Welcome to the fourth installment of the World University Games blog on UWBadgers.com. Follow along as Wisconsin video coordinator Matt Ryan takes us along on Team USA’s trip to Colorado Springs and Serbia. Matt, who is the Director of Basketball Operations for Team USA, will bring the inside perspective as only the son of Team USA head coach Bo Ryan can. Check back regularly for more updates from the World University Games.
Blog #4: Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to BLLLAAWWWG #4!!!! Ahhhhhh Yeeeaaay!! Taking it down 400 notches…
Nothing happened, stay tuned for #5. Thank You. I only kid.
I’m writing today’s blog early this morning while watching practice because Coach Ryan is giving me a break from the camera; just shooting and ball handling drills this session before the final scrimmage vs. the U19s tonight. The Big Ten Network has me covered if Coach needs any playbacks. I feel like the Big Ten Network cameras are the redhead from Wedding Crashers (Vince Vaughn’s girlfriend)… “I’ll find you!” They have even filmed me filming; that’s a compliment BTN, covering all your bases. So if anyone at the BTN headquarters is wondering, these guys are doing a great job. (I’m not saying that to get air time but if I don’t… well, I’ll throw a tantrum like the redhead in Wedding Crashers.)
We scrimmaged against the U19’s for a second time two nights ago. The woogies turned things around dramatically starting out the first of four quarters this time, winning by 13. We shot the ball well, moved the ball efficiently and our defense had an intensified edge to it. Immediately, I could see what the players learned from our film sessions (a few players even told Coach Ryan later how beneficial it was), hedging ball screens, high hand pressure on the ball, rotations, help and recover, fronting the post, chasing screens, etc. A lot of things we take for granted when watching the Badgers play. Everything we touched on in film I could notice who picked up on which teaching concept, which is why we just finished another film session this morning. It works.
The next two quarters were similar; the U19’s struggled to figure out how to beat our defensive pressure off the dribble. Our high hand pressure, work in the post and basket protection on the weak side was frustrating to the U19’s. We took a 25-point lead heading into the fourth quarter where we gave a few back, but I think fatigue had something to do with it. I was happy to see three strong quarters out of our guys, but now we need to figure out a way to play 40 minutes the way I know we can.
In the end, we out-rebounded the U19 squad 42-27, out-shot them from the floor 52.3% compared to their 39.7%, and we shot our free throws much better going 24-of-37 from the line. Plenty of room for improvement with this team, but I know we’re capable and that got me excited for our first games in Serbia.
We leave tomorrow, Thursday, morning from the Olympic Training Center at 5 a.m. First, we bus to Denver, then fly to Chicago with an 8:40 a.m. departure time. Next, we fly to Frankfurt, Germany on a 2:30 p.m. flight landing the next day at 5:45 a.m. (We lose eight hours from Mountain Time). Eventually, after a five-hour layover in Frankfurt, we head to our final destination in Belgrade, Serbia, landing at approximately 1:35 p.m. on June 26th.
Sounds fun, I may pull another all-nighter. At least they are showing a movie on the plane to Frankfurt. Really? One movie? If they put it on repeat so help me God…
Deep breaths. Counting to 10.
I’ll keep you updated on our trip details on the 26th; hopefully I can get something posted by then. I’ll let you know what one movie we get to watch.
Hey guys, Serbia huh? Well, see ya later.
A couple random thoughts and events:
1.) I ate at a 5 Guys here, a burger place that we have on State Street in Madison also. I must say, I’m more impressed with Madtown’s. Anyway, Craigers and the U19’s trainer Dan accompanied me before we headed to the USA Olympic offices here in Colo. Springs about 15 minutes from the training center. I told Craigers a joke which made him laugh as he bit into his burger, then stared at him and simply said, “Oh grow up”. He proceeded to choke on his burger from laughter and I realized, Craigers is not kidding. He quickly stood up, I asked him if he was really choking and he nodded yes. He went into the corner to gain his composure and to not embarrass himself but I realized he wasn’t breathing. Dan was randomly talking to a trainer for the Cardinals at a table across from us, and I said, “uhhh, Dan? I think Craigers is really choking, can you like, save his life… cuz I don’t know what to do.” Dan works with Craigers for the Denver Nuggets and they poke fun at each other constantly so Dan says, “Oh he’s fine”, and continued his conversation. Then I panic a little when I realize Craigers is just starting to breathe again, barely. He finally sits down after approximately 20 seconds of not breathing with tears still running down his face and I felt complete relief. Close call. I almost felt like Jerry Seinfeld when he killed that guy at the hospital with his act. Craigers.
2.) Nate, Dan, Craigers and I went back to our favorite joint where teeth are optional, just in time to get the last karaoke song in of the night. I chose N’Sync’s I Drive Myself Crazy and as I take the microphone, Dan decides to join. There were about 20 people left in the bar to witness this atrocious act. I stand next to Dan for the first verse or two, then start following people around the bar singing to them. I got so into it, by the end of the song I was on my knees belting out every last note with my eyes closed. The song ended, I lifted my head up, and there was Craigers and Nate, laughing hysterically. Everybody else must have run for the exit, because they were the only two left. I’m pretty sure some of the workers left early as well so they didn’t have to witness the worst act of the night. I had fun.
Thanks for reading. Check back in when I arrive in Serbia.
Previous W.U.G. Blogs
Blog #1 - Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Blog #2 - Saturday, June 20, 2009
Blog #3 - Monday, June 22, 2009