By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Maurice Ndour is gearing up for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. After being named in Senegal’s 12-man squad for the tournament set to take place at China, the 27-year-old forward talked to FIBA about his goals underlining that he aims to help his national team punch a ticket for the 2020 Olympic Games. Lithuania, Australia and Canada are Senegal’s opponents in the first round of the World Cup.
“Despite some challenges we have been through in the past couple of weeks, we are in good spirits individually and I feel that everybody on our team is ready for the tournament to start” said the new Valencia player. “Everybody knows that this is the toughest group in the entire tournament, but we’ll focus on producing our best performances.”
“We are used to being counted out by other teams and we are used to being the underdogs. We have been in this situation before, but other teams will need to be better than us on the court. I am sure those games will go down to the wire” he added. “At the end of the day we are all professional basketball players, the rankings don’t matter. Canada, Australia and Lithuania are incredibly good teams.”
“We are a group of 12 competitors and that includes a few young guys who haven’t played at the World Cup before. And for the youngsters on the team they will have a lot to learn from this World Cup, which will prepare them for next big tournaments such as the 2021 African Championship or Olympic Games” he further explained.
“I salute coach ‘Tapha’, and I am sure he will do his best. It’s not an easy scenario for him being appointed at last-minute” he mentioned. “In the back of our minds we all want to have a good tournament, go as far as we can. We don’t promise the Semi-Final, but we are going to do everything in our power to finish as one of the top teams in the World Cup and, obviously, we want to continue that in the Olympics next year.”
At high-school, Ndour played at Japan building his way towards his professional career and his NBA and EuroLeague stints. “I hope to go to the Olympics in Japan where I played high-school and link up again with my former teammates, coaches and professors” he said.
“My role as the national team captain is quite significant but it will be even more when I will be able to change things. I want to help the players focus and perform better by working towards putting them in the best conditions” he pointed out.
Before rounding up his interview: “People tend to perform when they are working in happy, stable and stress free environment. It’s not the two-hours practice that’s important, but it’s how you approach practice and the things you do to get your body and mind ready for it. Same goes as a team.”