July 25, 2008
Hello Huskie and USA Basketball Fans,
I am happy to report that after two days of competition we are 2-0. On Wednesday July 23rd, we defeated Venezuela by a considerable margin, 112-49. It was good to get a game under us and finally compete against someone else. Although we started out slow, everything came together in the second half. I was pleased with our overall team effort but knew that our game the next day versus Canada would present a much greater challenge.
Just as I thought, Canada was a very physical team and had some size. They gave us some problems early on but we shifted into third and fourth gear in the second period and went on a 24-5 run. This run really opened up the game for us as we went on to win, 72-56. Our biggest challenge has been working together as a team. When we do this, the results speak for themselves.
With two wins under our belt, we are guaranteed a top-four finish and this means we secured a berth into the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship. I am glad that we qualified and even more proud that we were able to do that for USA Basketball. But with that being said, winning our next three games is our concern. We want nothing less than a gold medal, and we must play together in order to accomplish this.
We take on Puerto Rico today at 5:00pm. Puerto Rico does not have much size but they are quick and scrappy. We must keep their guards in front of us and take care of the ball on the offensive end. I am excited to play again, and so is our team!
Besides being so grateful for the opportunity to coach and represent USA Basketball, I also have the amazing opportunity to experience another culture. The way of life here in Argentina is very different than what I am used to. One major difference is the time that dinner is served. Most people sit down to eat dinner around 9:00 p.m. and stay up pretty late. This is hard for me, but I am not one to turn down a great steak dinner and entertainment. Last evening, Carol Callan and I were invited by the Administer of Sport for Argentina to attend a musical about the tango. We went to a place called Madero Tango and it was awesome. Learning about all the different styles of tango and the history behind the dance was intriguing.
The team has also had the opportunity to go site seeing and pick up some souvenirs. They also literally had a taste of the Argentina culture. Besides being known for the tango and Eva Peron (Evita)..."don't cry for me Argentina," Argentina is also known for their beef! They are the world's third largest beef exporter in the world. The cattle raised here benefit from high-quality pastures due mostly to the sufficient amount of rainfall and the cool climate. They also live under natural conditions. This means they are free from hormone implants and live low stress lives. Okay, okay, okay so I did some research....but that is only because I needed to know what makes this beef so dang good! So to say the least, the team and staff have enjoyed some great steak dinners.
I must say good-bye now and shift my focus back to bringing home the GOLD! Hello to my staff and NIU team. I miss you more and more each day and can't wait to see your smiling faces.
Go USA and Go Huskies!