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Alarie ready to make NBA father proud
UDINE/CIVIDALE DEL FRIULI (FIBA U19 Women's Basketball Worlld Cup 2017) - Bella Alarie was always destined to follow in the family tradition and that will make appearing in the Final of the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup 2017 with the USA even more special.
The Princeton star was encouraged by her father to pick the ball as soon as she could stand upright - if not before. Mark Alarie was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference first team selection at Duke University and played for five seasons in the NBA as well as representing his country.
My dad has coached me and has been my biggest mentor when it comes to playing basketball. We are super close and I feel lucky to be able to get so much advice from him.
"I am so proud of my dad and his accomplishments. It's great to now wear his name across my back on a stage like this," smiled Alarie.
"As early as I can remember, he had me on the court shooting and dribbling. But you find a way to grow an even bigger love for the game when you are also having fun just dribbling around the house. He has coached me and has been my biggest mentor when it comes to playing basketball. We are super close and I feel lucky to be able to get so much advice from him."
"He has been a really tough coach though and has been tough on me when it comes to basketball throughout my life. But, as I have become older and moved on to college, he has stepped back and is turning into more of a fan and carrying out an important supportive role for me," the 19-year-old went on. "He's still there for advice and now I am the one going to him. I am generally straight on to him after most games asking what he thinks I need to work on."
Now a potential gold medal beckons, with Alarie having helped her side edge nearer towards a seventh straight title with some eye-catching numbers and unsurprisingly, having showed nice technical ability which is a product of that longstanding parental tuition.
Russia stand in the way of Alarie adding to the family honors list as USA get ready for a re-match against the team they beat in the title game two years ago in Chekhov.
"I am so excited to have pushed through all these games and to now be able to look forward to the end game is so exciting," enthused Alarie. "We need to start with more energy and we can't afford to show anyone that they are able to hang with us for any length of time.
"We are all getting good minutes and we’re each trying to do what we are good at, for the benefit of the team. As usual, I will try to get as many boards as I can, shoot the ball when open and block some shots - I will look to keep it as simple and effective as I can."
Playing against the best girls in the world is a great opportunity to develop your game and I know that is something which Breanna Stewart for example has talked about before.
Alarie is also acutely aware that she is following in some illustrious footsteps when it comes to the alumni that have donned USA vests in past years and come out with gold medals.
"Playing against the best girls in the world is a great opportunity to develop your game and I know that is something which Breanna Stewart for example has talked about before," confirmed Alarie. "Playing at college is great, but when you come to these tournaments, you see teams that play in a way that you have never experienced before. That is a special experience to have."