VILNIUS (Global Games | FIBA U19 World Championship) - Patric Young, the big man of Team USA, feels that the Global Games tournament and the two games against Lithuanian teams have helped the team to understand what the international game is all about.
USA were yet again dominated by the Lithuanians, who were cheered on by over five thousand vocal supporters in Siemens Arena, and lost by a huge 75-108 margin in what was the last preparation game for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Young and his match-up Jonas Valanciunas, the Toronto Raptors draft pick in this year's NBA draft, got into a very physical battle with pushing and grappling at its best. However, the American smiled after the game, saying that it's a physical game and that's how he tried to play it.
We spoke to Young, who played for the Florida Gators in the NCAA last season, about the game against Lithuania, the soon-to-start World Championship and how the USA team has been trying to glue as a team.
FIBA: What was behind the both losses in the Global Games tournament?
Patric Young: We weren't sure what to expect, because European basketball is a lot different than American basketball. It's a lot more physical. You know, we weren't prepared for being called for that many fouls and that really affected us as a team. As we started getting those foul calls, we started breaking up as a team and they capitalised on that by knocking the free throws, they got offensive rebounds. They just took advantage of every opportunity they had against us and they did a really good job as a team.
FIBA: You had a really tough battle going on against Valanciunas. Could you talk about that a little bit?
Young: He's a really good both offensive and defensive rebounder, so I had to really be physical with him. He's a really good guy. We were talking a little bit on the court as well and he told me that out here you have to be really physical, because there's no over-the-back calls. I had to do what I had to do, hold my own ground. He still had 23 points, but I did my best out there.
FIBA: What do you think about your group in the upcoming championship?
Young: I think this a learning curve for us, because we've just been together for a little bit over a week. This loss has helped us to prepare for what's coming up, because we didn't know that European basketball was going to be this way. It's going to prepare us for Egypt, Serbia and China. Hopefully, we'll get another chance to player with these Lithuanian guys to give them a better fight next time.
FIBA: What do you think you need to improve?
Young: We definitely need to improve the fouls, taking care of the ball and executing on offense. Coach was just telling us that there needs to be a sense of urgency every time we're on the court.
There was one time when we were inbounding and nobody came to help our point guard, who was double-teamed. That was a quick five point swing, which really turned the tables against us, as we were on a little bit of a run at that time.
We just need to stay as a team, even though everyone out here was against us. We make a free throw, nobody cheers for us. You just got to stay together as a team.
FIBA: Was the atmosphere something hard to deal with?
Young: You know, being in college for a year, I'm kind of used to it. When you play at Kentucky, where they have 24,000 fans screaming at you and you can't hear yourself think, you kind of get used to that. You have a few fans out there at Kentucky, but there's nobody out here cheering for us. You got to get used to that and block out the crowd.