Additional Quotes >> USA 118, Argentina 81
September 2, 2007 ï¿½ Las Vegas, Nevada
Listen In!!! USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski & LeBron James in the press conference >> Carmelo Anthony >> Chauncey Billups >> Tyson Chandler >> Jerry Colangelo >> LeBron James >> Jason Kidd (bonus track!) >> Mike Miller >> Tayshaun Prince (bonus track!) >> Michael Redd (bonus track!) >> Amare Stoudemire >> Deron Williams
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski
On today's game:
We are proud of the effort our guys gave. I thought the two best teams in the tournament played today against one another. It is always an honor for us to play against Argentina. They play well as a team against anyone in the world. Our guys played well as a team today. Even tough I do not like to single guys out, LeBron's performance today was one of the best ones in an international game that an American player has had. He had a big time, big time performance today.
What are your plans for Beijing 2008?
The committee will choose from a pool of players, the program that Jerry Colangelo put together with USA Basketball. I would think that a lot of players on this team will be on the Olympic team. But the official team will be chosen from the pool of players that we have in this program thus far. This will not be even considered much later.
It is not just what I think will work. We will have to take a look at who we will be going to play and see if the team that we have right now work. Hopefully none of these players get hurt by the end on the year. We will just have to watch their performance throughout the year. The core group of players: Lebron, Carmelo, Kobe, Jason. I think one of the neat things was having Dwyane (Wade) here with us.
What do you think will be the most important thing that you will carry over to China?
Chemistry and the continuity of having players year after year. We all know each other. We have developed friendships and trust, the cornerstones of any successful organization start with those core values. Those are the main things that we will have going forward.
It's like a house that has foundation instead of a house built on poles. You have to give a team or program a foundation. International teams have that because they have that continuity and we're trying to do that in our country. We've learned that from the great performances of the international teams.
You were in Barcelona in 92 with that team as well. Could you compare that team in 1992 with the current USA team?
Well, it was easier for me then because I was the assistant. This experience for me is much better. It is one of those unique experiences of my life. It is a different time. We could win on just talent alone at that time in the history of international basketball, but those days are gone forever. I think that is great because basketball worldwide is becoming the dominant sport and it will only be that way if we have that level of play. Having the team win in that environment is much more difficult.
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
On what to expect from this team in 2008:
I think it was pretty much what you saw in this tournament, if not better. We are only going to get better in the next year. We are looking forward to that.
On the international experience:
I'm tired of bronze, man, I'm tired of bronze. I'm speechless right now. This is my first time ever wining the gold medal. I don't where my '04 one is at. I got one of them at my mother's house and I think my '04 one is at my house.
Where are you going to put your gold medal?
I am going to hang this like as soon as you walk in my house, like by the door. Just hang it up there on the chandelier somewhere.
On the mind-set for tonight:
We thought about it yesterday and we wanted to close it out on a good note. We didn't want to qualify yesterday and then come out and here and lose. Tonight, we had our focus; our focus that we should have. We came in and took care of things like we wanted.
On the USA Shooting:
We shot pretty well this tournament. Myself, Michael Redd, LeBron came in with a couple games especially today he had 8 3's, he was great. He shot the ball very well. Every night, it was somebody different, giving you something different on the court.
Who would you have picked for MVP?
Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
How does this victory feel?
It's a great feeling. This is what we came here for. Not only to qualify for the Olympics but to win it all and being able to do that in front of our fans at home is a wonderful feeling.
Explain the camaraderie on this team
I think our camaraderie is quite naturally a lot better. We had the chance to get to know each other outside of competition. When you start to do that, you start to build a bond. Once you have a bond with the great athletes that we have there is no limit to what we can do together.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Was this experience everything you expected or hoped for?
Yes, it was... and more. Some of the guys were telling me that the teams they kind of had in the past there was never this kind of bond or close relationship. We really have a good time with one another, joking around, and we enjoy each other's company, you know, one through twelve. When you have that it makes the experience much more enjoyable.
Does this team motivate each other?
We push each other all the time, all the time. That's something that doesn't stop. Whether it's halftime, before the game, whatever, we push each other to be the best.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
You do not have a lot of opportunity to play with other international teams very often. Did you learn anything from playing Argentina on the past few weeks?
The best thing that I have learned is how the guys oversee their egos and individual achievements to become a team. We all know that a player like Kobe Bryant leads the league with scoring points every year, and he threw that out the window and deferred to Carmelo Anthony. I think that a lot of guys on our team just threw their egos out the window and came here for one reason and that was to qualify for the Olympics and win a gold medal, and we were able to do that.
Do you think it will be easier for those players fitting in with the foundation that coach just talked about?
I think so. I think the guys who will be added understand that we want to win and that is our single goal. It is not hard to fit in with our team. We have fun; we laugh; we joke around. We are one big family, but we all play hard.
Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets
On going undefeated and winning the gold:
I thought we wanted to win this game; I wanted to be selfish and win every game we played in. But the biggest thing is that we had a mission and a goal and that was to win the whole tournament and we didn't let down once we clinched yesterday. That just shows the maturity and growth of this team in the last few weeks.
On the unselfish aspect of this team:
This team is far from selfish. One of the toughest things that we felt during the first week of camp is that we were too unselfish and nobody wanted to shoot the ball. Once we got to the bigger lights, everybody kind of fell into their role and everybody shared the ball. Everybody touched it. And I think that what was the big difference about this team than maybe the past teams that didn't have the success.
