The trademark for the U19 Team USA will be clearly recongized by Card Fans. Pressure defense and shooting. Billy Donovan is an understudy of Pitino, throw Shaka Smart owning one of the most chaotic defenses in College basketball, add in a mix of talented athletes and this team will no doubt be one of the toughest teams to match up against in the U19 World Championship Games.
USA v Ivory Coast 6/27/13
Team UAS trailed earlier in Game, 2-1, then the flood gates opened. Sparked by the play of Harrell, team USA took the lead 3-2 and cruised past the Ivory coast to a 88-29 victory.
Ivory Coast’s 29 points were the fewest allowed by a USA U19 team in the history of the FIBA event that started in 1979 and has seen the USA play 83 games.
The USA put the game away with a quarter ending 20-4 offensive run that left the score 34-10 with three periods left to play. Nine U.S. players scored in the game’s first 10 minutes. Jumping further ahead 51-13, by halftime the USA owned a 56-17 advantage. Outscoring Ivory Coast 19-5 in the third quarter, the U.S. out-produced the West African nation 13-7 to capture the decisive 88-29 win. "The one thing we have really tried to sell these guys on is the fact that probably most teams here don’t have the level of depth that we have and you’re unable to use your depth unless your depth is playing at a really, really high level every single time they’re out there, every minute they’re out there.
We need guys to give maximum effort and if they get tired giving maximum effort we’ll get them out and put a fresh guy in, and we’ll get maximum effort again. I think that’s kind of the philosophy to constantly try and keep pressure by playing with fresh bodies at a high level of intensity." Added Donovan.
On the game:
It felt pretty good to get out there and play against another team so we could improve and build our team. It felt pretty good to not be beating up on each other. I was just trying to be active. The thing that really got me really running up and down when we first got out here, the court was bigger that what we’ve been practicing on so when I got out there I kind of lost my wind, but when I got the second run I was good to go. I think I need to work on things around the basket and rebound a little bit more.
How important is the press going to be for the U.S.?
I think it’s going to be real important. I don’t think most of the teams aren’t use to playing at that fast of pace and when we speed them up they’re going to make turnovers all over the floor. We may not get them with the first trap, but the second one, third one are going to come. We’re use to it, we just got to be all over the floor and ready to rotate.
USA v China 6/28/13
Team USA pressure defense and 3-pt. shooting to blitz Team China in the First outing of 2013. Billy Donovan's team was posed and ready to start defense as reigning U19 World Champions. Continuing to show confidence in Harrell, Donovan gave the big guy his second start against China. Not expected to be much of a game, from looking at the box score below it was over before it started, Team USA used hot shooting and defense to ride a 34 pt. lead into the half.
In classic Billy D (read: Pitino) style, Team USA pressed full court forcing China to commit 32 turnovers on their way to a 113-57 dismantling. It was good to hear that Trez got the start in this one, as he will be expected to shoulder the starting front court duties for the team next year. In limited 14 minutes of play and the over-matched opponent Trez posted 8 pts and 4 boards. I wouldn't read too much into his playing time as Marcus Smart (who many agree would've gone #1 in this year's draft) only played 14 minutes as well.
It will be interesting to see how this team progresses during the 2013 U19 World Championship. With Luke slated to play on the World University Team, Chane locked away transforming his out of shape body (Pitino Speak) & working on his mid-range game, and Russ being RUSS; the cards look to be in great shape for next season. I would like to see Wayne make the leap and with account of our incoming guys, we have an exciting team posed to defend the title. Here's to the "Year of the Cardinal" becoming the "Era of the Cardinal" (suggestions welcome).