Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Calipari, Dominican Alive for Olympic Spot; Puerto Rico Out
John Calipari and The Dominican Republic remain alive for the country’s first-ever Olympic berth, but Mike Rosario and Puerto Rico are out.
The Calipari-coached Dominican Republic overcame a 20-point, second-quarter deficit to beat Macedonia 86-76 on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela.
Francisco Garcia led the DR with 28 points, including four 3-pointers, and Jack Michael Martinez tallied 14 points and 13 rebounds. Al Horford notched 14 points and 15 boards.
Karl Towns, the 6-10 rising sophomore from St. Joe’s-Metuchen High School, did not play for the DR.
“I’ve coached a lot of basketball games in my life, a bunch of Final Fours and national championship games, and this will be one of those games that I remember,” Calipari, who won his first NCAA championship with Kentucky in April, said on his Website.
“We were down 20 with a lot at stake and we still came back and won. I’m just really happy for the players and the team because they just showed a lot of pride, a lot of guts and a lot of toughness.”
The Dominican Republic will earn an Olympic berth with a victory over Lithuania on Saturday. Even if Calipari’s club loses, they can still earn a bid by beating the loser of Nigeria-Russia on Sunday.
The top three teams at the qualifying tournament advance to the Olympics.
Rosario, the Florida guard from Jersey City, N.J., did not play as Puerto Rico was eliminated 76-72 by Lithuania in another quarterfinal game.
Alexander Rodriguez had 17 points and J.J. Barea and Carlos Arroyo scored 13 points apiece.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.