June 22, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - This summer, sophomore guard Isaac Sosa (Orlando, Fla.) of the UCF men's basketball team has already traveled from Puerto Rico to northern France for an international tournament. His voyages are far from over.
Starting July 2, Sosa and his Puerto Rican teammates will begin play at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. Sosa, who averaged 8.2 points as a rookie this past season at UCF, is no stranger to international competition and traveling to exotic locales. Last summer, he helped Puerto Rico qualify for the U19 tournament. He averaged 13.8 points at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Formosa, Argentina.
Puerto Rico recently finished second out of six teams at the World Juniors Basketball Tournament in mid-June. The event was held in France. Sosa hit three 3-pointers and scored nine points in his team's final contest at the tournament, a 73-59 win over Australia.
Sosa recently took some time to discuss his summer and the goals for Puerto Rico at the FIBA event.
How was the trip to France for the World Juniors Basketball Tournament?
"They city where we competed is called Douai, and is located in the very northern part of France, close to Belgium. We actually flew to Belgium and drove about two hours to get to our hotel. The city was more country-like. I can compare it to Wisconsin; lots of plain fields, farming and agriculture. The neighborhoods were isolated from each other and their houses and small buildings were built in an old-fashioned way. We didn't have a chance to see much. We did have a chance to go to Paris, but it was too expensive - about 60 Euros per person - so they decided not to. Plus some of us, including myself, wanted to watch the NBA Finals."
How often has your team been practicing?
What are the team's plans leading up the FIBA event in New Zealand?
"When I first got to Puerto Rico (after school ended), the team was practicing twice a day during the first week. After that, we practiced once a day and made it a little bit longer. At Douai, we had a shootaround every morning, except one day when we had to play at noon. Our coach decided not to practice because we had played the night before at 8:30 and finished kind of late."
"We are currently in Puerto Rico. We will continue with our practices. We will head to New Zealand on June 24. Our first game is on July 2, but we want to get there early so we can adjust to the time difference, which I think is 16 hours if I'm not mistaken."
How exciting is it to visit locations around the world?
"Besides the fact that I'm representing my own country in worldwide competition, it is also very exciting to visit places I never thought I would ever go to. Our preparation for these competitions starts as soon as we get off the plane - the way we adjust to the time, how we sleep in a place where the accommodations aren't what we're used to, and most of all, eating food that we have never consumed before. All of that determines our success."
What are the team's goals, and your own goals, for the FIBA tournament?
"The team's goal is to win a medal and erase the unfortunate memory of the past group that competed in this tournament two years ago in Serbia and didn't win a game. I was told that the federation here in Puerto Rico didn't want to invest money on the team for this FIBA World Tournament in New Zealand because of what happened two years ago, unless they approved the selection of players and considered it a strong team. So based on that, our mindset is to win a medal. My own personal goal is to improve every weakness of my game, mainly defense, and carry it over to UCF."
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