29 January 2013

2013 FIBA U19 World Championship : Otto and Fall talk on U19 World Champs

Aristide Anselm Otto
Aristide Anselm Otto (CIV) 2012 Afrobasket U18 (Mozambique)
CIV/SEN - Otto and Fall talk on U19 World Champs
ABIDJAN (2013 FIBA U19 World Championship) - Two weeks have passed since the draw for this summer's FIBA U19 World Championship took place in Prague, and the two African contenders - Senegal and Ivory Coast - are positive as well as hopefull that they can achieve some success.
Both teams are debutants in the tournament which runs from 27 June to 7 July in Czech capital city.
Last year's U18 Afrobasket champions Senegal have been drawn in Group C along Serbia, Brazil and Australia, while runners-up Ivory Coast will take on China, USA and Russia in Group D.
Despite the potential gap between them and their opponents, Ivory Coast's Aristide Anselm Otto, a three-point specialist, prefers to see the difference on court.
“These are all great teams, we all know that and respect, but to me, this pool may have some surprises,” he told FIBA.com.
Otto, who plays for Abidjan-based club Eby - started all eight of the Ivorians' games in Mozambique and led last summer’s Afrobasket in three-points, hitting on 18 of 30 attempts for a staggering 56 per cent success rate from the behind the arc.
He averaged 14 points per game and registered three game-high performances, including 18 points in the 71-62 defeat to Senegal in the Gold Medal Game.
Another successful campaign is all Otto hopes for at the World Championship.
“I am not nervous at all,” said the 1.87m point guard, before explaining that he feels “honoured” and looks “forward to defend the colours” of his country.
Despite Ivory Coast’s 5-3 record in Mozambique, the 18-year-old says he and his team-mates will use their athleticism and quick transitions as main weapon against their taller opponents.
“My play style is determination to win and score more points than my opponents,” he explains, adding that his game may one day take him “to the NBA or even become a professional basketball player.”
As for the players who inspire him, there's two of them - "Ivory Coast international Eric Anderson Affi and Dwyane Wade in the NBA,” he said.
Senegal’s reaction
Just like Ivory Coast, Senegal arrived in Mozambique last summer with a modest track record in the U18 continental competition.
However, they turned the odds around to go on and win it all and now head coach Madiene Fall - the mentor of the new African champions - insists that his team must capitalise on although he recognizes a much tougher opposition in Czech Republic.
“It is a difficult group but we are going to the tournament to compete seriously, and not just to make up numbers,” he explained to FIBA.com.
“If we will win many games, I don’t know, but we want to make a good showing.
“We won in Mozambique because we played good defense. If you play effective offensive game it is even better, and we have players with (the) ability to fulfill these tasks,” he said.
The 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship tournament might still several months away, but coach Fall is already working on his team’s preparations.
“We have been working very closely with these young players, and I believe they can compete equally with their opponents (at the world championship)," he explained.
“It will be difficult, but not impossible to win games."
And Fall has plenty of motives to keep a positive speech as he counts on a group of talented players that include Pape Sadiaw Diatta, a high-school player in Florida, Khadim Fall who plays for France Pro-A side Le Mans, Papa Modou Mbaye and Waly Niang, a duo with Spanish giants Real Madrid's U20 team.
Coach Fall is due to travel to Europe and the USA in April to meet up some of his players and their clubs and colleges.
He will do everything in his power to help them succeed.
“From the Afrobasket,” Fall said “I am planning to take six or seven players and strengthen the team with players we could not take to Mozambique.”

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