Donewald cooking something special for 2012 Olympics

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China's basketball coach, Bob Donewald Jr, says he is making a cake for the 2012 Olympics in London and everyone still needs to wait to see if it is a delicious one.

"It's like making a cake. Right now, we are just getting the mixture right. We are putting them in the oven and getting ready for two years' time," the American said after China was eliminated 78-67 by Lithuania in the last 16 of the FIBA World Championship here on Tuesday. "After two years, you pull it out and see if it is a really good cake. That's what this tournament means to me."

Donewald is confident the mix is right for a team that played without superstar center Yao Ming. The side showed some impressive moments against powerhouses like Greece, Russia and Lithuania.

China managed to hold on until the final minutes during its opening match against Greece.

During Tuesday's game against 2003 European champion Lithuania, the side got off to an outstanding start and even held a surprising 22-17 lead after one quarter.

It only trailed by three points going into the second half and gave its high rated opponent a scare in the final quarter before going down 78-67.

"It was a great game for us. We are building up a new team and moving forward," Donewald said.

"We should keep heading on as we are learning more and more about defense and offense. Our aim is 2012. I think we cultivated some great things this week. We are on the right path."

The young team's fighting spirit and energy also convinced the Lithuanian coach China will be a dangerous team in the not-too-distant future.

"We were lost in the first two quarters," Kestutis Kemzura said. "My players were lost while China hit threes and played with energy in both offense and defense.

"China showed it could be a great team. It has got the size. It showed it has great potentional to be a dangerous team, although it is not that dangerous right now."

Donewald brought the tournament's youngest team to Turkey, with seven of the players making their debuts at the Worlds.

Although some of them only managed to get a few minutes on court, Donewald was still happy with the learning experience they received.

"Our young boys got confidence and experience from the losses," he said. "These are the two biggest factors for a young team. Every time you play against a better team, it becomes easier next time."

Donewald's efforts were lauded by chief official of the sport's governing body. "The mental quality we showed in this tournament is very good," said Hu Jiashi, deputy director of the Basketball Administrative Center. "Bob did a great job in adjusting the mindset of the young players. Everyone fought hard whether we played against a strong team or had to catch up from behind.

"Although we played without Yao Ming, our defense and offense moved up to a higher level than we had four years ago."

But facing the increasing level of the world's top teams like the United States, Spain, Brazil and Turkey, Donewald knows China still has a lot of work to do.

"As a coach, you will never be satisified because we know where we want to be," he said. "I'm happy and proud, certainly. Satisfied? Not yet. Ask me when I'm in London."

Like making a cake, Donewald said it's not ready yet.

"We are not cooked yet," he said. "I would like to get to a certain point when I'm cooking and then I can get pretty frosting on that thing. But we are not there yet."

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