Additional Quotes >> USA 82, China 66
July 2, 2011 • Liepaja, Latvia
USA Head Coach
Opening comments on the game:
I thought China fought very hard today. We played pretty well in the first half, but they continued to battle and got themselves right back into the game and made it a three point game going into the fourth quarter and they tested us. These type of games, these type of situations, are only going to help us get better. We’ve been together since the 19th of June practicing and each of these games has helped us make steps forward, and we’re going to continue to play better.
Talk about the defensive effort tonight, you limited China to just one 3-pointer and only 15 attempts:
Our defensive effort was pretty good. We felt like they’re a team that relies on threes and can stay in the game with the three. So I felt we accomplished that goal. We had that little stretch in the third quarter when we turned the ball over six times because they just got more physical and a little more aggressive than us and we didn’t respond well. But I was pleased the way we responded in the fourth quarter. We got back to attacking the basket, taking care of the basketball and continuing to defend the 3-point line.
What was the difference in fourth quarter, was it just playing more physical?
Yeah, matching their physical play and not settling for jump shots.
You’ve won three games in three days and advance to the second round. What things would you to see improvement?
I think we’ve got to be more consistent offensively and stay away from those stretches where we’re soft with the basketball and we just become a jump shot shooting team with hands in our face. When we attack the basket and execute our screening action we’re going to get drives into the paint, which will make the defense have to figure out how they’re going to play us – are they gonna take away the drive which should open up threes and if they try and take away the threes we should be able to attack the basket and attack the rim
What things does your team need to improve on in the next round?
We’ve got to be more consistent on the defensive end. We’re a good basketball team when we defend, limit people to one shot and get out in transition. In the third quarter I thought China did a great job of being physical, forcing us into turnovers, and they attacked the basket and we settle for jump shots. Those type of stretches have to be eliminated.
What do you think so far about the competition here at the U19 World Championship?
It’s outstanding. The thing I’m most impressed with, this is the first time I’ve been involved in a world championship, is people play hard. People have a lot of pride and no matter the score, no matter what their record, people just come out and compete every single second. I think it’s a great lesson for our guys when they go back to college next year and Jahee Carson goes to college next year, I think he’ll understand how important it is to compete every possession
What are you focusing on contributing to this team?
Experience, although we all have one year of college experience except for Jahii (Carson) and Tony (Mitchell), and the willingness to work hard and a little bit of leadership. I don’t think I have many responsibilities on court other than playing hard, contributing to my team and just helping where need be.
There’s an abundance of scoring on this team, so other things become important:
I’ve learned while playing at Villanova, it’s the little things that get you on the court, whether it be rebounding, steals, taking charges, making the right pass, being in the right position. Just the little things are important when you have other people that take the roles of scorers, setting the plays up….you have to find where you fit in.
The team has won three games in three days and now heads into the second round, what things does it need to improve on?
The turnovers, transition defense and you can always rebound better.
China made just one 3-pointer tonight, that was obviously a point of emphasis. Can you talk about the defensive effort?
I think we all play well. We chased them off 3-point line. After the game where they took 47 threes, to allow them to make just one is great defense against a good shooting team.
Mainly throughout the whole game coach was telling us we’re a defensive team, we’re a team that gets it out and runs. There was a stretch in the third quarter where they made a run and that was probably the quarter where we struggled, but coach told us to keep our heads and just keep playing our game, keep getting stops and running the floor.
Talk about your contributions today:
I was very satisfied with my performance today. During the tournament Coach noticed that my demeanor wasn’t really up to par, how it was suppose to be. We sat down and talked yesterday and he told me ‘just let that come to you and just be patient and do the things in the tournament I’ve seen you do.’ Today I listened to his words and tried to contribute and help my team win.
Can you compare the competition level between the NCAA Final Four and here?
It’s definitely a lot different because in the Final Four you do have some really good competition, you’ve got the best teams in the country playing against each other. But then coming here overseas you’re playing pretty much against the best teams and best players in the world. These guys have earned their way through tournaments just like the Final Four, they’ve won big tournaments in their countries and they’re representing their countries trying to take home the gold medal. So every game someone is giving you their best shot, and that’s going to continue to happen until the final game.