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Quotes From Day 2 of Men's National Team Training Camp

  • Date:
    Jul 30, 2014

Coach Krzyzewski

On Derrick Rose’s performance today compared to yesterday:

“I think he kept it at the same. It was at a high level yesterday. For him to play at that level and then play at it again, shows that he has worked real hard. We are very, very pleased. Coming into the camp, you don’t know. He has responded.”

On Kyrie Irving:

“He had a great day today. We’re happy that he’s doing that. Part of it is that he’s gotten older and understanding the responsibility of being a key player (at Cleveland). That’s a large responsibility. I think he has learned from that and he has brought that into this camp. He was destined to be a great player. He has not only ability but he has character and great intelligence.”

On DeMarcus Cousins:

“DeMarcus brings a different big man than Anthony (Davis). Just like Andre (Drummond) does. We have to see how we might be able to incorporate that into what we are doing. All the guys are giving a good effort. I thought today was a great day.”

On Hoops for Troops:

“The (USA Basketball) Hoops for Troops is growing immensely. Over these last nine years, we have developed a great relationship with the military. Marty Dempsey and the NBA have joined forces together this past spring to do even more. Behind the scenes in the NBA is a lady by the name of Kim Bohuny who has really been masterful in coordinating all this. It’s helped our USA Basketball to be with the troops and to know what it is about selfless service and patriotism. Hopefully we have benefitted them in some way too.

“It’s been a huge factor for the growth of our players, not just USA Basketball, but just as Americans. To be cognizant of the sacrifices our servicemen and women make for us and their families.”


Monty Williams:

On his observation thus far of camp:

“Today we put in more structure and got the guys playing more. The dust settled a little bit. The guys were not thinking as much. They played more natural basketball. That was good. Coach (Krzyzewski) did a good job of getting us into more of a normal practice. This atmosphere is a lot different than what you deal with every day. I thought it was a good day because we played more basketball and guys didn’t think as much. Coach gives everyone more freedom to play. That’s a thing a lot of guys like to do in the NBA. Structure but being able to use your game. We saw a lot more of that today.”

On what Anthony Davis can contribute to this team:

“He just affects the game in so many ways. Offensively, defensively, in transition. Unbelievable effect on the game. Blocking shots, distracting shots. He can score in a number of ways. And he’s unselfish.”

On Anthony Davis’ experience from being the youngest player on the 2012 Olympic Team and maturing into a more experienced player:

“He knows what to expect going forward. That can only help him. He can lend some advice to the some of the guys who haven’t been in this situation.”

DeMarcus Cousins

On Day Two of practice compared to Day One:
“I believe it was a better day today for a lot of people just because this is the second day of being under a system. We understand the system a lot better today. Still a little rusty, but overall I think it was a better day.”

On having more coaching instruction today:
“Just a lot more explaining of sets, explaining what they want, explaining how they want it done during the run of the game. Early on, there was a lot of teaching. It kind of helped later on with the runs.”

On how the USA Basketball coaches are similar to any previous coaches he’s had during his basketball career:
“You understand the instruction. They’re great at giving detail in what they want. It’s better for the players. It’s a lot easier for us to understand. It’s a lot easier for us to learn it on the fly.”

On whether playing for USA Basketball was one of his goals when he started playing the game:
“Of course, you see it. Of course being a basketball player, you want to be a part of it. Hopefully I’m a member of this team. That’d be a dream come true.”

On how much attending last year’s USA Basketball National Team mini-camp prepared him for this year’s experience:
“You kind of know what to expect. You’re on the other side now. You’re no longer on the Select Team. But at the same time, you kind of have an idea of what to expect.”

On whether it’s an adjustment not being asked to go score a certain number of points or grab a certain number of rebounds:
“It’s an adjustment for everybody because you may play one way with your (NBA) team, but you can have five guys that are franchise guys on the court at one time (here). It’s a lot different, but at the same time if we can have it click, the game would be so much easier.”   

On what he believes the coaches are looking for most during training camp:
“Play hard. That’s the main thing. Play hard, give a lot of effort and just try to give in to the system. Learn the system.”

On if he enjoys the competition process of trying out for a team:
“Yeah. The competition is crazy. I’d probably say the last time I was in a competition setting was in maybe summer league.”

On whether it’s been difficult getting used to the international basketball they use for FIBA competitions:
“Absolutely. The ball’s a lot slicker. When your hands are wet, it comes right out.”

On if it’s harder to make shots with the ball:
“It’s an adjustment. But once you get used to the ball, the game will get easier. As of right now, we’ve got to get used to the ball.”


Paul George

On whether he’s grown closer to anybody since the start of training camp practice:
“Yeah. I grew closer with a lot of these guy. A lot of these guys I consider brothers so it’s good to come out here, work hard and train together.”

On if he’s gotten closer with anybody specific:
“John (Wall). John is always my guy. It’s good to be here with DeMarcus (Cousin). I enjoy playing with Gordon (Hayward). It’s my first time being alongside KD (Kevin Durant). It’s gaining a little chemistry with all those guys.”

