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From the folks in Colorado: USA Basketball is excited to announce the launch of three youth development initiatives

Youth basketball coaches and organizations in the United States now have the opportunity to become USA Basketball licensed coaches and accredited organizations with the launch of two USA Basketball youth development initiatives. Additionally, USA Basketball has made available online its newly completed Youth Development Guidebook that establishes national standards for all facets of youth basketball, including robust and progressive teaching and playing standards for all levels of the game. Information about the USA Basketball youth development programs and the Youth Development Guidebook are available online at usab.site-ym.com.

            “The USA Basketball youth development mission is to promote, grow and elevate the sport. One of the ways to do this is the establishment of national standards in the area of youth development. Our vision is to bring more structure to the youth space. We believe these programs will help launch us down that path,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman. “USA Basketball’s goal is for young players to have the opportunity to play in a fun, safe and supportive environment, while being taught the fundamentals by USA Basketball licensed coaches.”

USA Basketball’s youth development initiatives already are being utilized. USA Basketball worked in partnership with the NBA to train and license coaches and instructors across New York City to implement these standards throughout the 100 clinics taking place at schools during this weekend’s NBA All-Star 2015 festivities.

            Within the basketball model is the player development pathway that is designed to promote ‘basketball for life.’ The curriculum is designed to teach and learn the game based on mastery of skills rather than limiting aspects such as grade, age, position, size or gender.

To become licensed by USA Basketball, coaches must:

  • Complete the USA Basketball online course
  • Complete SafeSport certification
  • Pass a background check

To become accredited by USA Basketball, organizations must:

  • Require all coaches and administrators to obtain their USA Basketball coach license

Speaking of coaches, Arizona Central’s Paola Boivin says, “It’s time to give ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne her due”

Charli Turner Thorne never craved the spotlight. She took satisfaction from the victories, the growth of the Arizona State program and the character of her athletes.

But after 17-plus seasons, nine NCAA Tournaments and two Elite Eight finishes, it is time to acknowledge Turner Thorne for what she is: One of the top women’s college basketball coaches in the country.

Speaking of Arizona: Whoops, we lost another WNBA star

Quite frankly, we’re lucky Taurasi has hung around for this long. She could have left a long time ago to make more money playing in Europe, but instead, she remained in Phoenix and allowed Mercury fans to enjoy a solid decade of entertaining basketball. She has been a loyal member of the Phoenix Mercury since she entered the WNBA, and for that I will always be grateful. I will continue to wear my faded University of Connecticut women’s basketball shirt with pride.

I want to be angry, but I’m not. If I had the opportunity to play basketball in a country that would respect my abilities, on a team that would pay me 15 times more money, I would leave, too.

If the U.S. won’t respect its female athletes like Taurasi, it doesn’t deserve them.

Speaking of Arizona losing stars, LA is loading up: Sparks sign guard Erin Phillips, winner of 2 WNBA titles

Speaking of Australians: Ex-WNBA player finds way to share skills with Carmel Parks and Recreation

Tully Bevilaqua had a long run in the WNBA and other professional women’s basketball leagues.

Now it’s time for her to share what she learned with youngsters.

“I enjoy it,” she said. “I’ve had my day of playing and I’ve had a lot of people help me. So I’m kind of going into that role of giving back now. Being a coach myself and helping other kids that were in my situation.

Speaking of north of LA: Chico State alumna prepared to build for WNBA Seattle Storm

Each day is different for Alisha Valavanis, the president and general manager of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

Whether it’s leadership meetings, crafting a marketing plan or making the best effort to assemble a championship team, Valavanis has her hands full.

But, for the Chico State alumna, Valavanis’ experience within the walls of Acker Gym prepared her for the position she holds today.

“I had an incredible experience as an athlete, being involved with the community and being a representative for Chico State,” Valavanis said.

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Will Indiana side with Putin?

Committee approves HJR-3 with 8-4 vote, sending resolution to Indiana Senate

Former Indiana Fever player Tully Bevilaqua attended the hearing with her wife and two small children.

“We’re hoping that (they’re) going to stand on the right side of history and vote no on HJR-3,” said an emotional Bevilaqua. “We are a family. Same love. We just want to protect our family.”

Monday, supporters of the controversial resolution told committee members they’d rather have HJR3 defeated than have it put on the ballot without the second sentence.

