Additional Quotes >> USA 86, Germany 83
Aug. 22, 2011 ē Shenzhen, China
Matt Painter, USA head coach
The first half you were even with Germany with 14 points each in the paint, but the USA won the battle in the paint 42-26 overall. Was your halftime adjustment to pound it inside?
In the second half I thought our guys did a good job of getting the ball inside and trying to establish Trevor (Mbwake) and JaMychal (Green) on the interior. We thought that could loosen up some things. Obviously their big guys were in foul trouble. We did a great job on the glass in the second half and we did a great job of getting it inside to those two guys.
On Trevor Mbwakeís play inside:
They really fouled him the whole tournament. Heís tough to guard. Heís very strong. We just wanted to keep pounding the ball inside and try to get the ball to the basket as much as we could.
How difficult is it to get up for these last two games when your gold medal goal is out of reach?
Itís very difficult. For these guys, their goal was to win the gold medal. Then after you stub your toe and lose in the quarters, a lot of people would kind of check out and go through the motions. These guys didnít. You have to give them credit for coming out here and winning the fight. We didnít come here to get fifth place, but after you get beat you just come out and do the best that you can. Iím really proud of these guys for fighting these past two games.
Both teams were playing with a lot of pride tonight:
Germanyís a tough, physical team and theyíre well coached. They were undefeated in pool play also, so we knew we were going to have a battle tonight. Our guys did a very good job of focusing on the defensive end and getting a couple of stops there at the end.
What can you as a coach take away from this experience?
Just interacting with guys. Youíre always learning as a coach. Obviously there are different rules and different situations. Youíre always learning something about international basketball. Also, seeing how different guys mesh and how the team meshes. Youíre always putting a team together yourself. So, the one thing we kept talking about was the loose balls, the toughness and the 50-50 plays. When it comes down to it you got to do the little things to win big games.
Ashton Gibbs (University of Pittsburgh)
On tonightís game:
It was very physical. Germanyís a good team and you have to give them credit, they really came out strong. It was a tough battle for us, but we pulled through.
How difficult is it to get up for the final two games after losing in the quarterfinals?
It was tough. It was really tough. Especially after losing a tough one at the end of the game like that against Lithuania. But, we came out strong and it really shows a lot about our character that we can win these last two.
On the USAís inside play in the second half:
That was the game plan. I donít think they really had an answer for JaMychal (Green) and Trevor (Mbwake). We did a good job of feeding them the ball and they did a good job of taking advantage of what the defense gave them.
What did you learn overall with this experience?
Just to play hard. The loss was the big thing, especially since I won the (2009 U19 World Championship) gold medal last time. Itís just something that you have to go through. These last two games really showed a lot about my character as well and I learned a lot from it. You still have to play through adversity. I learned a lot and it was a great experience.
What was it like overall off the court, living in the village and all the other athletes?
It felt really good. It was definitely a different experience and Iím glad I came to China. I got to see a different culture, eat different food, meet different people. Itís something Iíll always remember for the rest of my life.
JaMychal Green (University of Alabama)
On his inside play against Germany:
We did a great job of battling in the post. Trevor (Mbwake) did a great job. We got the ball, made smart plays and thatís what it was all about.
Were you expecting such a physical game?
Yeah, coming in after watching film on them, we saw that they were big in the post. Coach was telling us that they were going to be physical. We were prepared for that.
Both teams were really fighting for the win, with only pride on the line. What are your thoughts on that?
I felt like we were playing for the gold. It was a rough game and we were very competitive. I take my hat off to Germany, they were a good team.
What can you take away from this experience?
The friendships that Iíve made with this team and knowing that the competition level is really good from these different countries.
How will this help you next season?
It just made me a smarter player, especially with the experience and competition level here.
John Jenkins (Vanderbilt University)
On tonightís game:
It was a great game. They really fought hard. We kind of expected them to do that. We didnít really want this. We wanted to get the gold medal. But, after the loss fifth place is something that we really also wanted. So, we wanted to go out there and give it all we had. Thatís what we did and we were able to pull out the win.
What does it say about the teamís character that you finished this tournament out the way you did?
Thereís a lot of pride with our team. We could have easily said Ďwe didnít get the gold medals, so weíre just going to give up.í †We have a lot of good guys who wanted to come through and finish out strong. We were able to do that.
What can you take away from this overall experience?
There are so many lessons Iíve learned here with USA Basketball, being out of the country, playing against different people. I think just competing at a high level with other great players is something Iíll always keep in my mind and Iíll always have with me.
How much will this help you in your upcoming collegiate season?
It will help tremendously. Iím one of the youngest guys here. So, being around older guys, seeing how they lead and how they play hard, how they think itís their last year and they really have to fight hard for everything they have. Itís really showing me that I have to do the same thing.
Trevor Mbakwe (University of Minnesota)
On his play inside against Germany:
We just wanted to win this game. Me and JaMychal (Green) knew that we had to have a big game to give us a good chance to win this game. Coach just told us to be ready, that our time would come, and we were able to have a good game inside.
How important is it to play out the final two games strong?
Itís really important. We werenít going to leave with a medal, but at least we can say we were 7-1. We had a tough loss, but we were able to take care of business in these last two games. At the end of the day itís about pride. Everybody wants to beat the USA. We were representing the USA and we didnít want to lose and leave here 6-2.
On his overall experience:
Itís been a great experience. Iím very lucky to have this opportunity for myself. Coach told always says, itís going to springboard us into our college season. Weíre going to be able to take something we learned from here and be able to use it when we get back home for our college teams. Itís just been a wonderful experience and Iím really grateful to be able to have this opportunity.
How enjoyable was it to be able to play with these guys?
It was really fun. Iím going to miss these guys. We were put together at the last minute. We werenít able to play with each other as much as a lot of these other teams, but itís been great. Weíre like brothers. Weíre going to keep in contact. Weíve all got each otherís contact information and I just had a blast playing with them. Unfortunately we werenít able to bring home the gold medal.