Additional Quotes >> Women's National Team Teleconference
Aug. 18, 2010
2009-12 USA Women's National Team head coach
It's getting awfully close to that training camp date that Carol (Callan) talked about, and we've had an opportunity as a committee and coaching staff, to a certain degree, to talk about what our goals and what our expectations are during training camp, and we're anxious to see who we have. Obliviously, the WNBA playoffs will have some affect, some impact on who is going to attend and when, but I feel really good about the time frame that between (Sept. 4th) and the 13th when we leave, we'll have a pretty good contingent of players. The first round of playoffs will be completed, and we'll have a pretty good influx of players coming in. And then certainly when we leave Spain, we'll also have another pretty good group join us. And then the finals, if they go to game five will be the 21st, and at that point we'll have our full contingent of pool players that are available. We know it's not going to be easy. We know there are some challenges ahead for us, but at the same time we're certainly prepared for it, we're certainly ready for it. We know how difficult our task is, as was proven by the last World Championship tournament in Brazil. We're hoping that we can go there and win the World Championship and get us back to where we're accustomed to being --the No.1 team in the world.
How fluid do you see
this list of 24 players? Do you anticipate adding or subtracting to this list
between now and when you leave for Europe?
This being my first time through this process, I know that it's a long process and I know a lot of procedures have got to be in place in order for someone to be part of the pool. So, in terms of the pool being fluid, I think anyone who is in the pool right now would be someone that could be on the roster when that final roster is announced on the 21st of September. In terms of adding anyone to the pool that isn't in the pool right now, that deadline, and Carol can speak more to this if I don't explain it properly, but that deadline has passed, and that involves a whole lot of issues that Carol would have a better way of explaining it to you. But that deadline has passed, so I don't see anyone being added to the pool that's already in the pool or that isn't in the pool right now.
did Crystal Langhorne get?
I would say that I thought Crystal last training camp that we had in Washington, D.C., last fall before we went to Russia, I thought she was impressive in those work outs, and we brought her over to Russia, and I thought she had a really good experience over there. As we go forward, and Crystal being right now kind of an undersized post player, the biggest need that we have on this team right now, is to find someone who can play that center position and enough size to compete with some of the teams we are going to have to beat in the World Championship. We're just not big enough. With Candace Parker out, that makes it even more imperative that size is a tremendous issue for us. That being said, I think Crystal has a tremendous future with USA Basketball, and as she keeps improving and as she continues to develop her game and she has a desire to be a part of USA Basketball, I think she's going to have tremendous opportunities in the future to do that.
Coming out of the
Australia closed scrimmage, how much of a concern was the post position?
I think that Australia is one of the bigger teams in the world, and they've added a real young player, 6'8", 6'9", makes them even more formidable, and with Lauren Jackson. So yeah, that's a tremendous issue for us, as is the Russian team with their size. Coming out of that scrimmage, you got to remember we didn't have Sylvia Fowles, and that would have been a really good test to see where we are. We didn't have our full strength of players, and neither did they to be honest. They didn't play with Lauren Jackson either, but as I look at our group of players in this pool, I see perimeter players that are experienced, that are talented, they are versatile. Our biggest issue since we started with this has been do we have enough size, do we have enough scoring in the post. Defensively, we'll figure out a way to defend, but at the international level, you've got to be able to score, and you can't just be a jump-shooting team. Come training camp, we are going to have to identify who those players are. Whether Jayne Appel, and Kia Vaughn, and Ebony Hoffman, Rebekkah Brunson, whether they are able to do that, that remains to be seen, and I think that's one reason why we want to bring them in. We know what some of the other players can do, but I think we need to find out, can these four add the one element that we are missing?
What's the earliest
you would envision cuts being made?
I don't know that there is a number that we are looking at and saying OK look, when we leave Washington and come to Connecticut, we only want to have this many. I don't think that's the case at all, and I don't know if there's a number that we're looking at, and I could be wrong. I don't that there is a number that we are looking at and saying, hey, when we leave for Europe on the 13th, this is the number we want to be at. I just know that after (Sept.) 21st, we have to be at 12. How we get there, I think that remains to be seen.
