How Playing with Team USA Changed Memphis Grizzlies' Rudy Gay

Ronnie HampstonCorrespondent IOctober 2, 2010

NEW YORK - AUGUST 15:  Rudy Gay #8 of the United States goes up for the dunk against France during their exhibition game as part of the World Basketball Festival at Madison Square Garden on August 15, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

This summer Rudy Gay won a gold medal playing for the USA Men's basketball team.While playing in the World Basketball Championships, Gay teamed up with other quality NBA players such as Kevin Durant, Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook. Gay played behind Kevin Durant, but he played an intricate role on the team.

Gay has not experienced winning since his Connecticut days and playing in the world championships reminded him how sweet winning is. Winning is something that is contagious and Gay was surrounded by a lot of winners in that locker room. If he can bring his winning attitude to Memphis, the playoffs will be a reality.

When the Grizzlies are losing, rumors fly about the relationship of O.J. Mayo and Gay and you often hear that Gay is a "black hole." All of the negative talk can vanish if the Grizzlies continue to improve.

Playing in the world championships was about more than about playing basketball. This was an opportunity for Gay to become a sponge and learn from players and coaches such as Billups, Lamar Odom, and Coach K who all have an arsenal of championship rings.

There have been speculations about if the Memphis Grizzlies overpaid their young superstar, but he will rise to the challenge. This summer was a great learning experience for Gay and it will show during the season.

Great players learn from each other. From watching how certain players prepare to learning about the small things such as conducting yourself off the court are all valuable assets that Gay will share with his Grizzlies teammates.

This season there will be a new Rudy Gay on the basketball court.

Yes, there will be a few hiccups with shot selection and pedestrian defense, but he will also bring a winning attitude and leadership that is missing from the team. Rudy may not make the All-Star team, but he will bring his best efforts night in and night out. Gay's summer school session in winning and teamwork will help lead the Grizzlies out of the dumps.