The difference on this team from the past:
We've learned from our mistakes from the past. And we are starting to get guys, the top guys to play again. When you got Kobe and LeBron and Carmelo, these guys are coming during the summer to participate and represent their country. You are getting the top guys. Maybe in the past, we just haven't had the top guys. Now, that the top guys are playing and we are having success, but the big thing is that this is only one step and the world is getting better each day at the game of basketball so we are going to have our work cut out come Olympic time.
On next year's team and if he feared injuries:
That's the key. Now we got back to reality in the sense that we go back to our own teams. You got to stay healthy. You got to be lucky. Because in '04, there were a lot of injuries and a lot of people pulled out because of that. So, it will be interesting. Hopefully, maybe we add a couple pieces with guys that were hurt and then go from there. But, this is a great unit; this is a great team. This team demonstrated the game of basketball the right way.
Mike Miller, Memphis Grizzlies
Explain the unselfishness of this team.
Anytime you have a team as talented as we do, you share the ball and play together, it is going to be tough to beat us. As long as we continue to work on stuff, work on our defense, it will be difficult to beat us. Our defense really controls what our offense does.
With Argentina missing key players, does this diminish the win?
Our job was to come here and beat the teams in front of us. We did that successfully. Next year Argentina will have everybody; all the other teams will have their weapons. Hopefully we can play the same way and win the gold.
Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons
On the tournament:
This is how US Basketball is supposed to be played. We played as a team throughout; we played smart, we played aggressive. We had fun which is the most important thing. But at the same time, Carmelo, LeBron, they got out on the fast break and made Jason Kidd's job very easy. Just getting out and being aggressive. Dwight Howard, Tyson, Amare - those guys controlled the paint. Everybody did what they were supposed to do. Nobody cared what was going on but just having fun. And when things happen like that, everything else kind of takes care of itself.
On the USA 3-point shooting that last two games:
Of course, the 3-point line is smaller but at the same time, we were shooting the ball pretty deep out. They were NBA 3's. To shoot the ball the way we were shooting it, LeBron was coming every day on the early bus getting shots up, extra shots up and it paid off for him especially in the last couple games. Carmelo got hot, Mike Redd got hot, Mike Miller shot the ball real well. But, 40 some 3's in two games, that's remarkable. Obviously, if we shoot the ball that way, it makes it easier for us.
Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
How much of a difference did Jason Kidd make on this team?
Jason was terrific, man, he just played awesome basketball. He was the true engine to our team, the maestro. He got after people and led our team defensively. He was wonderful to have as a teammate.
What was the locker room like?
Well we know the goal is Beijing. We are very grateful, very humble to do what we did and win the way we won. But our goal is to win the gold medal. We will save the champagne for that one.
Amarï¿½ Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
How does it feel?
It feels great to win the gold medal, something we've been preparing for for a long time, you know, through training camp and before as well so it feels good to come out with the gold medal.
This is your first gold medal. Talk about that feeling.
I feel great. I love these guys, I love this coach. We did a great job and now it's time to get ready for next year.
What did you draw out of this experience?
It helped me personally from a defensive standpoint. I threw a lot of head into it to remember the strategy the coach taught me. Coach K stresses defense so I tried to show those skills he taught me to help us win.
In this game, it seems like some of the smaller players have a chance to get a rebound because of the wider range. Is that a fair assessment?
Not necessarily. Dwight Howard did a great job of rebounding. He's not the smallest or quickest guy. I think there's times when guys are able to get more rebounds but it's a matter of knowing where the ball come off and having that aggressive player to come and get it.
Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
What are you going to do with the medal?
I'm going to put it in my trophy room.
How much does this medal mean to you?
We're proud we won this one but this is not the one we're looking forward to. It's the one next year we're looking forward to.
How has this experience been for you?
It's been a great experience. What better way to spend two weeks in the summer than playing against some of the best players in the world and win the gold medal?
SERGIO HERNANDEZ, HEAD COACH ARGENTINA
Since the first time that we placed the United Status in tournament I have said that this is probably one of the best USA team that I have ever seen. It is obvious that nobody will ever forget the original Dream Team with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, but I really like this USA team because they also have players of the same caliber such as Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and others who know how to really play together. They have good chemistry. They play great defense, but the most important thing for us would have to be the great respect they have for all the other international teams here.
I would like to actually take this opportunity to say again, and again what an honor it is to play against them especially because I would rather play against a team who plays hard and can beat me by forty points then one who would just beat me for twenty points. This is what this USA team does. So once again I would like to say thank you for playing strong and serious. It was truly a big pleasure playing against you.
What are your plans for Beijing 2008?
We still do not have any final decisions made for Beijing yet, but the most important thing to leave this tournament with is the fact that Argentina has many doors open. Even though Ginobili and Nociono could not play this tournament, they could always be invited to play with us then. We respect them very much for all the efforts they have done for this team over the past years and we will also respect their rest now. The truth is that it will all depend on the year that they will have. If they are ready to play, we will all play together in Beijing. But once again, it is too soon to tell you who will be on the Beijing 2008 national team.
PABLO PRIGIONI, ARGENTINA
What are your thoughts about the game?
I think it has been a great tournament for Argentina. I think we had a serious tournament. We played well on all games. We took every game as a big challenge. We got to our decisive game against Brazil, and we did great. We were very concentrated, and now we walk out with the qualification for the Olympic Games; which was our goal from the start.
How will your preparations be for Beijing 2008?
We now have a year to work with our own teams. I think the preparation will be the same as we had for this tournament. We will all get together Argentina, and hopefully take our best team possible for China. We will fight just as hard to get that Olympic medal.