Additional Quotes >> USA - U.S. Virgin Islands
June 20, 2012 ē Sao SebastiŠo do Paraiso, Brazil
Billy Donovan, USA head coach
For the teamís first game, were you please and what did you like?
I thought we got much better in the second half. I thought we took advantage of our frontcourt players. In the first half we turned it over a little too much, but we did a great job getting to the free throw line, we went to the free throw line 33 times in the first half. The problem was we only converted 16-of-33, we left a lot of points out there. But I thought as the game started to unfold we did a better job of recognizing that we had a huge advantage up front and I thought Shaq Goodwin, Jarnell Stokes, Montrezl (Harrell), all those guys did a nice job finishing around the basket.
How much of the second halfís excellent play was due to everyone relaxing, settling in a little bit?
I think it was. I also think too the thing that helped was we fouled too much in the first half which slowed the game down, allowed them to score points from the free throw line instead of making them score, and then I thought when we played zone in the second half we didnít allow them to shoot any free throws with a bonus situation because we never over the limit and that was key. And then we were able to rebound and run and get out on the fast break.
What about your pressure defense, it seemed to disrupt thing for them.
I think itís going to be good for us. I think our guys have to have a better understanding of fouling 60, 70 feet from the basket and putting whoever weíre playing one possession closer to shooting free throws. I thought in the first half the game was choppy because we fouled too much.
You said earlier you thought defending the three and offensive rebounding would be keys.
We offensive rebounded well, the biggest thing was we gave up too many 3-point shots in the first half. They took 15. A lot of times I donít look at the percentage, I look at how many shot theyíre getting up. 15 3-point shots in the first half is a lot, weíve go to do a better job of closing out the shooters.
Shaq Goodwin (Southwest DeKalb H.S./Decatur, Ga.)
Talk about the game you had today, you seemed to really get things going the later part of the first half and on through into the second half.
I think the chemistry really just built up towards the second half. I knew our guards weíre going to push it so I basically just have to run the floor and they put me in the best position to score.
How important is it to make the inside presence felt right away?
Itís very important because basically we set the tone and once we make our present known that sinks the defense so it helps make our shooters open.
How important is defense going to be for this team?
Defense is probably the most important factor seeing how we have one of the biggest back courts, like Jake Layman and Jeremy Grant at 6-8 playing on top of the press, they help us a lot because of their length.
Did you realize you were 12-of-12 from the field and 6-of-6 from the foul line? Do you remember ever having a game like that before where you just werenít missing?
Iíve never had a game like that before and I didnít realize (perfect shooting) it (tonight). I was just playing basketball, I donít know, I was just at the right place at the right time.Ē
Jake Layman(King Phillip Regional H.S./Wrentham, Mass.)
You brought good energy into the game, talk about getting this first one under your belt.
The first half we played okay, but then in the second half we came out and really pushed the ball hard and we threw it inside a lot where we needed to throw it and it worked for us. It was a great first game, then we have Mexico tomorrow and that should be fun.
How important is it to get the rebound and get out and run.
Thatís our key to winning right now. Just getting out on the break, running our right lanes and having out post run down to the post, and making good passes and making the simple plays.
Did you feel like the USA played pretty solid defense all the way?
We definitely played solid defense all the way through, all 40 minutes, so yeah it was a solid win.
Jarnell Stokes(Tennessee/Memphis, Tenn.)
How did it feel to get out there and get the first win?
It felt good, that was a very scrappy team, but they were smaller then us and I think we used our size against them well and that was really the key to the game, pounding the ball inside.
How important is it going to be for this team to get the ball inside and establish inside dominance?
Itís going to be very important because weíve got a lot of inside guys, weíve also got offensive rebounders, and guys who can make shots, but they really werenít need this game. But itís very important.
How important is it for this team to get rebounds so it can get out and run.
It is obvious that was one of the keys to the game. We definitely killed them on rebounding. I think in the first five minutes they didnít even pass half court but one time. We definitely had size on them and thatís why we went to the press and we also went to the glass.
How important is it for this team to continue to improve each game?
We know the next game will be harder. Weíve now been scouted so guys will probably go zone on us, or look to double the post. But guys just got to make shots.
Rasheed Sulaimon (Strake Jesuit College Prep/Houston, Texas)
Talk about getting this first game under your belt.
It was great. Weíve been looking forward to this day for a long time. Weíve been working out really hard. W started a little bit slow, but once we got into the groove we just really started having fun out there. We were executing all the coachesí plans, and we had a lot and I thought we did really well.
The USAís pressure seemed to get to them, how important is that pressure going to be for the U.S.?
Itís going to be very important. Our game plan is to get out and run, force the team to get rattled and force turnovers and get out on open and easy breaks. I thought we did a better job of that in the second half, and it kind of showed. They only scored I believe 18 points in the second half to our 57, and I think we took a step in the right direction with this game.
How happy were you with your performance?
I think I just need to continue to bring energy. I like the fact that I went out there and played hard, I took as couple charges and you know the coaches really like that. One thing everybody has to focus on in this tournament is we have to make sacrifices. So maybe weíre used to scoring a lot more, but like I said, taking charges or making the extra pass here we might have to do it for the greater good of the team.