USA Girls 3x3 Team Arrives In Italy
Sept. 7, 2011
While the schedules for the FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship boys and girls tournaments were announced on Monday, Sept. 5, the 2011 USA Basketball Boys and Girls 3x3 Youth World Championship Teams arrived in Rimini, Italy, on Sept. 6 after three days of training in Virginia and a day of travel.
The USA squads practiced five times between Sept. 3-5 before departing for Europe. The teams had help preparing during their domestic training from the winner of the boys high school division from the Hoop It Up 3-on-3 tournament that was held Aug. 20-21 in Miami, Fla., including Yunio Barrueta (Hialeah, Fla.), Gian Clavell (Hialeah, Fla.), Adrian Gonzalez (Hialeah, Fla.), Ray Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fla.) and Alvardo Simoza (Hialeah, Fla.).
"It was really helpful to have the team that won the Hoop It Up tournament in Miami there to help us prepare," said Jamie Carey, USA Basketball Assistant Women's National Team Director and girls team leader. "They played extremely well together, and I think they pushed both the boys and the girls team to get better. We were very appreciative to have them there, which allowed us to take on an opponent and play live."
Placed in Pool D, the U.S. boys team will open on Friday, Sept. 9 against Guam at 12 p.m. (all times listed are CEST, which is +6 hours from EDT), followed by Bulgaria at 1:40 p.m.; Netherlands at 4:20 p.m.; Russia at 5:40 p.m.; and Croatia at 6 p.m. On Sept. 10, the USA continues preliminary round action against South Africa at 12 p.m.; the Czech Republic at 1:20 p.m.; and then wraps up pool play against Denmark at 3:50 p.m. The top four finishing teams from each of the four preliminary round pools will advance to the Round of 16 that will be played on Sept. 10 at 5:30 and 6 p.m. On Sept. 11, the medal quarterfinals will be played at 12:30 p.m., the semifinals will take place at 4 and 4:30 p.m., the bronze medal game will be played at 6 p.m. and the gold medal game will tip off at 7 p.m.
"It is going to be interesting playing five games on the first day," said B.J. Johnson, USA Basketball Assistant Men's National Team Director and boys team leader. "Although each game only lasts 10 minutes, they are really intense. But we prepared hard in our training camp, and I think we got a lot better."
The U.S. girls team, playing in Pool C, begins play on Sept. 9 against India at 1 p.m.; then takes on Sri Lanka at 2:20 p.m.; Guam at 3:40 p.m.; and Italy at 5 p.m. Pool play wraps up against Sweden at 1 p.m. on Sept. 10. The top four finishing teams from each of the four preliminary round pools will advance to the round of 16 that will be held at 2 p.m. on Sept. 10, with the medal quarterfinals at 4:30 p.m. The medal semifinals will be played at 1:30 and 2 p.m. on Sept. 11, with the bronze medal game at 6 p.m. and the gold medal game at 6:30 p.m.
"We are a lot further along than when we started, and our last practice was much improved," Carey said. "The game is so different, I think the players were a bit suprised by that in the first couple of practices."
Named to the USA boys 3x3 squad were four members of 2011-12 USA Basketball Developmental National Team: Shaqquan Aaron (Taft Dei H.S./Apple Valley, Calif.), Rondať Jefferson (Chester H.S./Chester, Pa.), Malik Price-Martin (Monsignor Edward Pace H.S./ Miami, Fla.) and Jordan Swopshire (SportsQuest Academy, Va./Ofallon, Mo.).
The USA girls 3x3 team includes four members of the 2011 USA U16 championship team: Kaela Davis (Buford H.S./Suwanee, GA), Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic H.S. /Owensboro, Ky.), Linnae Harper (Whitney M. Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.) and Taya Reimer (Hamilton Southeastern H.S. /Fishers, Ind.).
USABasketball.com caught up with Harper and Aaron after the teams toured Rome during a long layover on Sept. 6.
Linnae Harper (Whitney M. Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.)
On touring Rome, Italy:
We saw a lot of stuff. We took a tour and saw all sorts of monuments and famous buildings. It was pretty interesting to see a new culture. The weather is lovely and the food is great.
How do you feel physically in the midst of a long travel day?
I feel good. I'm a little tired at the moment, but I will be ready to play.
Was it helpful to have the Hoop It Up winners there to help you train?
Training was good. The guys from Miami really helped prepare for the other teams, and I think we are ready. We are working really hard, and I think we are just ready for a challenge and to show that we are capable of playing at this level.
Shaqquan Aaron (Taft H.S./Apple Valley, Calif.)
On touring Rome, Italy:
We saw the Coliseum, we saw lots of stuff. It was a great experience to see all of that history. This is my first time out of the country, and it's cool to hear a new language and see how they live.