USA Quotes >> September 5 Practice
Sept. 5, 2010 • Istanbul, Turkey
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)
Have you gotten out of the past day’s two practices what you wanted?:
Today we had no contact but good enthusiasm, game like preparation and we already started putting in our game plan for Angola. The guys are healthy. I think the two days have helped us and hopefully translate into playing the kind of defense especially that we want to play.
Did you watch last night’s games (Serbia-Croatia and Spain-Greece)?
I think everybody in our group watched the games and they saw a heightened sense of play and emotion. They were both outstanding games and the reality then hits, those two teams that lost, that’s it. So I think it was good for our team to see that because it goes up a couple levels now and we hope that will make us even better.
I saw the Dream Team in Barcelona and that was the ultimate. It’s great to be here in Istanbul, my second time here. I know a lot of the guys on the team, Coach K was gracious enough to allow me to sit in and have breakfast with the team this morning and then practice, so I love it.
Tell us about Kevin Durant:
You can make a strong argument that he is the second best player in the league. I know there might be people who will dispute that, but he’s only 21; you saw what he did; they gave the Lakers all types of fits last year in the playoffs. He’s a great part of this team, responsibilities, scoring … so I’m looking for a huge, huge, huge year for Durant.
You worked with him (Kevin Durant) off the court and he still possesses that humble and youthful…tell us about that:
Very much so. I met his mom this morning at breakfast so you see where it comes from. I think it’s great that a lot of people would have said ‘You know what, Oklahoma City, I don’t know?’ But I think it was a great testament that he said I want to stay there.
Predictions on the 2010 World Championship?
Ah gold! That’s why everybody’s here right? Let people know once again where the game was invented. We know the rest of the world’s caught up, but still, we got this.
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
Thoughts on the boat trip and dinner Saturday night?
It was an amazing opportunity for us. It was great opportunity to just relax for us … for our guests to be a part of. It kind of kicked off the medal round really. It’s big business now. You continue to win or go home so it was a good time, we’re coming together as well as get our minds ready.
What are other fun things you have done in Istanbul outside of basketball?
I went on another boat trip, kind of exploring around … went into the different shopping areas. I also some ate some authentic Turkish food where you sit on the ground and the lady cooked up pitas right in front of us. It was excellent. And, (the food) was actually excellent too, really good food.
What were you looking for while shopping?
Some authentic Turkish jewelry. Some stuff that you can only find here, that they make. It was in little shops where you could tell everything was homemade but really nice.
What do you think of this city?
I love it. It’s huge. It’s bigger than I ever expected. More people than I ever expected. It’s a lot going on in Turkey. A lot of different places in Europe, you have culture, it’s kind of spread out. Here it’s like huge city with a lot of people as well as the culture.
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)
On the team boat trip last night?
On the boat ride yesterday, we had a really good time. It was nice. Families came with us so that was a good moment for all the families to meet up with each other. It was kind of a moment for us to reflect upon that you are here on business but we’re also one big family. It was a good to have that dinner right before we start off the tournament and now it’s time to focus.
What is a good team bonding activity to do that together?
Good for camaraderie … all the guys getting to talk to the parents … talk to their close friends. It’s like we’re all a family. We had a great time and enjoying the experience especially on the boat and then just the actual restaurant being right on the water.
Have you done anything else fun since getting to Turkey?
I went on a boat ride on (Friday). We went past that same place. We got to see all the houses on the water. We had a great time. I’ve been having a good time when I’ve been here.
Looking forward to getting back on the court for a game?
Yeah, yeah. We had two really good days of practice. Everybody is really into it. Tomorrow we just want to show the world that we’re about business in the first round.
What has been the focus of practice the last two days?
Just focusing in. Focusing on the basics. We haven’t had too many practices the last 15 days because of the games we’ve been playing. We’ve got to sharpen up some of the things we got away from over the last two games and be ready for tomorrow.
What did you think of the trip on the boat to dinner last night?
We had a lot of fun. We got to eat at a great spot. Team USA, they do it right … they really do. We got to have some hors d’oeuvres and drinks on the boat. We got to bond as a team. Everybody got to meet each other’s families and all the people they had here with them. Then we got to eat at an island with a couple restaurants on it. I mean, it was top notch. It was a pretty special occasion for me. I had never done something like that before.
Have you done anything else fun since you’ve been in Istanbul?
We went shopping at the Bazaar. I had never seen anything like that either. People were out there … it was like a stampeded with how many people were out there. It was a lot of fun. It was interesting seeing that and kind of sightseeing around the city a little bit. Other than that, just been laying low, resting up and preparing for what lies ahead.
Did you ever go fishing?
Never went fishing. Tyson was trying to set that up. I just don’t think we ended up having time or being able to get time on the boat.
Are you excited to get back on the floor and play a game?
Yeah. Three days off, I think we’re ready for it now. I think we’ll come out tomorrow and hopefully have a great game.
What do you know about Angola?
They’re very athletic. A lot of their stuff is kind of off one on one. We’re going to have to really rebound against them. That’s one thing that we’re lacking on that Coach and the other coaches touched on. Our defense and our enthusiasm is going to have to step up … and use our youth as a good thing.