On Caroline Doty's
Well I think it's the same with USA Basketball. Candace (Parker) has had that shoulder issue for a long time, and it's costing her the World Championship now. Caroline had this issue for a while. It kept her from playing in the past, and now it's going to keep her from playing this season. It's unfortunate that it happened, it's unfortunate the timing. It's something you wouldn't wish on any player once, much less three times. So, Caroline is going to put on a happy face and she's going to put up a good front, but deep down inside you know that she's really struggling with this, and as soon as we start practice she's going to struggle more, and as soon as we start playing the struggle is going to get even more difficult. But that's the hand she's dealt right now, and I'm not worried about us. I'm not one of these guys who is going to keep reminding everybody, hey if we had Caroline, we'd be really good. As we go through the season, Caroline is not playing for us this year, and we are going to have to figure out a way to do what we want to do with who we have. Caroline has got her own issues. Her issue is to get healthy, and our issue is to try to do whatever we set out to do, but do it without a real important part of our team. So, it's going to be difficult, but it's not supposed to be easy. We did it two years ago, and now we are going to have to do it again.
More on Crystal Langhorne:
These decisions were made for FIBA reasons a while back, and it's just the way the process works. But if you look around the league, and you look around at the experience factor of some of the people that play her position, it would be difficult to say well you know, Crystal Langhorne is so much better than this particular person at that position. As I said earlier in my comments, if she was a 6'5" center, then I would tell you she'd be looked at completely different and it's got nothing to do with is she good enough as a player is she a good enough rebounder and all those other things. What the roster looks like for the World Championship and what it's going to look like for the Olympics may be two completely different things. But right now at this point in time, that's a decision that was made and that's a decision that we have to go with.
What are your thoughts
on how ready you will be based on the impressive play of U.S. players during
this WNBA season?
The players that are in the pool, for the most part, have had incredible seasons and have had tremendous impact on their teams winning and losing and, for the most part, have international experience. So, there's no doubt we are going to put together a great team, and there's no doubt that we are going to be ready to play Sept. 23. The challenge I think for USA Basketball and for me personally is to try to put together all the pieces that work. Sometimes it's easy, you just say, take all these guys, they've got the best numbers. This one led the league in scoring. That one led the league in rebounding. This one led the league in assists, and boom, boom, boom, boom. But in the end, it's about trying to find people that are compatible together, people that you know learn quickly because we don't have a lot of time together, you know have been there, they understand the international game better than anyone else because they've done it for longer periods of time. And then, we have to look at it from a coaching and committee standpoint as, what are we going to need to win these games? Are we going some size? Are we going to need some pressure? Are we going to need some more shooters? Are we going to need more defenders? What is it that we are going to need? As I keep looking at the team, the thing I see that's probably most important in my eyes is how many players can you put on this team that can play more than one position? Again, because Carol said, if you have an injury, you can't replace that player. So, I'm looking at 12 players, who maybe 10 of them have to be able to play at least two positions. If you have that, then I think you can be prepared for almost anything that comes down the road. I like our chances. I like our group, and I'm going to love the team that we go to the Czech Republic with.
USA Basketball Women's National Team Director
I'd like to say to each of you that are participating in this call that we appreciate your time today, and we thank you for being a part of our call. As you know, the World Championship is fast approaching in the Czech Republic, beginning on September 23rd, and the National Team player selection committee has a couple of things that we needed to do to make sure we were ready to go, one of which is to look at our player pool and see if there's some players we wanted to add there to our existing pool and also to make sure we were prepared as well as we could be. So there are basically two things we'd like to do today, first is to announce the addition of four players to our National Team. Once again, the National Team is a pool of players from which the 12-member World Championship Team will be selected. It's a fluid pool that over the next couple of years will be adding players as we go in anticipation of the Olympics in London as well. I'm very pleased on behalf of the National Team player selection committee to announce that Jayne Appel, Rebekkah Brusnon, Ebony Hoffman and Kia Vaughn have been added to our National Team. At the same time, we of course now have a number of players that will come available to us as the WNBA season ends and the playoffs progress. And as players depart the playoffs, we will then have training camp. We've announced some of it as we've gone, and we're prepared to now give you the full complement of training camps that we will be having. We will be beginning in Washington, D.C., on September 4th with four days of practices - at the Flint Hill School for the first two days and at American University for the last two days, the 6th and 7th. We'll then make our way to Hartford as you know already. We'll then be playing several exhibition games in Hartford. On the 10th of September we'll be playing Australia. We've also invited Spain, and Spain and Australia will be playing on the 11th of September. And then the U.S. again will be playing Spain on the 12th of September. We then will be heading over to Europe, and our first stop will be in Spain. In Salamanca, Spain, we'll be in a four-team tournament with Australia, Spain and Senegal. We'll play Australia on the 17th, Spain will play Senegal, and the winners will play on the 18th, and the losers of those two games will also play on the 18th. We then will be traveling to the Czech Republic to Brno, the sight of one of the pool play cities, where we will scrimmage the Czech Republic team on the 20th, then make our way to Ostrava, which is where our pool will be playing, and we will be getting there on the 21st, and our first game then of course is on the 23rd. So that's the major announcement for today.
