Tue, Aug 15, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Krzyzewski drills US squad in Seoul

AP , SEOUL

US basketball player Carmelo Anthony, front, wearing a military uniform, greets members of the US armed forces before a training session for the World Basketball Challenge 2006 tournament at Yongsan US Army Base in Seoul yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Coach Mike Krzyzewski knew the drill.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and the rest of the US basketball team got into combat uniforms and took marching orders from former US Army officer Krzyzewski yesterday during a visit to Yongsan Garrison in central Seoul.

Krzyzewski was stationed in South Korea for a time during his five years in the army from 1969 to 1974.

He's back in Seoul preparing his US squad for the world championships starting in Japan later this week.

Wade and his teammates went through some practice maneuvers, thrilling the crowd with some alley-oops, slams and precision shooting from the 3-point line.

"It felt great to come here and do something for the troops," said Wade, who plays for the Miami Heat. "It definitely helps us get motivated by realizing there are a lot of people behind us and we're representing our country."

After playing South Korea in an exhibition game today, the squad will travel to Japan and play its first game of the world championships against Puerto Rico on Saturday in Sapporo.

Krzyzewski said the trip to Yongsan, home to 25,000 personnel, was well worth the effort of getting up early and practicing in the stifling heat of the base gym.

"It added depth to our trip," Krzyzewski said. "To be able to meet the servicemen and women and thank them for their service was a great feeling."

Some 29,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas technically at war.

Not surprisingly, the visit went down well with the US troops.

"That was a lot of fun," said Staff Sergeant Eric Jordan from Detroit, Michigan. "It was a privilege and an honor. For them to take the time to come here is impressive and means a lot to us."

In Japan, the US team will be bidding to snap a string of disappointing finishes at the world championships. The US finished sixth at the worlds in 2002 and third in 1998. The last time the US won the tournament was 1994.

Under Krzyzewski, the US team has looked impressive, winning four straight tuneup matches including Sunday's 111-88 win over Lithuania in Seoul.

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