Marquese Chriss' Men's U18 Diary
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Marquese Chriss (Pleasant Grove H.S./Elk Grove, Calif.) is one of 24 players who arrived in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Tuesday to participate in the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team training camp. When the camp ends on June 19, a 12-member team will be selected to represent the United States in the USA Basketball-hosted FIBA Americas U18 Championship at the U.S. Olympic training Center (USOTC) beginning June 20.
Chriss, one of the youngest participants in the group, filed this player diary after his first day on site:
It’s very exciting to be here in Colorado Springs for the U18 National Team training camp. This is my first time at a USA Basketball event, so my goal is just to do well, play hard and hopefully make the team.
I was told there are 11 players here who have been involved with USA Basketball before – including three who have won multiple gold medals. And I didn’t realize until I got here that a bunch of the players are 18 years old (I won’t be 17 until July). But that’s okay. I’m feeling comfortable around everyone.
I do know a good majority of the kids here. I played with Isaiah Briscoe, Chase Jeter and Stephen Zimmerman at Pangos All-America Camp a few weeks ago. I’ve played with Allonzo Trier and against Stanley Johnson. Justin Simon and I are friends on Twitter.
As for some of the players I hadn’t met yet, I’ve had a chance to chat with them, just a little socializing before we get down to business. Most of us arrived Tuesday morning – I mostly slept on the one-hour van ride from the airport. We checked in, picked up our gear, backpack and shoes, had our height and weight taken and shot around for a while.
As far as training camp goes, I mainly need to focus on my dribbling. That, and having fun. I know most players say they are “just trying to have fun” on the court, but in my case it’s a necessity. Sometimes I can get mad when I play, and that takes me out of my game.
It’s just a matter of reminding myself that it’s basketball. I’m playing because I enjoy it – it’s not something I’m required to do.
While I’ve got another year of high school ahead of me, I have made a verbal commitment to go to the University of Washington in 2015.
I really felt a good connection with the coaching staff and everybody up there. I know one of the players, Darin Johnson, who was a freshman last season. Darin used to be in my high school league and we used to play each other, so we’ve been friends for a while. Another reason I like Washington is that if I don’t play basketball after college, I want to be an engineer. They have a good engineering program up there, and after college you get an internship at Boeing, so that’s something to look forward to.
I talked to Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar Monday and assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger on Sunday, and both had advice for me heading into training camp. They just told me to play hard, play defense, don’t take plays off and don’t expect to get the ball from the guards every possession but to go get the rebounds. Hustle points. When there are things other people don’t want to do, just go do it.
It would be amazing to make this team and represent the United States in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. If I don’t make this team, then I’m going to play with my AAU team, and we travel a little bit more. I also have summer league with my high school team.
In the meantime, I am just really looking forward to this.