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Basketball - 19. December 2007.

CHN/AUS - Maher's 'great ride' in women's basketball (Part II)

As you might expect, it meant changes on and off the court for Maher and his family.

Here is Part II of his interview with Jeff Taylor on behalf of fiba.com.

FIBA: What have you been able to do away from basketball in China? Do you have favorite tourist spots, and restaurants - speaking of which, what is your favorite food over there?

Tom Maher: "Food is a big hobby of mine and there are many great places to eat in Beijing. I have had many wonderful meals, but Beijing Duck is still my favorite. Also, the Sushi is great in China."

FIBA: Did you and your family move to Beijing and if so, what has that experience been like?

Tom Maher: "Yes my family all moved to Beijing. My two children go to an international school here. I think one of the best parts of my coaching career has been the fact that my children have had a chance to travel (and live in) a variety of different countries."

FIBA: I seem to remember you saying at the last Olympics that you felt the Chinese may have practiced too hard and for too many hours. Is that right and have you changed that?

Tom Maher: "China has a tradition, not just in basketball, of committing itself to outwork its opposition. This is not always the most productive method, especially in a dynamic game like basketball. We have tried to change the philosophy of training from one of high volume to one of dynamic intensity."

FIBA: What was it like coaching Washington in the WNBA? What did you like and dislike, and did anything surprise you about the players, coaches or clubs?

Tom Maher: "It was a good experience although it was difficult. We had a very difficult playing roster problem which needed a long term approach. Nevertheless I met some good people and certainly valued the experience."

FIBA: Even though you no longer coach Australia, did you take a lot of pride in your country winning the gold medal last year in Brazil at the FIBA World Championship for Women?

Tom Maher: "Of course."

FIBA: Regarding China, what can you tell us about the make-up of your team? Who can we expect to be the standout performers next year at the Olympics and are there any youngsters coming through who could make an impact?

Tom Maher: "Our biggest problem is the health of our players. Although we have a lot of people playing basketball, we don't have a lot of depth of quality, therefore we cannot afford to be without any of our main players. Chen Nan, Miao Lije, Bian Lan and Song Xiao Yun are all players capable of impressing at the Olympics."

FIBA: And finally, the United States, Australia, Russia and Brazil have been the powerhouses in the world game in recent times. Is that about to change?

Tom Maher: "Certainly the USA, Russia and Australia are all super teams; the question mark will be how Brazil adjusts to a number of their older players retiring."  

FIBA: Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts with us.


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