2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11
2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11

Shaking Off the Jet Lag

Aug. 18, 2010 ē Madrid, Spain

Photos ē Eric Gordon Audio

Members of the USA Menís World Championship Team finalists are getting over the change in time zones. Currently in Spain, which is six hours ahead of their previous training camp time zone. If anyone has ever traveled overseas, theyíll tell you it takes a few days to acclimate your bodyís clock to the current time. The big mistake comes from the travel rookies who take a nap after arriving in Europe and then canít sleep that night. But since they practiced last night, the were forced to stay up late enough to kick-start getting over jet lag and this morningís practice showed. They had legs under them, shots were falling and the 12 guys are really coming together as a team.

But donít take our word for it, read what they had to say below and listen to Eric Gordon talk about the team, being in Madrid and the upcoming competition against Spain.

Mike Krzyzewski
Krzyzewski

Mike Krzyzewski, USA Head Coach
Are you happy to be in Spain?
Yes, weíre very happy to be in Spain. Basketball is so loved here.

Do you think your games here will be difficult?
Theyíll be very difficult. Weíve only played one game and weíre a very young team so in preparations for the World Championship playing both Lithuania and Spain will be very important, and then we go to Greece from here, so these are important exhibitions for us.

For Spain, which player is most difficult?
Thereís not one player. Iíve coached against Spain in the Olympics and they have an outstanding g team.† Theyíre experienced and their ability to play together, they really pass the ball brilliantly. Theyíre a magnificent passing team so itís not one player, they can hurt you from a lot of different positions.

What is your plan for the two matches?
Weíre just trying to keep putting in our system.† Weíve only practiced two weeks and have only had one exhibition game so this is still like our training camp. Weíre looking at this as training camp and then when we get to Turkey thatís when we have to get to business, when weíre hopefully at our best.

red bar

Itís a beautiful city. Itís like something you see in the movies. Iím happy Iím here, itís a great experience and something Iím always going to remember.

~ Kevin Durant

red bar

Can you give us your five starters?
On Saturday weíll start Rondo, Billups, Chandler, Iguodala and Durant. But we donít just have a set starting lineup, Rose can be in there, Lamar Odom, obviously Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, theyíll all be in there.

What is the difference between the players in Beijing and right now?
We have five guys who are 21 so itís a much younger team. Theyíre still becoming players, theyíre still getting better as players, so they have a lot of development to do. The youth of our team is probably the biggest concern, and then how well we can rebound because weíre not a real big bulky team. So the inexperience and rebounding. But we have great attitudes, excellent speed, I think we can play good defense and we have to use those strengths to overcome a little bit of our weaknesses.

Coach, you are the main favorite for the World ChampionshipÖ
I donít know if there is one favorite for the World Championship. I would think with the youth that we have on our team, we think we have a good chance at it, but we know that Spain and Greece are the most experienced teams.† Spain is very talented, you have a lot of NBA players, guys who have played internationally together. Theyíve played a lot together as a team and thatís always something that a U.S.† team has to try and overcome when they are playing internationally. Theyíre usually playing against a team that has played together for a while. And always Argentina is there.† Those four teams will be very strong finishers for a World Championship.

How different is the Spanish team with and without Pau Gasol?
I havenít watched them yet, Iím trying to learn my own team. But any team with Pau is better, any team without doesnít mean youíre bad, and theyíre (Spain) not, theyíre really good. Heís one of the top ten players in the world and I think Kobe Bryant would vote on that too.

They have the rest of their team. They won the (2006) World Championship and Pau got hurt, and in fact they won by 30 I think.† So I think theyíre a very good team without him too, but again I love Pau, heís become a good friend and I think heís a magnificent player. Spanish basketball is great. What Spain has done with basketball over the years is magnificent and to watch a Spanish National Team play is watching beautiful†basketball. They just play so well together.

What about the arena?
It seems like it will be noisy in here with the metal. If that was in the United States people would be stomping on it so we expect it very noisy in here. The facility is fine. Being in Madrid, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and we know that the people here love basketball. Weíve always had great competition against Spain and we expect the same again when we play Sunday.

How was your Trip?
We had a good trip.† It is an adjustment but thatís why we came here on Tuesday instead of a week from Tuesday. The time here is not just to get ready for here, itís to get ready for Turkey so by the time we leave here weíll be adjusted well to the environment, time, spending six days here is very important for us. We play two outstanding teams, but also just the facilities are good, the time is only one hour difference (from Turkey) and so thatís part of our plan.

What about the last cut?
It will probably be done in Greece. Thatís not what we are thinking about most. Whoever is not selected we will have to not select as really good player. But it will be because of how we feel the final 10 through 12 spots compliment best the rest of the team.

Chauncey Billups
Billups

Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)
Thoughts on Ricky Rubio?
I havenít played against him.† I heard heís a really good player.† I havenít seen him play but looking forward to playing against him.

On playing Spain in Madrid:
We have a lot of pride being from the US and being able to come outside of our country and compete.† We have a lot of pride and we are going to try to protect what we feel is ours.† We feel like we got the best basketball players in the world.†† Obviously, Spain has got some unbelievable basketball players and we got a lot of respect for what they have been able to accomplish basketball-wide.† Itís kind of like you have this competitive, good-natured rivalry that we kind of have with them.

Thoughts on this test for the American team?
This is the first time that our team has been away from home, playing in a game.† Weíll face a good Lithuanian team and the next night, of course, weíll face Spain who is a great team.† It will be a good challenge for us Ö a good test.

