Roy Rana, World Team Open Practices In Preparation for the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit
Portland, Ore. ē April 2, 2012
The 2012 World Select Team kicked off practices this morning in Portland, Ore., looking to capitalize on just 10 sessions before taking on the USA Junior National Select Team in the 15th annual Nike Hoop Summit this Saturday, April 7, at the Rose Garden.
And while the international squad faces language barriers, as well as a short training period, the task is not new for two of the teamís members.
Returning from last yearís game is Croatian forward Dario Saric (KK Zagreb Croatia Osiguranje), who tallied seven points and six rebounds as the World Team fell to the USA 92-80 in 2011.
Also looking to avenge the World Teamís loss in 2011 is Roy Rana, who returns in 2012 as head coach of the global squad for a second time. A six-year veteran of Canadian national team basketball, Rana has two familiar guards on his 2012 squad Ė Anthony Bennett (6í8Ē, Findlay College Prep, Nev.) and Andrew Wiggins (6í7Ē, Huntington Prep, W.Va.). While Bennett and Wiggins play basketball at American high schools, both also suited up for Rana in the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship, finishing with a bronze medal.
Following the World Teamís first day of two-a-day practices, USA Basketball caught up with Rana to ask about his experience in 2011 and his plans for this yearís Nike Hoop Summit.
How is this different from your experiences with Canadian national teams?
For one Ė culture. The players are different, their understanding of the game is different and they come from different schools of basketball. So, itís a lot of fun because you learn from them as well. A lot of them are playing professionally at a really high level, so sometimes itís like having three or four coaches on the floor. They pick up things very quickly. So, itís very positive, and itís a great experience.
How do you accomplish what youíd like to accomplish in five days of practices?
Well, you try to give them a basic structure where they can be successful. I think sometimes itís not about how much you teach, but how much you decide not to. You have to pick and choose in such a short period of time. You have to try and bring them together as a group. So, you are going to sacrifice something, and itís really about deciding what you are going to sacrifice. We have started to play live a little bit earlier than we did last year. We want to develop some chemistry with these guys and give them the opportunity to come into Saturday night with some confidence.
Last year was your first year coaching in the Hoop Summit. Was it what you expected?
I didnít know what to expect last year, since it was my first time. Obviously, it was a special experience. I think weíve got a pretty talented group of kids again this year, so I think itís going to be an interesting game on Saturday.
Has your game plan changed for this year?
I think your game plan has to be different Ė based on the personalities we have. Last year we had Bismack Biyombo, who was a dominant force inside. Iím not sure we have a similar type of player this year. I think we have a little bit more depth at all positions. I think our game plan will kind of work itself out as we get to know these players over the next week and they get to know us. Itís going to be an evolving game plan, but hopefully it will be the right one.