On how flexible the
player pool will be between now and the 13th:
There are 24 players currently in our pool, three of which are injured and not available to us: Candice Wiggins, Alana Beard and Candace Parker. However, this pool is really a 2010-2012 pool, so those three players, even though they're injured, they remain in the pool, obviously, because they're under consideration for the next several years as well. What Geno's referring to in terms of a deadline is FIBA requires a list of players be sent to them, this was toward the end of July, from which, then, our 12-member roster will come, which we have done. And that does include the four players we added today. He also mentioned that the team would be announced on the 21st. Really, that's announced to FIBA. There's a technical meeting that occurs two days before the first game in which we must submit the 12 players that will be on our team. And then after that point you cannot make any replacements or changes; should someone get injured, you would have to go with 11. Again, that's two days before the actual World Championship games start. So sometime between when we gather on September 3rd and September 21st, our player selection committee will identify the 12 players that will be on the roster. We have left ourselves the flexibility to do that any time up to the 21st of September. As you can probably tell from our preparation schedule, we'll be leaving the country on September 13th, and with the WNBA Finals going as late as September 21st, we're going to obviously make sure we have the option to decide a roster as late as we need to, given the chance to see the players play, last minute injuries that may occur from the WNBA, last minute emergency kinds of things. So one of the things we learned in 2006, with injuries that occurred late to Yolanda Griffith and a family emergency for Lisa Leslie, we wanted to, this time around, have a larger pool of players prepared so that we wouldn't have to then all of a sudden feel like we had an emergency decision at the end and players maybe weren't as familiar with the coach and the other players. So that's why we've gone to this larger pool concept.
On Crystal Langhorne
not being added:
We have had Crystal in our program over the years. She's played with us. She came in the fall and was part of our training camp. And at this point, without going into specifics on players - I don't think that's something we want to do - we have not added her to the list at this point. But she remains obviously in our minds as we move forward.
On if there are any
plans to bring active college players to training:
At this point, part of the problem obviously is, since we're in September, college player are in school for the most part. So there's really not a focus on college players. Plus, given the numbers that we do have in the pool for the players that would be available, we feel like we have adequate numbers. As we talk over the next couple of weeks, and we only have just a couple of weeks, if someone were to emerge in our minds that would be able to help us, provide something that maybe an opponent has that maybe we don't have with the players that are in camp, we might consider that. But again we want to focus on the players that we think will be on the team more than bringing other players in from college at this point.
More on the player
selection process, and why certain players were not added, namely Crystal Langhorne
and DeWanna Bonner:
There's no magic number to who's in our pool. We can have basically any number that we want, and originally when we started the 2009-2012 pool, and we kind of used those numbers, it's basically the national team pool as it currently exists. If you go back to when we started, we started with the players that were returning from the 2008 Olympic Team. We announced them first. Then we said that we would progressively add players to our pool as the committee felt they wanted to do that. We then had added more to get to, I believe, 20 at the time, and now we've added four more. So there's no magic number that FIBA says we have to have. It's strictly up to our committee to say, 'These are the people we'd like to have in there.' Once we have them in there, there'd be no point in now deleting them from the pool, because it doesn't matter with numbers. So Candice, Alana and Candace, by virtue of being injured, won't be available for the World Championship, but they're still on our National Team and available for other competitions as we move forward, and have played with us - Candace Parker went to Russia with us, and Candice Wiggins has been involved with us as well. So those numbers don't really matter.
In terms of other players, I think what our committee wants to do is to make sure the players we have in the pool we really evaluate, identify. I think cases could be made for players that aren't in the pool that they should be considered, and that's something that our committee continually looks at. At this point, they just simply, or I should say 'we' just have not put them into the pool yet. It doesn't, again, mean that they won't be, and I would say people can certainly have their opinion that we should have had them in there right now. It's just simply a decision that we didn't make at this point.