Jeter In Colorado Springs As Preparations Begin For World University Games
June 18, 2009
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball coach Rob Jeter is now in Colorado Springs as preparations begin for the 2009 World University Games.
Jeter is an assistant coach for Team USA. He, along with team head coach Bo Ryan, fellow assistant coach Frank Haith and 16 collegiate stars, gathered earlier this week for the start of tryouts and training camp.
Twelve players will be selected by the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Committee to represent the USA in the games, scheduled for July 2-11 in Belgrade, Serbia.
For Jeter, the opportunity to be an assistant coach on the international level is a great one.
"It's a tremendous honor to represent the United States at this level," Jeter said. "This was the Olympic team before the pros started playing. Plus, you get a chance to be around some really great coaches, so it is a great learning experience."
This week's practices - which in some cases are taking place twice a day - will trim the squad down to the 12 who will make the trip overseas. With all of the talent on hand, the process won't be easy but involves plenty of voices.
"Obviously as coaches we have input as to who will be on the team, but there is a committee," Jeter said. "Ultimately, that committee will select the 12 guys that will represent the United States. We just have to do our part in evaluating the young men and allow them to showcase what they can do so we can put the 12 best guys together that will help us win."
From there, the coaching staff will have precious little time to get the team prepared for the World University Games. In all, it is roughly two weeks from when players will have reported to Colorado Springs to when the team will board a plane for eastern Europe.
"A lot of it is trusting these young men are in shape and ready to go," Jeter said. "You know they are all coming from great programs, so they are set fundamentally and basketball is important to them. It is just a matter of giving them a plan and I am sure Coach Ryan and the rest of our staff will have a plan that will make us successful."
Then there is the behind the scenes work the coaching staff and the staff of USA Basketball has to be prepared for a wide variety of opponents. Twenty-six teams are in the competition, and the U.S. has been drawn into a preliminary group with Korea and Finland. The Americans will open play July 3 against Finland before playing Korea July 4. If the U.S. can win those two games, it would play a second-phase contest against Greece, Australia or the hosts from Serbia.
Jeter says the staff will be leaning heavily on those with experience in the international game to provide plenty of insights on what the Americans will face.
"With USA Basketball, there is a network of people that has been exposed to this kind of basketball and is aware of what we can expect," Jeter said. "There are always former players who have played overseas you can lean on, too. I've been talking to Joah Tucker, Dylan Page, Paige Paulsen, Chris Hill and other guys that have been around this summer, talking to them about the style of play and what you can expect. It's like any other kind of scouting - you gather as much information as you can and then we'll get a chance to see some of these teams live before we play them, too."
So that means an early summer full of exciting and new work for Jeter, who will try to help the U.S. its 14th men's basketball gold medal in this competition against what should be very stiff competition.
"I'll say this - it is going to be tough to beat Serbia in Serbia," Jeter said. "It's difficult because Bo has been in Madison, Frank has been down in Miami and I've been in Milwaukee, and we've all begun our camps and been taking care of other things. Now, as we get to Colorado Springs, it is all USA Basketball. We can get that tunnel vision on our opponents and what we need to get done."