Additional Quotes >> USA 126, Canada 78
June 20, 2009 - Mendoza, Argentina
USA head coach Don Showalter (Mid-Prairie High School, Iowa)
On tonight's game:
We played pretty well at times in the first half. Then we let it slip a little right before halftime. We came in and challenged the kids a little bit. We told them â€˜this isn't the way you want to represent USA Basketball. This isn't the way you want to represent yourselves.'
We didn't change things so much in the second half, we just needed to take our level up a little bit. I think our kids did that tremendously. I think Canada only had five points until the end of that third quarter. It was really impressive. The kids rose to the challenge. They hate to lose and they want to win the right way. You saw that in the third quarter and then we had a good fourth quarter, we played the same way. We also had kids come off the bench like L.J. Rose and Justin Anderson, who didn't play much until the last five minutes or so, but they came in with the mindset and the thought process that they were going to contribute to this win and they did.
You've checked off the first goal and now you're playing for the gold medal:
Obviously the first goal was to qualify for the World Championship and we did that. Now we've got the gold medal game. That's obviously a huge goal for us. I think our kids will be ready.
Canada had some confidence heading into halftime. Was that a concern for you?
Absolutely. We told the kids that. We had them down by about 20 about midway through the ?? quarter and they came back to cut it to nine. It's a big concern for us because they were out of the game and now they were thinking, â€˜hey, we're back in it.' Three more threes and it's a tied game. We told them that the first few minutes of the third quarter is going to determine what's going to happen in this game. It's either going to be a close game the whole way or we're going to win pretty easily. In the first the first three minutes, that's pretty much what happened.
Were you pleased with the overall team effort:
Yes. If you look at the stats we had 17 assists and only nine turnovers. That's pretty good. Our goal is to have at least one assist for every turnover, so that's pretty good. Quinn had five assists, Sterling had three assists, James McAdoo had three assists. We're distributing the ball pretty well. By the same token, we're making shots. You don't get assists unless you're making shots.
Obviously Argentina, playing on their own court in the gold medal game, is going to be good. They're going to press. They're going to make about five or six passes, reverse the ball well and get an open three or an inside basket. They're pretty disciplined. We hope we can use some of our athletic ability to take some of that away from them.
Quinn Cook (DeMatha H.S. / Bowie, Md.)
On tonight's game:
It was good because the first half was our first time facing adversity. We've been blowing teams out by 30, 40, and we were only up by nine at halftime. Coach got on us and expected the leaders to take their role. That's what we did. We played defense, we knocked down shots and we were able to come up with the win.
Was your defense a little lax in the first half?
Yeah, we got lazy. We were playing good, up by 20. Then we made some subs and got kind of chill. We can't do that against a good team like Canada. We know what we did wrong and we won't let it happen again.
We need to just play USA Basketball. We like to run, play defense, we can shoot the ball. We need to just play. I don't care who we're playing. If we go out there and play our game we can beat anybody.
Did Canada seem a little shocked by the way you played in the third quarter?
Yeah, because we were more aggressive. We were communicating on defense. We were talking more and getting open looks. We were also getting rebounds. So they were a little stunned and we kept running away with it.
You had two goals with this team: to qualify for the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship and win a gold medal. You've got one so far. What do you need to do?
Just play USA Basketball and go back home with the gold.
Did anyone's play stand out to you tonight?
Johnny O'Bryant dominated the backboards tonight. James McAdoo killed the backboard. Adonis, Brad, making their shots. I think I did a good job with (No 4) tonight. That was one of our main keys to our game plan and I think I did a very good job on him. It was an all-out team effort.
James McAdoo (Norfolk Christian H.S. / Norfolk, Va.)
On the third quarter:
It seemed like we were all on the same page. We went in with the mindset that we needed to buckle down and get stops. That's what we did. In about the first four minutes we went out there and punched it and they never punched back. We just held the pedal to the medal and increased the lead.
What about the team's defense in the third quarter?
