“At the end of the day, it’s about team success. Individual success, I’ve had it, I’ve done it. Team success is way better.”
This past weekend, the United States men’s basketball team U19 team lost to Lithuania in the FIBA World Championships.
A good friend, who is a former college basketball coach called me and broke the news to me.
“So what, it doesn’t matter.” I answered.
He was shocked.
Here’s my take on this Team USA vs the World, International, Summer, FIBA play.
In America, an 8th grader’s goal is to make his high school varsity team.
A high school basketball player’s goal is to play AAU and gain a college scholarship.
A college basketball player’s goals is to make the NCAA tournament, earn a degree and make a roster in the NBA.
When an American basketball team goes down to an International team everyone writes about what’s wrong with basketball here in the U.S.
Before you e-mail me about playing for pride and representing your country, I totally understand all of that. It doesn’t have anything to do with that; these kids from America understand that too. It’s not like they go out there and don’t care. It’s time we start giving credit where credit is due.
Because the next time someone gives these hard-working men from Lithuania, Croatia or Argentina credit will be the first time. Just look at Draft Night in June. Whenever one of these fine players are drafted by an NBA team analysts rave about them. We are treated to spectacular highlights and then leave it to Fran Fraschilla of ESPN to chime in on the player with stats, height and favorite food.
Let’s allow Florida Gator big man Patrick Young explain via Miro Sport News;
“I learned that you have to give 100 percent every game and you have to come and be ready to play. I learned a lot about these European teams. There are great teams like Lithuania, Croatia,” Young told RealGM.com. “They don’t sink any bad shots; they move the ball really well. That’s what we lack in the United States. We don’t move the ball as well. They play a lot of one-on-one. They play really good basketball here in Europe.”
“Not too many people get an opportunity to represent their country in basketball. I saw this opportunity and I thought that I definitely have to come take this opportunity and take this chance to play for my country and my team. I am really excited that I was selected and I am really grateful for that,” Young said
When a United States basketball team falls to an International team, let’s stop asking, ‘what’s wrong with basketball in America’? Instead, let’s give the International players, coaches and their teams credit. Let’s stop all the nonsense, “International players are catching up to us.” Since when was basketball improvement a race? Does anyone ever stop to think that these players are working hard, they aspire to show they can compete with American players and ultimately want to come over and play in the NBA?
It’s funny because baseball has always been, “America’s game“. But I never hear pundits cry, “Oh the Latino players are taking over baseball.” I embrace International players improving and I enjoy watching them play the right way. Let’s stop all this macho bullshit like we (United States) own the game of basketball. The roundball is a game that is growing all across the globe. There’s no shame in losing to another country.
Josh Pastner has hired Los Angeles Laker Luke Walton as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis. I think this is a great idea. Walton knows the game, relates well to people and knows what it takes to reach the next level; something many player aspire to do.
Congrats to Jim Boylen who is now an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers. Jim is one of the good guys in the coaching business. I had the chance to meet him when he was at Michigan State as an assistant.
Danny Hurley, men’s head basketball coach at Wagner College in Staten Island Danny Hurley, @dhurley15 is now on Twitter.
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachFinamore