The U.S. men’s national basketball team arrived in China earlier this week following the conclusion of their exhibition slate in Australia.
Team USA did fall in its second matchup with Australia, but that’s what exhibition games are for. Kemba Walker said earlier this week the loss served as a wake up call, but now he, along with fellow Boston Celtics guard Jayson Tatum, know it’s time to go.
“Yeah, it?s kicked in,? Walker said, per USA Basketball. “Next game we play, it?s for real. It?s the real thing. We?re just focused. We?re locked in and just ready to play.”
Tatum, 21, knows it time to lock in as well, and says that the last month was beneficial for the group’s chemistry.
“It?s go-time now,” Tatum. “This is the real thing. We?ve been together for about a month now, almost a month, we?ve built some chemistry. We?ve gotten to know each other pretty well. Everybody?s just ready for the first game.”
Walker, who was named a team captain alongside Celtics guard Marcus Smart and Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, said much of the same, speaking very highly of Team USA’s chemistry.
“We get along really well,” the former Charlotte Hornets point guard said. “It feels like we?ve known each other for years,? he said. ?But that?s just because of the guys we have ? very high character guys, very passionate guys, guys who wanted to be here for this opportunity. We?re all here for one goal, so it makes it easier for us to get along.”
The trek toward that goal begins Sunday, Sept. 1 at 8:30 a.m. ET when Team USA takes on the Czech Republic.