Hoops for Troops is fun tour of duty

Five U.S. soldiers who have served their country with distinction have been rewarded with a far more enjoyable and less hazardous assignment.

Steve Clark, Sergio Bou, Tim Brown, Javier Torres and Marcus Wilson are completing four days of service at the FIBA Americas Championship, where they have been answering phones, serving as interpreters and checking credentials.

The five soldiers — who all were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan — were in Las Vegas as part of USA Basketball’s Hoops for Troops program. The program helps give soldiers a different work experience as well as a break from their daily routines at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Clark, who does not have a rank since he is not active, and Bou, a sergeant, have extended their stays. Clark is helping to coordinate the program, and Bou is remaining because his services as a Spanish translator have become invaluable.

REDD’S RECORD — Michael Redd’s 10 attempted 3-point shots against Canada on Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center set a Team USA record, eclipsing Allen Iverson’s mark of seven, set against Canada in 2003. Redd was 5 of 10 from beyond the arc and finished with 19 points.

TWIN TOWERS — Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski used his team’s big lead against Canada to experiment with his lineup as he played his two big men, Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudemire, together in the third quarter.

“We’ve tried to do different things the first three games,” Krzyzewski said after playing the 6-foot-11-inch Howard and the 6-10 Stoudemire together for about three minutes. “Amare can play the four (power forward). He’s a good outside shooter.”

WIN OR GO HOME — The Virgin Islands squandered a golden opportunity to advance to the second round Monday. It led Brazil by 11 points late in the first half but couldn’t hold on, falling 93-89.

The loss left the Virgin Islands at 0-3 entering its final Group B game against 0-3 Venezuela. The loser of today’s 1 p.m. game will be eliminated, with the winner moving on.

STAT LEADERS — Entering Saturday’s play, Brazil’s Leandro Barbosa was leading the tournament in scoring at 22.5 points, followed by Mexico’s Victor Mariscal at 22.0.

Uruguay’s Estaban Batista was the top rebounder with 14 a game, and Canada’s Jermaine Anderson and Argentina’s Pablo Prigoni led in assists at six each per game.

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