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Francis GREG (Canada). Fourth 1/4 final game of the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship, Auckland, New Zealand. 10 July 2009.

AUCKLAND (FIBA U19 World Championship) – Canada finished their campaign with an 82-74 win over France to claim 7th spot at the FIBA U19 World Championship. Their coach, Greg Francis, spoke to Paulo Kennedy from www.fiba.com about the experience.

If you had been told before the FIBA U19 World Championship that Canada would finish seventh, would you have taken that result?

I am happy with the result, but I knew that if this team came together as a team, a strong unit, I knew that on any given night they could have beaten any of the other teams.

You must be happy with the way your team improved, and fought out some close games.

They really battled. Against Croatia, who I think are a very strong team, we played well to have a chance to win. We came out on the wrong end. But then we had the chance to play France who are another strong team and we pulled that one out.

We had some tough results but I think for the most part the guys battled and were in every single game, except maybe the first night against Australia.

Your players have played against some styles of basketball they have probably never seen before, what do they learn from a tournament like this?

The biggest thing for our team is the amount of teamwork that goes into winning these games.

I come away being very impressed with Australia. They have some good talent but you look at the teamwork they put out on the floor, it always gives them a chance to win and gave them a chance to win this tournament, and I think our guys have seen that.

In North America we have the one-on-one style of basketball, but our guys learned that if you don’t play like a team you have no shot. I think it took us a couple of games to learn that but our guys are seeing what it takes.

What is it like for you to coach your country at a world championship?

It’s been a great ride for me. This is my second world championships and there was a time when Canada rarely qualified for world championships. To get a chance to go twice in a row and get better and improve, it makes me hopeful that we will be playing in games like tonight (medal games). It’s a process, but the process has been very rewarding.

Paulo Kennedy


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