Friday, July 8, 2011
USA Under-19 team has much to learn
By Diamond Leung
The folks at FIBA were so impressed by Florida's Patric Young that they compiled a highlight reel of all his dunks at the Under-19 world championship in Latvia. Unfortunately for Team USA, that display of athleticism won't be rewarded with a medal.
The Americans lost 79-74 to Russia today in the quarterfinal round, leaving some to wonder what could have been had guys like Harrison Barnes, Terrence Jones and Jared Sullinger decided to participate heading into their sophomore seasons. But coach Paul Hewitt indicated that the players who were selected out of Colorado Springs were talented enough, telling reporters, "We had a very good team, we just didn’t have a day where I thought we played to our best, but a lot of it had to do with them (Russia) and how they played."
After the game, Young was left tweeting, "Complacency is the worse type of team killer. Once that sets its roots there is almost no coming back."
So expect that lessons learned will help the members of the team when they go back to their respective schools and prepare for the upcoming season. There were numerous players who will go home with more confidence.
UConn's Jeremy Lamb led the team in scoring and earned the trust of Hewitt. After scoring 21 points in a losing effort the coach told reporters, "We tried to play through Jeremy."
Joe Jackson got an experience that will serve him well at Memphis, and Young was able to learn from playing international competition. Tony Mitchell finally got into an organized competition after the Missouri signee sat out last season with academic troubles and now hopes to get eligible at North Texas.
For the players, all was not lost, even though they won't be taking home the championship. They'll have another shot at glory soon enough and will improve after having taken the long trip to Europe.
"I’ve learned a lot and I’m just going to take it back and share it with my teammates and get better," Illinois center Meyers Leonard told reporters.