If you're like us and the folks at Canadian broadcast network CTV, you found yourself transfixed during the timeouts of Spain's Sunday afternoon win over China in the preliminary round of the men's basketball competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Not so much because Spain's white-hot 3-point shooting left you breathless (though 11 of 19 from beyond the arc sure is grand) or because China's Yi Jianlian was sensational (though he was), but because it sure as heck looked like Spain head coach Sergio Scariolo was using an Etch-a-Sketch to diagram plays on the sideline.
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We've been digging through whiteboard/dry erase board/coaching clipboard sites and retailers online, and have found similar products, but not quite a match for the model that Scariolo — one of Europe's most successful bench bosses, whose resume boasts stops at Real Madrid, Malaga, Khimki Moscow and Olimpia Milano — favors busting out during stoppages in play. Marry a SportWrite board with a Doodle Sketch and you're almost there, though.
Scariolo brought his weapon of choice back during timeouts of Tuesday's 82-70 win over a scrappy but outclassed Australian squad. And boy, did NBC's announcers love it.
"I like his little board there ... it erases with that little lever," play-by-plan man Chris Carrino said during a timeout at the 6:13 mark of the third quarter. "You don't need the little hand. Get the ink on it."
"Yeah, that's a great tool right there," color commentator Tim Capshaw replied. "Great call by you, since we can't interpret exactly what he's saying."
Just over five minutes later, with Scariolo diagramming away and Spain up 59-37, Capshaw just couldn't help himself: "I love his Etch-a-Sketch board."
Less than one minute of game time later, during a timeout following free throws by Australia's Brad Newley that narrowed Spain's lead to 62-42, Carrino once again sang of his magnetic siren.
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"What's great about that Etch-a-Sketch board he's got, too, is that gives you a full-court look or it can give you a half-court look," he said.
"We are really promoting this well right now," Capshaw said. "He could get a sponsor."
"Well, we don't want to mention those," Carrino said. "This is the Olympics."
Of course. We wouldn't want to sully the purity of such pristine competition by bringing finances into the equation. Heaven knows the Olympics shun all forms of official sponsorship; wouldn't want to muddy the waters.
Either way, whatever Scariolo drew up sure seemed to work just fine against Australia, especially following a first quarter that saw Spain shoot just 5 of 19 (26.3 percent) from the field and trail the Boomers 19-14 after 10 minutes. Over the next 13 minutes, Spain outscored the Aussies 31-13, scoring from inside (brothers Pau and Marc Gasol combined with Serge Ibaka for 40 points) and outside (swingman Rudy Fernandez scored 17, hitting four 3-pointers) en route to a 20-plus-point lead that only dwindled late in the fourth when Australia took advantage after Scariolo pulled several starters.
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Our next look at Scariolo's magical magnetic board will come Thursday afternoon, when Spain takes on Luol Deng and Great Britain in its third match of Group B play. In the meantime, if you're a coach or some other type of basketball person who can point us toward Scariolo's brand of board, let us know, if for no other reason than we'd like to get a pair out to Carrino and Capshaw posthaste.
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