Coach K and the media

Quotes From Monday's Practice In Canary Islands

  • Date:
    Aug 25, 2014

Gran Canaria, Spain

USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)

On getting to the Canary Islands and having two practices:
We are excited about being in Gran Canaria for this exhibition here, and these few days helps us get acclimated to playing in Europe. We are down to twelve guys right now, so we are excited to play this one exhibition and then head off to Spain and start the Word Cup. So, very excited about everything.

How did you get to the final roster?
What we try to do is have a good core of eight or nine guys, and then the last three kind of fit in with what you need and how you complement the other players on the team. We feel good about the twelve. We’ve had a lot of different things go on with our team with injury and with some guys not being able to play, so we feel good about finally getting to the stability of having the twelve guys.

What teams are your favorites to win?
I’m not a handicapper. I just coach the U.S. team, so I just hope the U.S. team wins. And I don’t know. I’m not smart enough to look and figure out how everyone is going to finish, but hopefully we will be able to give a good account of ourselves.

On Slovenia:
We’ve always had good contests with Slovenia. The Dragič brothers are outstanding players. They are a terrific three-point shooting team, and well coached and in the pool opposite ours, so they are a team we could face again after this exhibition game.

Do you think your guys are ready to win the FIBA World Cup again?
I just hope our guys are ready to beat Slovenia. We will take them one at a time.


Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

On playing in the World Cup:

I’ve been here before: Rudy, Derrick and I were on the World Championship team.  The three of us have experience and we understand what the job is and how hard it is, but we are very focused, working very hard and looking forward to the game tomorrow.

On playing without Kevin Durant, LeBron James and others:

We can’t worry about experience and front line right now.  We’ll worry about that on September 12, if we get through the semifinals.  We have a young center, we got a young power forward that can definitely play at a high level.  If we get to that point, we’ll have to adjust to what Spain is, if they get there as well. Our focus right now is on Slovenia, and then it will be on Finland and then New Zealand.  We just have to take it one step at a time. 

On Slovenia:

They shoot the ball very well. Obviously they have Goran Dragič, who we know very well.  A lot of other great shooters. They play up-tempo, they like to space you out. If they are making their shots, they are tough to beat. Our guards have to defend well, put pressure on them and we have to execute at a high level. They are very dangerous.


DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)

Going back to a few days ago, what did it feel like to be named to the team?

Definitely an honor to be a part of this team with all of these great players, just going out there, representing our country.

Is there a different feel to practice now that the team has been named?
I think it is still the same feeling. Everybody is just eager to get out there and start playing and do what we love to do and represent our country.

What do you know about Slovenia?

They are a pretty good shooting team, and we can’t let them get started from the three-point line. If we take their three-pointers away, we should be fine.

James Harden (Houston Rockets)

What are the strengths of this team?
I think our overall team is very good. Our guard position is extremely fast, extremely talented, and so are our bigs. Collectively as a unit, we have to play well – together.

Is Spain the team for the USA to beat?
We can focus on each and every game. Tomorrow, we got an opponent, and we are going focus on them. We can’t look forward. We got to focus on each opponent that is in front of us.

Is there a different feel to practice now that the team has been named?
Yeah. Now it’s a matter of guys just finding their roles, finding their niches and things that they can contribute to help the team out. So, over these next couple of practices and games, hopefully we will figure that out.

What do you know about Slovenia?

A lot of three-point shooters – I think they got like ten guys on their team that are capable of knocking down the shot. Obviously, they have very great guard play and Goran Dragič to lead the way, so it’s going to be a big test for us.


Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)

How is the team after a couple of days in the Canary Islands?
Yeah, I would say so. I feel great, ready to go tomorrow. The game will be packed. It sold out in an hour, so that’s always exciting.

What do you know about Slovenia?

Slovenia – you have the Dragič brothers. Goran Dragič, he’s going to be tough to stop, tough task for us. They love to shoot threes, so we have to contest the three-point line and try and make them finish over our bigs.

Going back to a few days ago, what did it feel like to be named to the team?

I can knock that off the bucket list. It’s a crazy feeling to be able to represent your country. Twelve out of the whole country is pretty incredible to think about, and it’s a real humbling experience being with all of these stars. We all are going to sacrifice something for the common goal, and that’s pretty cool.

Is there a different feel to practice now that the team has been named?
No, because I feel like those seven others are still with us, as far as all the people who tried out. We are all a big team, we are all a big family at USA Basketball, so I feel like we still carry them with us.

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