with one game left — today at 7:30 p.m. against his older brother, Taylor, and the Phoenix Suns at the Thomas & Mack.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.