JINAN, China (2nd FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women): China coach Wang Guizhi is a lady of very few words. But each of those is well-measured and well-weighed before being spoken.
The 41-year-old spent a sleepless night after the defeat to Korea – sending tremors of shock in the basketball circles – more worried about on measures to motivate the team to play the bronze medal game.
“They way played today makes me feel optimistic for the future of these girls,” Wang said in a chat with this website after the bronze medal game.
On the defeat to Korea
Well, it just showed any game can be won by team that plays well. And let me candidly confess we didn’t play well. A big part of the responsibility lies on us the coaching staff.
These are youngsters after all. It’s normal that they get carried away by the situation.
Yes, there was a lot of talk of encouragement from everyone concerned about how the team should qualify for the Worlds (a win against Korea in the semifinal would have booked for China ticket to the FIBA World U17 Championship for Women).
That put a lot of pressure on the girls. They were very nervous and it showed on the game.
I still think we the coaching staff should have eased the girls and got them to play the natural game.
This is a bunch of very talented youngsters. I feel really sorry they will miss out on the experience of the Worlds.
On the future of the girls
I am very optimistic. The way they bounced back from the defeat (for the bronze medal game) was very impressive.
It takes a lot of effort to come back from such a shocking defeat. Skill-wise we have a fantastic bunch of youngsters. And I think they showed tremendous character.
Any special players?
Quite a few of them… (Laughs). In fact all of them.
I think Yang Liwei has a great future. She is a rare breed of players who want to lead the team. She is a great asset to any team.
Gong Li and Hu Yueming too have shown great potential.
But let’s not forget this the U16 stage. We might find a few surprises among the others.
S Mageshwaran / FIBA Asia