On The Road With Coach Graves: USA Basketball Blog 1
SPOKANE, Wash. – This summer, Gonzaga University women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves will once again represent the United States of America as an assistant coach of the USA Basketball Women’s U19 Championship Team. Graves and the squad will go for gold at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women held in Klaipeda and Panevė˛ys, Lithuania, July 18-28. During his month long adventure with the U19’s – which kicked off July 1 in Colorado Springs, Colo., with training camp - Graves will blog and give Gonzaga fans an inside look into coaching for USA Basketball. With his impeccable wit that shines through in his blog, you won’t want to miss one!
On The Road With Coach Graves – USA Basketball Blog 1 (July 7, 2013)
We are just about to complete our first week of training tonight with a scrimmage against a very good local men's team here at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. It's been an amazing but tiring week so far but I've been so impressed with this group of talented young women. I'm becoming a better coach just by being around them each and every day. Their level of commitment to USA Basketball and to each other is incredible--each one sacrificing much of their coveted summer to represent our country in the U19 FIBA World Championships in Lithuania later this month.
For the second summer (we all coached together in the FIBA U18 qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico winning gold last summer), I am working with head coach Katie Meier from University of Miami and Nikki Caldwell from LSU. We have a lot of fun together but I think our strengths are varied. I love a lot of Kate's offensive philosophies and I'm learning a ton about defense from Nikki. Still trying to figure out what I'm giving the group (besides height and too much weight) but together I believe we are a very compatible and strong group.
The days often seem like a repeat of the day before (I'm reminded of the movie "Ground Hog Day") as we practice in the morning for a couple of hours and then back for practice each evening for a couple of hours. In between sessions its practice preparation, a walk or bike ride (breathing harder because of the altitude) and perhaps a quick nap. Dinner is usually with the entire USA Basketball staff who are committed, organized, and simply amazing. Along with Nike, I've never been around a more efficient organization.
Two more days of training and then it's off to the Canary Islands for three games against Spain, Australia, and Canada where I will get to coach against our newest Zag, Emma Wolfram. Looking forward to seeing her and her family as well as finally playing against teams who we will perhaps be competing against for a World Championship gold medal very soon.
I miss my family immensely and think of them often but I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing right now. With the 4th of July just passed, it's an honor to be representing our country.
I'll catch up with you all soon from the Canary Islands. In the meantime, "GO USA!!!"
You can also follow Coach Graves on twitter at www.twitter.com/kgzag and get all the latest news about the Zag women’s basketball program on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ZagWBB or on twitter at www.twitter.com/ZagWBB.