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Kevin Durant

Additional Quotes From Day 1 Of Men's National Team Training Camp

  • Date:
    Jul 28, 2014

Kevin Durant:

On committing to the World Cup of basketball:
“I always wanted to be here. My basketball life is short when you look at it in the grand scheme of things. I really want to play as much as I can and try not to worry about my body. I know that sounds a little crazy and a little whacky. I want to take care of myself but at the same time I want to play and experience all this stuff. I learn so much. I soak it all in. It’s an exciting time and right now I am enjoying it. I want to have some memories to look back on because in 10, 12, 15 years it flies by.”

On the players in training camp:
“These guys have been a part of the program for so long. That’s the great part about Jerry (Colangelo) and Coach K. They make sure we have a plan four to six years ahead. These guys have been here before and know the system. They know the coaches and it’s up to us to go out there and perform.”

On representing the USA:
“You dream about representing your country in some type of way. To go out there and do it on the basketball court, something that you love to do, you can’t beat that. All these guys appreciate this opportunity. We never want to take it for granted.”

Derrick Rose:

On missing the game and returning to the court:
“I’m just happy to be here. I missed the game a lot. My appreciation and feeling for the game is bigger. Every time I step on the floor is going to be a show. I’m happy that Coach K invited me to camp. I’m just trying to shake off the rust. I have goals and being on this team is one of them. These guys push me to a whole other level. It’s an honor to be here and to play with these guys.”

On finishing and scoring on his acrobatic layup in the scrimmage today:
(laughing) “Just competing again feels great especially playing against the younger guys and the younger bigs who are all trying to beat your shot. This will knock the rust off for a good year. I just want to improve every day.”

On the health of his knee:
“It’s good. There is no pain. That’s the past.”

Chandler Parsons:

On having a busy offseason and getting back into a basketball rhythm:
“It’s awesome. First of all, it’s a huge honor to be here, to be able to compete against these top-notch level players, in front of all of these very important Hall of Fame coaches. It’s flattering and humbling to be here and I think it’s going to pay off just being able to get in the gym with these guys.” 

On if he’s working to play more in the paint:
“Yeah. Just to continue to get stronger and work on my all around game and be a mismatch when I go to the perimeter at the four and play stretch-forward. Just as tough as it is for me to guard those big guys down low, it’s tough for them to guard me on the perimeter. So I think I can present mismatches and just continue to work. I’m willing to do whatever it takes for me to help this team win.” 

On putting on a USA jersey this morning:
“Man! It’s a huge honor. I get goose bumps on my arms every time I put it on and every time you see U-S-A across your chest, it means something. It’s flattering. It’s humbling. I look forward to working extremely hard this week and doing whatever I can to help this team win and to make the team.” 

On if he was surprised about anything from the first day:
“No, nothing real surprising. It’s kind of the same structure as last year. It’s just so great to be playing against these top-notch players and with these unbelievable coaches. There’s no better way to get better than to come out here and compete against these guys.” 

On how he prepared for training camp:
“I’ve been in LA (Los Angeles). It’s difficult for me because going through free agency, I couldn’t really play pick-up. This was the first time I played pick up since Game 6 of the (2014) playoffs. But just keep it in the gym, getting stronger, lifting weights with Gunnar Peterson in LA and doing on the court (work) with Rob McClanaghan. So I’ve been doing that for like two-to-three weeks now. Everyone is a little rusty, but I’m sure as the week goes on, we’ll shake that off.” 

On how he felt he played individually today:
“Individually, I thought I did pretty good. My thing is just to do all the little things, do whatever they need me to do. Knock down shots, play defense, rebound the basketball. I’m here to do whatever they need me to do. Whether that’s play point-guard, play power forward, play center, I’ll do whatever to bring the gold medal home.” 

On his childhood memories of USA Basketball:
“(I remember) How much pride and passion it is going to the Olympics. That’s always been my dream is All-Star (games), championships and being an Olympian. There’s nothing like playing for your country. Watching all those teams with the Dream Team, watching Vince (Carter) jump over the big dude (7’2” Frederic Weis). It’s just all surreal and crazy to me that now I’m a part of that.” 

On if he’s expecting the same type of structure Tuesday:
“Yeah, for sure. I’m sure they’re going to get more extensive. Today was a lot of teaching and a lot of talking. But tomorrow I’m sure it will get more competitive and as the week goes on, it’s going to get more serious and more serious.” 

Anthony Davis:

On what he likes most about the USA Basketball experience:
“It’s fun. It’s fun to represent Team USA and I’m just happy to be here. Not a lot of guys can say that they did this, so I’m very excited and ready to get the ball rolling.” 

On what type of leadership he displays:
“I’m working on it. I’m still working on it. I’m not sure. (I finished) The end of my second (NBA) year, I haven’t even been in my third year, so I’m still trying to figure that out.”

