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Brittney Sykes

USA National Team Practice Quotes (9/19/19)

  • Date:
    Sep 19, 2019

Dawn Staley (South Carolina), USA head coach
Thoughts on the team you’re bringing to Puerto Rico for the AmeriCup?
It’s a good group. We’ve got a good, young group. We’ve got the spectrum. We’ve got the USA National Team first timers, we’ve got multi-time Olympians and then we’ve got some players who are very young, but who had great WNBA seasons. So, I think it’s great for us to see where our USA National Team pool is overall. So, I’m happy and excited to take the next step and go to Puerto Rico with this group.

Break down this week’s training camp:
I thought we had a really productive three days of training camp. We had a lot of moving parts, and even with those moving parts, we were still able to stay the course and get better defensively. Our offense is coming. But with different types of players coming in and out, it’s a little bit difficult. I liked moving the chain on the defensive side. The offensive stuff will come.   

What do you think the younger athletes got out of it and what does their play mean for the future of USA Basketball’s national team?
The younger players did a great job. With it being their first experience with the national team, it just goes to show what our veterans do to get our younger players to play up to their levels. They like to play beautiful basketball, and they’re going to make sure the young ones are prepared to play beautiful basketball. It was a great learning experience for them. I don’t think college players really understand the level that you need to play in order to play at this level, and how we take care of one another. I’m happy to see them learning that.

How are you scouting the AmeriCup opponents?
It’s a little bit easier now to prep for teams that you haven’t seen before, because all the games are somewhere online. Our video coordinator Hudson Jacobs does a great job at finding every single game. If there was a game out there that was televised or on the internet, he’s going to find them. So, we’ve been doing a great job, all of us, all the coaches. Jen (Rizzotti) has done a great job at getting ahead of the preparation for some of the teams that we haven’t seen, especially some of the ones we’ve never seen, in these competitions.

Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)
Break down this week’s training camp:
I thought camp went great. It’s always interesting when you have a new group of people and you’re trying to learn new plays, learn new defenses, and make what usually is a month’s worth of work into three days getting ready for competition. I think everyone came in with an open mind and really did a great job, especially for how young the group was. I’m looking forward to how they do in Puerto Rico.

Jordin Canada (Seattle Storm)
What has your first USA National Team experience been like so far?
It’s a great feeling. It’s a blessing and an honor to be around Olympians, to be around other professional players and to be able to represent the USA. I’m very honored, ready to go to Puerto Rico, play with my teammates and hopefully get the gold medal.

Did it help having Dan Hughes and Sue Bird here?
Yeah, it did help. I know some other professional players here that I’ve played with on USA Basketball teams before. They’ve been very welcoming with open arms. I’m just happy that I got to experience this with Sue and some other great players as well.

What do you see as the strength of this team at the AmeriCup?
I think it’s pace. We’re really quick. We can push the ball. We’ve got some great post players inside the paint. I think we’ve got an all-around good team. We’ve got some shooters who can push the pace to go with some great post players.

Olivia Nelson-Ododa (University of Connecticut)
What has it been like for you to be at this camp and be around so many veterans?
It’s been an incredible experience. I’ve been able to learn so much from watching the vets in front of me, what they do, how they talk and communicate and just how they play overall.

Are you excited to travel to Puerto Rico and play in the AmeriCup?
It’s always an honor to be able to play with USA across your chest. To be able to go down and compete, and especially to have the chance to learn from the best, it’s going to be an amazing experience.

How much will this help you with your upcoming college season?
Definitely just competing at a higher speed, a higher pace and learning a lot more than just being at school will definitely help a lot for me going into my season. Also, I think it’ll help a lot with confidence. When you’re around the best people, playing with and learning from the best people, it’ll be something great to carry back to my team.  

Brittney Sykes (Atlanta Dream)
Break down this week’s training camp:
It’s been great being around everybody again. We’ve played against each other at multiple levels and to see the same people at the highest level of basketball that you can go is just great. It’s an honor and it’s been fun. It’s been hard work, everything is really fast paced, but it’s a good pace. We get in, we get out, we get the work done and we execute. So, it’s been cool, it’s been fun.

Are you excited to travel to Puerto Rico and play in the AmeriCup?
I am tremendously excited to go to Puerto Rico. I don’t want to say it, but it’s the truth. I called my mom and I cried a little bit, because it means a lot to be back here, to be able to play for the country and have those three letters across my chest and represent something great.

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