DeKALB – Summer has become a yearly coach’s version of study abroad for Carol Owens.
This is the third straight year Owens will spend part of her summer in a foreign land, as she’s been a coach with USA Basketball on trips to Argentina in 2008, where she won gold as the head coach of the U18 FIBA Americas championship team, and Slovakia in 2007.
This year, Owens is the head coach of USA Basketball women’s U19 world championship team that will compete at the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship, scheduled for July 23–Aug. 3 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Northern Illinois women’s basketball coach knows what she’ll fit into her one suitcase she’s allowed to bring.
“Mostly it’s our USA Basketball gear and a couple of outfits outside of that,” Owens said. “That’s pretty much it. Two casual outfits.”
She knows what the routine is like.
Travel to Bangkok starts at the home of USA Basketball in Colorado Springs, Colo., with a drive to Denver, followed by a flight to Los Angeles. From there, it’s a flight to Tokyo and finally, 19 hours after the travel day started, touching down in Bangkok on July 18.
There are a few different things this time around, though.
First, Owens will bring one thing that’s quite easy to pack – her Twitter feed.
Since joining the popular social network in early June, Owens said she has enjoyed updating the world with her status and plans on doing it from Bangkok.
“I enjoy Twitter. It’s easy,” Owens said. “You just put out a statement. Facebook, as old as I am, I haven’t grasped Facebook. You guys have a wall and a post and you update your status. But it’s been a good way to connect with old teammates and classmates from NIU.
“But Twitter, that’s my kind of thing.”
Owens also hopes the cuisine of Thailand will become her kind of thing, or at least can measure up to the steak and ribs she enjoyed in Argentina.
“The beef was very good. I had steak a lot. Beef, beef ribs. So they loved that, that was really good. I don’t know how it will be in Bangkok,” Owens said.
“I’ve had Thai food. I don’t know if it’s the same over here or not. That’s always an adjustment.”
Owens said one of her primary concerns is getting her players, which include North Carolina standout Chay Shegog and Connecticut signee Kelly Faris, adjusted to the atmosphere of the 16-team tournament.
“We don’t have that much time to be immature,” Owens said. “They just have to be out there. It’s a different situation. Most of the teams have been competing or practicing for months and we put a team together in a couple weeks, so it’s tough.”
If history is any indicator, Owens should have no trouble with that. She led the U18 team to gold last year, with her team defeating Argentina, 81-37, in the final.
Owens said she’s honored to represent her country again while she leads a team that is favored to win the gold.
“I really appreciate that the USA Basketball staff has the confidence in me,” she said. “But I know that I’ve really enjoyed the experience and it helps that the team has been successful too.”