On the similarities and differences between the USA Basketball coaches and other coaches he’s had during his career:
“Monty (Williams) is straight to the point. He lets you know what’s going on. He gives you assignments. His mind for basketball is at an elite level as far as the coaches in this league. It varies. Each coach brings something that another coach doesn’t bring. Not to say that that coach doesn’t have it, but it’s just the way that he delivers that message. It’s great to get coaching from all these guys in here.”

On his relationship with National Team Coach Mike Krzyeswski:
“It’s growing. The more and more I’m around him, the more I get a better understanding of what he wants from me here. And it’s the same thing for him. He gets to learn what kind of player I am and what I can do on the floor for him. So the more we’re around, I think our chemistry will grow.”

On what the coaches are stressing most to the players:
“It’s defense and keeping that intensity. USA Basketball, we rely on our athleticism, our elite speed, our elite quickness to make plays and get out and play a fast-tempo.”

On if he feels today’s practice went better than Monday’s:
“I do. I think yesterday was kind of warming up to everybody and today we understand what we’re doing, we know our plays. So we got after it a little better and a little easier today.”


Gordon Hayward

On how Day Two of practice compared to Day One:
“I thought we were a little more sharp today, especially in the beginning. I think Day One is out of the way for us and we’re getting used to each other a little bit more. I was playing the four today, so that was a newer position for me, but something that I was excited to do. We could really space the floor when we’ve got four guys who can dribble and penetrate and shoot.”

On if he enjoyed getting more instruction from the coaches today:
“Yeah. We slowed it down a little bit. We ran some control, put in some more offensive stuff, so that was good. Anytime you do that and then you execute what they put, that’s always fun to see. It was a good second day.”

On what his most enjoyable part of the USA Basketball experience is:
“I think just all the people, the competition and the coaches. The best players in the world are here all at the same time, so it’s the people here that make it.”  

On how the USA Basketball coaches compare and contrast with former coaches he’s had during his basketball career:
“Everybody has a different background, so everybody has some different terminology and they’ve got different things that they’re experts per se on. So it’s cool to see that and hear what they have to say. Anytime you hear, even the same thing from a different person, it’s always good to have somebody else say it, reinforce it and say the same thing. There’s some legendary coaches here as well. The coaches are great and I’ve actually got to meet with Coach (Brad) Stevens. Some of my former coaches are here anyways. I get to see them and talk to them and see how they’re doing.”

On settling in to not being asked to score 20 points a night:
“It’s different when you play for Team USA because you’re not the guy like you just pointed out. But everybody can score, and that’s what’s fun. You never have to take a bad shot. You can swing the ball and somebody will make something happen.”

On if the adjustment mainly just centers around time:
“I think it takes a little bit of time but for me, it’s no big deal because that’s how I like to play anyway. I like being able to share the ball and cut and move and make sure you’re always getting a good shot because we’re capable to.”

On developing friendships with guys during training camp:
“You do. Anytime you do this for two or three years in a row you’re going to come back and see the same guys. You build a friendship, you build a little rivalry, (and) some competition when we go back to our respected (NBA) teams. You get to hang out with some of the guys now too.”  


Anthony Davis

On today’s practice:

“It went good. We did a lot better today. We got a lot of time moving up and down. We put in some sets and made sure that everyone was on the same page. Everybody played well. Got used to the ball, got used to the system and got used to the international rules and the way they play. We are coming together as a team and want to make sure we win gold.” 

On having a more meaningful role this year than in 2012:

“I want to do whatever it takes to be on this team. Coach K wants me to be one of those guys for USA. I’m here to do my job. Two years ago I didn’t know much. I was new to it. I got a little experience playing last year in the scrimmages and in the Olympics in 2012. I’m just ready to get out there and start competing again.”

On the chances of making the 2016 team:

“I don’t want to jinx myself. I don’t want to say yes and then in 2016 I don’t get that call. It’s definitely an honor to be asked multiple times to play for Team USA. Hopefully I keep getting invited and I get a chance to represent.”

On the experience from 2012 Olympics:

“It was definitely physical. The rules are a little different. It’s a different style of basketball.

“It feels like it was yesterday. I remember everything about that trip and about the experience. I was grabbing towels for guys after games, carrying guys’ bags, getting food, and the fact that I was a rookie at that time too. Now I kind of got that experience.”


James Harden

On his improvement as a player:

“I’m always working on my game. Every aspect of my game and in the weight room. It’s non-stop. Consistently every single day. I just try to be the best that I can be. Work ethic and dedication has definitely gotten me here.”

On the development of youth basketball:

“Work on fundamentals. The fundamentals are the base of your game. If you don’t have fundamentals, it’s tough to make it in basketball. That’s your stomping grounds. Make sure you shoot the ball well, pass the ball well and dribble the ball well. The San Antonio Spurs for example. They don’t really have flashy guys but all of them have great fundamentals and they won a championship.”

On today’s practice:

“Today was a little bit better than yesterday. Yesterday we were kind of getting our feet wet and today we were a little better. We felt more comfortable out there. Guys were making plays. The more time we spend together, the better off we will be.”

On being a leader on this team:

“Two years ago in London I was just happy to be on the team. There were so many great guys on that team. Now I’m one of the leaders. I just take the leadership role as far as working hard and just trying to be vocal.”

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