The tournament featured international teams from Taiwan, Korea, Qatar, Australia, Philippines, Kazakhstan, India, and Samara (Russia). The United States representative in the tournament was Athletes in Action who were coached by former St. John's and George Washington coach Mike Jarvis.
TheRedMenace.com had a chance to speak to UNM's Daniel Faris about their trip to Taiwan and the upcoming basketball season.
#53 Daniel Faris
Obviously traveling abroad would be a great experience for anyone and the opportunity to and yes I'll quote Star Trek here… "Seek out new worlds and new civilizations." Would get anyone fired up right? "I had mixed feelings because I was going to be spending time away from my family," said Faris. You had to enjoy yourself though right? "It was so much fun and an amazing experience."
Now unfortunately for Faris he was injured early in the tournament. "Yeah, I rolled my ankle in the 4th game so I only got to play a few games," said Faris. Many Lobo fans were concerned as that news came from Taiwan as many people are expecting big things from the former Eldorado Eagle… "I'll be okay," says Faris. "I've been rehabbing and will be playing again on Wednesday."
Still you played 4 games of international ball did you notice any differences in the way the games were played in Taiwan compared to those here in the US? "The Asian teams shoot a lot of threes. Korea shot 45 3's against us it was ridiculous," said Faris. And how did those 4 games help your game if indeed it did? "I learned a lot because every play in that game was the same, no matter how tall they were, they shot faked and if it wasn't there, just drive and kick. It made me move my feet a lot more and made me get out more and guard quicker guys."
Daniel you were also out there with teammate Tony Danridge. How did Tony do? "Tony played amazing. Absolutely amazing!" exclaims Faris. "He was aggressive the whole tournament and that was the biggest key for him as he could do whatever he wanted out there."
For those of you that aren't aware, TheRedMenace.com had been allowed prior to Daniel and Tony's trip to Taiwan to go out to the "Davalos Dome" and watch the current players play a little shirts and skins out there sans coaches. There was no coaching going on, just some good ol fashioned black top hoops. We spoke with Daniel about some of his current teammates and his game about these games.
Daniel we've been out to the Tow Diehm to watch you guys run some shirts and skins and we've noticed that you seem to be filling out and look stronger is this true? Have you put on more weight? "I've put on 20 since HS. I feel a lot stronger in my legs and my upper body is stronger but I've got a long way to go," replied Faris. With people getting to see you play many people are expecting big things from #53 this year. So we asked Daniel what he expected from himself and what his goals were for the upcoming season.
"I hope I can play a big role. I want to be a major contributor to this team. My role I think this season is make open shots when I have them, get rebounds, post up strong, set good screens, and get the scorers the ball," said Faris.
While it isn't a controlled scrimmage and there aren't any coaches in the area to teach or critique we asked Daniel about a couple of players on this year's team and since he is a "big" we asked him about his fellow "bigs."
Derek O. with the Big
Derek O. with the Big Dunk!
Derek Oestreicher and Sean Imadiyi- "They are pretty good, but young and they remind me of myself last year being a little nervous. They are good players that have a lot of skill and I think they can help us out a lot this year."
From the young guys to one of the 2 seniors this year… Aaron Johnson.
"Aaron Johnson is a monster. I'm blessed to have him on this team. He gets me better each and every day. If you go soft in the lane you're not going to make it because you hit this enormous body. Playing against him…it's the best thing that ever happened for me."
TheRedMenace.com would like to thank Daniel Faris for his time and wish him well for the upcoming season.