“Team Shamrock” has been making quite the impression with the U.S. men’s national basketball team.
On Saturday, Walker, Tatum, Brown and Marcus Smart all made it through the latest rounds of cuts to make the final roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. And that’s tremendous news for the quartet given the experience they are gaining from playing under Gregg Popovich.
Each Celtic described the opportunity to play for the legendary San Antonio Spurs coach to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg.
“It’s amazing. Growing up, you watch Coach Pop and you’ve seen him win championships and you see his interviews and stuff like that. This is an honor, to be able to play for him. I would have come (to Team USA) regardless, no question. But of course, I wanted to play for Pop. Pop is a legendary coach. My ex-coach (in Charlotte, James) Borrego, he came through Popovich and I’ve heard so many great things about Pop from him. So, yeah, this is an honor.”
“It’s amazing. I was lucky enough to play for (Popovich) on the Select Team two years ago and you see a different side of Pop than [during the NBA season],” said Smart. “He jokes a lot and he’s a great guy. And he’s just a guy that you want working.
“I’ve been playing in Boston for my whole career and playing for Brad. (Each coach has) different styles and different techniques so you get a little bit of all three. You can kinda vary and mix those in and learn new things from each and every last one of them.”
“They all have their own style and coaching traits. It’s like different teachers have different ways of explaining and teaching. But playing for Gregg Popovich, I’ll do that any day of the week.”
Thumbnail photo via Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports Images