Atlanta's Wilkens gets `Dream' job
ATLANTA - Lenny Wilkens remembers the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, when the U.S. basketball practices were better than some of the games.
"I would suspect we'll have the same thing again," Wilkens said Monday after being named coach of the 1996 team.
Although Dream Team I, the first U.S. Olympic team that included NBA players, rolled through the 1992 Games unbeaten, Wilkens expects the competition to be better in the Atlanta Games next year.
"No question that basketball in the world is improving steadily," said Wilkens, who will lead his Atlanta Hawks into the NBA playoffs this week against Indiana.
"Every year they're going to get better and better and better," he said of teams from other nations. "The game of basketball is worldwide now. I don't have any illusions that the competition's going to be the same as it was five years ago. That's why we will scout it and prepare."
Wilkens and his staff of assistants, including one NBA coach and two college coaches, will begin scouting the opposition at various international tournaments this summer.
C.M. Newton, president of USA Basketball, said the organization's senior men's basketball team committee will choose the assistant coaches in June and the first set of players in July or August, finishing that chore by next April. Newton said Wilkens will have input, but won't vote.
NBA honors Mailman
NEW YORK - Forward Karl Malone, who led the Utah Jazz to a 4-0 record, was selected Monday as player of the week.
For the week ending Sunday, Malone averaged a season-best 30.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He made 43 of 86 shots and 36 of 42 free throws.
The league also announced that forward Glenn Robinson of the Milwaukee Bucks was chosen as rookie of the month. Robinson led the Bucks to a 7-4 record in April, averaging 27.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists.