This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Rio de Janeiro • Covering this Olympics from a Utah perspective, as we always do, has been different. My primary role is to cover the 10 basketball players with Utah ties none representing the United States.
That element has made it fun, actually. I've paid more attention to Boris Diaw in France's two games than I have in his entire NBA career, because he now plays for the Jazz. And with six former University of Utah players in the men's and women's basketball tournaments, I have four teams to track.
All of of those teams are doing well. The ex-Utes are a collective 8-1 in preliminary play, with a loss to another alum.
In women's play, Leilani Mitchell's Australia team is 3-0 and looking like a medal contender, as expected. The Canadian team of Kim Smith Gaucher, Shona Thorburn and Michelle Plouffe is 2-0, with a likely win to come Wednesday night against Senegal. Canada has to play the USA on Friday, though.
In the men's tournament, Andrew Bogut's Aussies are 2-0, going into Wednesday night's game vs. the USA, and Kim Tillie's French team is 1-1, having lost to Australia. France plays Serbia on Wednesday afternoon.
The Most Valuable Ex-Ute in the tournament so far is Bogut, averaging 13.5 points in his comeback from a knee injury in the NBA Finals to lead the Boomers to two victories. Mitchell is the runner-up, as a starting point guard for the Opals. Yes, I appreciate the Australian teams having nicknames.