Mainly we just tried to get out on their shooters. Then when they drove the lane we packed it in real close and made them earn it from the free throw line if we fouled them. Their shots just weren't falling, so that worked.
Did coach get on you at halftime?
He was stressing different things as far as manning up and checking our hearts. He wanted to make sure we were all on the same page when we went out there.
Was the slow start due to getting such a big win yesterday?
No, it was mainly their 3-point shooting. They were shooting unconsciously from behind the line. We were letting them get to the basket and fouling them too much.
On the gold medal game against Argentina:
I don't think we're going to be able to take the crowd out of the game. We just have to go out there and play our game, make them play our game, push our tempo and we'll be okay.
Johnny O'Bryant (Eastside H.S. / Cleveland, Miss.)
What would it mean to win tomorrow night?
It would be a great win because we're representing our country. To bring the gold back, we'll stay on top as the best country in the world.
On the differences between the first and second half:
On the first half we had a communication breakdown. In the second half the coaches came in and got on us. We came out with more energy, we were fired up and we won it.
The crowd wasn't very vocal in the first half, but they got behind you in the second. Did you notice?
They like to see a lot of dunks and moves. In the second half we brought a lot of energy. We played good defense, got fast breaks and a lot of dunks and got back into the flow of the game.
What did coach talk about at halftime?
He told us to come back out with more energy and just play hard and get back into our game.
Tony Parker (Miller Grove H.S. / Lithonia, Ga.)
On Canada's play in the first half:
It was able to happen because they came out hard. We're a bordering country, so they wanted to prove to themselves that they could play with us. We had to step it up. Coaches got on us at halftime and let us know that we had to play better than that. We needed to prove to them that we're on a different level.
On Canada's third-quarter scoring:
On the defensive side we locked down and got focused. We played as hard as we could and left everything out on the floor. That was what was able to stop Canada's offense, disturb the movement that they had in the first half.
You've already qualified for the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship. What would it mean for you to come out tomorrow night with a win?
It would mean a lot. It's every player's dream to win a championship, period. But to win a gold for your country is very huge.
What will you have to do to get past Argentina?
We're going to have to lock up on defense, communicate, talk, do anything we can to win. We're going to have to play hard, leave it all on the floor and play together as a team. Like we've been playing.
What about if the crowd is so loud that you can't hear yourself talking?
It actually gets your adrenaline pumping. It gets you wanting to do more so you can quiet the crowd. I think that's what you have to do as a basketball player, let the away crowd know that we're here to win it.
Were you happy with the way the team played tonight?
Our team played great. Quinn did good on the assists. Johnny killed the boards, James ran the floor like a beast and got easy dunks from running the floor. Everybody played really well.
Adonis Thomas (Melrose H.S. / Cordova, Tenn.)
On tonight's game:
We were trying to play an aggressive defense and there were a lot of touchy fouls. They were making a lot of outside shots that we had to contest. We contested them more in the second half. Other than that, we had a good game. Especially in the second half, closing out on their shooters and their point guard, their best player.
On the third quarter:
We closed out more. We had a good talk at halftime. The coaches got on us about being leaders, coming out and playing aggressive and staying aggressive. We just played team ball, played team defense and stuck together.
Do you think you stunned Canada a little the way you came out in the second half?
Yeah, I think they were a little. They were surprised about how we were running and gunning and getting open shots, open dunks. We were just playing together and having fun.
You already accomplished your first goal of qualifying for the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship. You still have one more game to go for your second goal " the gold medal:
I think it would be such an honor to win a gold medal. Having a gold medal to show off to everybody at home in the U.S., being able to show my parents and everybody. That would be an honor, playing for the USA team and winning a gold medal.
What kind of team is Argentina?
I think they're a good team. They make a lot of shots. This is Argentina, they're playing at home. They're very aggressive to start out. We have to be more aggressive, play harder than they do and just feed off of them. They're going to have the home crowd so we need to just play as a team and stick together