Tobias & Victor Reflect on USA Experience
Orlando Magic men Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo are done with their stints in Las Vegas. The two 22-year-old players had very successful weeks helping Team USA prepare for the FIBA World Cup. Both men were able to reflect on their outstanding learning and practice experiences before embarking once more on their separate preparations for the upcoming Magic season. All quotes produced are courtesy of OrlandoMagic.com’s John Denton.
“Being around these guys, who are some of the best players in all of the world, and seeing how focused and serious they are in everything that they do, that’s something that I can learn from,’’ Oladipo admitted. “Every drill, every practice, every scrimmage these guys are locked in and pushing each other. That’s the way I want us to be with the Magic next season – pushing each other so hard to make ourselves better individually and as a team.’’
“No question, that’s everyone’s dream when they grow up. I’ve always wanted to be a part of USA Basketball and I look forward to the opportunity to play for my country one day,’’ Oladipo said. “But my focus is to just keep getting better and put our Magic team in a position to win more games next season. And if I keep getting better maybe someday I can reach that (Olympic) goal.’’
“To be on this Select Team and to be a part of this whole USA Basketball scene it shows me that I’m not far from where I need to be as a player even though I still have a lot of growth to make,’’ said Harris, a three-year pro who only recently turned 22 years old. “To learn from Mr. (Jerry) Colangelo, Mike Krzyzewski, Coach (Tom Thibodeau) and Monty Williams – they are all people that I have learned things from. You can never stop learning. I take it all as a big-time learning experience, but at the same time it’s quite surreal for me.’’
“The respect of being chosen here shows my hard work and professionalism is not taken for granted,’’ an emotional Harris said. “For me as a basketball player, it’s about continuing to get better and continuing to grow. The biggest thing for me is winning and helping my (Magic) team to win.”
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose continued to give out more high praise for Oladipo.
“I didn’t know he could play like that, man,” Rose said. “He’s ballin’ out here. I think he caught my attention a little bit, but like I said, all the other players they did, too. But he caught my eye a little bit.’
The actual 19-man Team USA roster as well as Mason Plumlee will be playing a blue-white USA Basketball Scrimmage in front of a packed Thomas & Mack Center crowd in Vegas on Friday as ESPN will have the live broadcast of the event at 9 p.m. EST. Tickets for the game are only $10.
Following the Las Vegas camp, selected team finalists will have a 12-day break before heading to Chicago for training Aug. 14-15 and an exhibition against Brazil at the United Center on August 16th. The American squad will continue its preparations Aug. 18-22 in New York, and play a pair of exhibition games at Madison Square Garden, Aug. 20 against the Dominican Republic, and August 22nd against Puerto Rico. Team USA will complete its exhibition tour in Gran Canaria, Spain. Training Aug. 24-25, the U.S. will close out the tour on August 26th facing Slovenia. Conducting a basketball clinic for youth on Aug. 27 in Dakar, Senegal, the USA team will complete its training for the FIBA World Cup Aug. 28-29 in Bilbao, Spain, the site of its World Cup preliminary round play.
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