“We would rather see the single sentence defeated than placed on the ballot,” said Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute.

But Tully Bevilaqua’s wife Lindsay said, if it were to pass, they might decide to leave Indiana.

“We’d hate to go,” she said. “But it’s something families like ours will have to consider if this does go through.”

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Flood Crisis in Australia Hits Close to Home for Indy’s Tully Bevilaqua

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The Czechs did their fans proud, even though they lost by 20. And the crowd certainly did their players proud.

The game was close until that moment the announcers kept referring to. It was a three-point US lead, and then suddenly, a couple Diana 3’s and a Bird two and some fastbreak points, and the US had surged to an insurmountable 20pt. lead — redemption.

From Doug:

Tamika Catchings couldn’t stop smiling as she hoisted the world championship trophy over her head.

The lone blemish on her remarkable U.S. women’s basketball career was now a memory.

Catchings, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi redeemed their third place finish at the 2006 worlds, leading the Americans to an 89-69 victory over the host Czech Republic on Sunday night.

Writes Voepel:

A game that was close at halftime didn’t stay that way, as the Americans’ powerful third quarter gave them all the edge they’d need in what ended as an 89-69 victory. Over the course of 11 days, Team USA went 9-0 and played some really breathtaking basketball in stretches of every game. There were no contests that were lackadaisical or sloppy, even when Team USA had insurmountable leads. Only Australia in the second round came within single digits of the U.S. squad, losing by eight.

It was as if the Americans were giving nine performances on stage, and tried to make each and every one as good as possible.

Lee at SPM writes: US Women Reclaim World Basketball Championship with 89-68 Victory over Czech Hosts

You kind of had to ask yourself, “Who won?”

Okay, there was the scoreboard, if you could make it out behind the sea of Czech flags, clearly proclaiming, “USA 89, Czech Republic 69.”

But you really couldn’t tell it on the court.

US Basketball couldn’t resist the pun: USA Cashes In Czechs 89-69 For Gold Medal, 2012 Olympic Berth

“I thought the Czech team played with so much heart and so much passion and they’re so smart,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “Every time you make a mistake, they make a basket. I can’t tell you with how impressed I am with coach (Lubor Blazek) and his style of play. That was the best team we played in the entire tournament, without question. We’re fortunate to be world champions. I know my players worked really, really hard. To do it here, in the Czech Republic, against the Czech national team, in front of an unbelievable crowd. The crowd last night was incredible and tonight was just as good. I think it makes this win even more rewarding because of who we had to beat and where we had to beat them.”

Photos and quotes.

What statement did this make to the rest of the world?

Sue Bird: I think it really speaks to the talent, the amount of talent that we have in the U.S. I mean, here is a team filled with great players, and if you think back to the Olympics, we are missing two people who were in our top seven. When you look at some of the players that got left off this roster that could of made it, it just really speaks to our depth. I think that is why we are able to beat teams the way we did. We just kind of wear them down with our depth.

Doug seems to agree: All looks bright for US women’s basketball team

“I think we knew when we started this, the thought was that this was a transition period,” Auriemma said. “When you think of Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, Sheryl Swoopes and Katie Smith, that’s a group that had been together for quite some time. We were left with three people that were on that team. We knew we had to build it back up again. We weren’t sure how long it could take.”

The answer: not very long at all.

Mel says, USA “Conn” Job Leads To FIBA Gold Medal And World Title.

As the Aussies hope to regain their sparkle in 2012, Tully says “No more,” and Carrie says, Choose WNBA or Olympic gold: Opals coach

Meanwhile, Spain celebrates bronze, Canada is disappointed, and the French finish sixth.

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Oi! Oi!

From the Indy Star’s David Woods: Fever’s Bevilaqua shines at right moment – Veteran guard hits key 3-pointers

The Indiana Fever count on Tully Bevilaqua for leadership, defense and ball-handling. Three-pointers are bonuses.

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from Yahoo Sports: Leslie, Bevilaqua show best of an evolving WNBA

Despite their differences, Bevilaqua and Leslie, both 38 years old, represent the best of the beginning of the WNBA. They joined the league in its infancy – Leslie was the seventh pick in the first WNBA draft and Bevilaqua joined in 1998, its second season – and helped it mature.

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