Paul George:

On Derrick Rose:
“He looked great. He looked like he didn’t miss a beat. It looked like he played last season as well as a full season before that. I’m happy to see him back on the floor. Although he’s in the East and in the Central Division, I still hate to see guys go down. It’s great to see him out here. He looks great and I’m excited to play alongside him.” 

On if he changed his preparation when he found out about the camp:
“No, not really. It’s just getting used to the (FIBA) basketball. Learning how to dribble, learning how to shoot with it. And just doing repetition stuff and making sure my body was conditioned well enough. It’s a different intensity playing with this team.” 

On if he feels he’s adjusted to the USA Basketball coaching staff this year:
“Yeah, we’re starting to understand what Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) likes and his playing style. We’re starting to transform more and more every year on the way he plays the game. It’s been great for both of us, Coach K as well as the players because he has a different mind and he has a great mind of the game. He helps a lot of us out and myself, I’ve learned a lot from him.” 

On going against the Select Team:
“It’s great. They’re still great young pros in this league. We’re still getting the most out of our training going against those guys because all of them, at the end of the day, want to be where we’re at. I started out on the Select Team and I worked my way up to where I’m fortunate to play with the main team. So it’s a great start for those guys. It’s good competition for us as well as a great experience for them and I know a lot of them are going to go back to their (NBA) teams better.”

Stephen Curry:

On being in the gym with some of the best talent in the world:
“It’s a great day. This is something you look forward to all summer. (It’s) the best players in the world preparing to represent our country. It was exciting. A little rusty at first, but we got into the flow of it and had fun competing. The best part of this week is we’re all trying to make the team and figure out how we’re going to play together. But we compete along the way and make each other better, so it’s fun.” 

On the challenge of this week:
“We know there’s a lot of talent across the world that we’re going to have to face if we’re going to try and get this gold medal so everybody has to remain the same player that they are on their respected teams, but sacrifice a little bit to become one unit and that’s the mission that Coach K has us on. A lot of us have experience with USA Basketball so it should be a pretty smooth transition.” 

On how this experience helps him get better for the regular season:
“I can get a lot better playing against this type of competition day-in and day-out. A lot of people say ‘you should be resting, this and that’ but when you’re able to show off what you’ve been working on all summer, I guess it’s kind of competition. You’re bound to get better, learn some things here and there and take that back to the regular season.” 

On the different USA Basketball coaches:
“It’s awesome. You study the game and you know these guys have been leading teams and coming up with these game-plans for years. It is different than philosophies and systems I run in Golden State with other coaches, but as a basketball player, you become more well-rounded having been impacted by these guys along the way. They put together a great staff, and they’re going to do a great job for us.”

Coach K:

On the new dynamic look of the team:

“Well, in 2010, we didn’t have any of those guys (Lebron, Kobe). The dynamic is always changing. There is a dynamic for the Olympics and there is a dynamic for the World Cup because of how people want to be involved with it. The veterans on this team, especially led by Kevin Durant and James Harden, those guys have to provide leadership. Steph Curry has been on our team. Derrick Rose was our starting guard in 2010. He would have been on the Olympic team if he wasn’t hurt. We have to rely on the leadership and start with those guys as the base.”

On evaluating the players:
“For us, we have to take a look at them as who they are as a U.S. player and not who they are as an NBA player. These guys play 35 to 40 minutes and are dominant players on their team. Here you don’t get as many shots or minutes. So they can play defense harder. They don’t need to pace themselves. That’s what we are trying to take a look at: use the 12-man roster which we have done to be successful these last three competitions.”

On representing the USA:
“It’s a great honor to represent your country whether it be a coach, an assistant coach or player. It’s the ultimate honor. These guys realize that. We had a good team meeting last night. Today we are trying to get a foundation defensively and for me and Jim Boeheim to see them in person and see how they react. Tomorrow we will make some changes. It will be a little different practice.”

On the bigs:
“We lost two big guys in the last 48 hours. We are going to have to have active bigs. Our main guy is Anthony Davis and we will see who else fits in. But also how they fit in with the other guys. You have a core group of about eight guys and you hope another big is one of those guys.”

Jerry Colangelo:

On first day of camp:
“I thought it was a great opening day for us just to see the guys back in action again. When you have a former MVP in the league like Derrick Rose who has been out for so long and all the questions surrounding him…where would he be? It almost appeared that he hasn’t missed much in the way of a beat. He played with enthusiasm, some reckless abandon, he went to the basket and he played with a smile. He was just happy to be on the court and we are happy to see him on the court.”

On utilizing prior training camp experiences in prepsaring for this camp:
“It’s almost like repetition for us. We’ve done this enough times that it becomes second nature. It’s a wonderful way for us to prepare our teams for international competition here in Las Vegas.”

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