Does playing without Pau make Spain less of a challenge?
Of course, they are missing their best player and that doesnít help.† But, at the same time they got so many great players on that team Ö theyíre still a great basketball team.

Tyson Chandler
Chandler

Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
Have you been to Spain before?
Yeah, Iíve been to Barcelona.

Is there anything here in Madrid that youíre looking forward to seeing?
Just the city in general. Like I said, I went to Barcelona and I had the chance to go around the city and get a little feel for it. Iím looking forward to just understanding to what makes Madrid special.

Did you get to sleep last night or is the jet lag hitting you yet?
Yeah, itís hitting me now, actually. I felt like I had some energy in yesterdayís practice. I kind of feel like I went to sleep alright, but in the middle of the night I felt like I was tossing and turning. I kind of was up all night. Hopefully today Iíll be able to adjust a little bit more.

Do you feel that the team is starting to work together more now that youíre down to 13 players?
Yeah. You know what? Not only is it getting better, but itís going to be better for us here. Now we have the opportunity to condition ourselves better. Get the opportunity to understand each other better. When you have so many guys, youíre pretty much in for two or three minutes and youíre out. That kind of hurts your conditioning because youíre not able to get a full practice in. Iím looking forward to getting into better shape and also come together.

Kevin Durant
Durant

Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On his brief time in Spain:
Itís been nice.† Practices have been going alright. The city is beautiful, so I am enjoying myself.

Thoughts on Spain:
Theyíre very good every year. Theyíve got a lot of guys from the NBA playing on their team and they got a lot of good role players. Theyíre a very good team and weíre looking forward to playing them to see how we stack up.

On playing Spain without Pau Gasol:
Guys are going to step up. Theyíve got Vasquez, whoís pretty good. Marc Gasol is very good, Navarro, theyíve got a lot of weapons. Itís going to be tough to beat them, but weíre looking forward to the game.

On the possibility of playing outdoors (the Magic Box has a retractable roof, but it wonít be open during the USAís games)
Outdoors? Iím used to it, Iíve been playing outdoors since I was a kid. It would be fun if they open up this (roof) up here to play outdoors. It would be cool.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the American team?
I think our strengths are our athleticism and the fact that we have a lot of guys who can play multiple positions. I think our weakness right now is rebounding, thatís our main weakness. We could do a lot better at it. I think everybody needs to do a better job of limiting their turnovers and getting open shots. Sometimes we tend to overpass, but that can be a good and a bad thing.

How is the team dealing with the jet lag?
Weíre getting better. By tomorrow morning we should be alright. We should be straight by the time we start playing.

Are you feeling more like a group now?
Oh yeah, we feel more like a group now. Our chemistry is great, itís getting better. Overall I think weíre doing great.

What do you think of Madrid?
Itís a beautiful city. Itís like something you see in the movies. Iím happy Iím here, itís a great experience and something Iím always going to remember.

Do you have time to see anything?
Oh yeah, weíll have time after practice to go walk around and see some things. I really donít know whatís here, so whatever catches my eye Iím looking forward to seeing.

Lamar Odom
Odom

Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers)
Thoughts on Spain:
Basketball is competitive here.† They have a great team.† They have been playing together for a little bit.† They understand each other.† Weíre fortunate to be here.† Itís a beautiful place to live, to visit, to come play basketball.† Itís a blessing to be here.

Thoughts on Spain without Pau Gasol:
They are still a great team.† Theyíre so deep.† Of course, any team that doesnít have Paul would miss him.† I should know.† Right?† They still have a really good team, really competitive.

Did Pau give you any tips on playing Spain?
No.† I donít think Pau will give me any information.† Maybe on every other team but not this team.† Maybe on every NBA team but not this team.

What is Coach K asking you to do?
Just to play my game.† To be aggressive.† Look to make plays.† Look to be a leader.

Whatís your biggest concern about the Spanish team?
Honestly, youíre never concerned about competition because competition is fun and itís kind of what we live for.†† Obviously, theyíre a great team.† They do so many things well.† But we look forward to the confrontation.† We look forward to the competitiveness.† Thatís what makes it fun.† Thatís what makes it still a game.† Itís still a game at the end of the day and games are fun.† Itís just a game.† Itís basketball.† Itís what we love to do.

What do you think about possibly playing outdoors?
I think thatís beautiful.† I canít wait to see that.† Iíve never played in an arena like that.

Who is the favorite between USA and Spain?
This is their home court.† I would imagine that they are going to have home court advantage.† But, playing on the road is something that all of us are used to doing because itís something we have to do in the NBA.† Itís just going to be a tough game.† Itís going to be very competitive.† Every time the two teams meet each other, itís always competitive.† Both teams are very prideful.† We canít wait to play against them.

Rajon Rondo
Rondo

Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics)
Is there a difference playing the Spanish team without Pau Gasol?
Itís definitely a difference but I donít think itís a huge difference.† I seen them play last night and it seems like theyíve played together for a long time.† They do a great job of executing on the offensive side of the floor and their break is pretty good as well.

Are you prepared for this test?
Yeah, I think so.† We played a couple of international games.† We played against China and France so we still have a couple more tests to go before we play Spain so weíre looking forward to it.

Are you happy with the Magic Box?
Itís a very beautiful facility.† Very nice.

Are you the director of the team?
You could say that.† Iím one of the directors.† We have a couple.

What can you do to solve the rebounding problem for your team?
We can box out.† Pretty simple.† Weíre not going to be everyone athletically to the boards so we have to go back to the fundamentals and box out when the time comes.