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John Wall and Kyrie Irving

Quotes From Day 3 Of Men's National Team Training Camp

  • Date:
    Jul 30, 2014

Kyrie Irving:

On Lebron James coming to Cleveland:

“I feel great about it. The excitement has kind of died down because I’m getting asked this question a whole bunch. I can’t smile anymore when I say I’m pretty happy. I’m ecstatic just to be playing with him. Like I said, he’s the greatest player coming back home. I feel like we are going in the right direction.”

On Coach K’s comments about Kyrie destined to be here at camp:

“It’s amazing. Just to hear that from coach after playing for such a short time for him (at Duke). Obviously we stayed in contact over the last three years since I left. I look up to him and he’s like a mentor to me. I have tremendous amount of respect for the things that he does; not only for USA Basketball but as a man and what he has accomplished. I am so proud of him. It’s a great feeling hearing what a great coach said about you.”

On his growth as a player since 2012:

“It’s different because I’m on the National Team roster now. It’s a great honor and a great pleasure to be a part of something bigger than myself.

On practice so far:

“It’s been a tough three days but I am really excited. The guys are just trying to figure out their roles. Guys are not necessarily playing tentatively but I think guys can give a little bit more including myself. But that will come as we get to know each other more.”

Damian Lillard:

On his role:

“Just giving me a chance to be a part of this team I know I’m going to have to be able to defend. I’m not going to be out there for eight minutes straight. It will be for four maybe five minutes. I have to be able to leave it all out there whether that’s picking guys up full court and wearing them out or trying to cause turnovers. I’ve just been trying to let them (coaches) see what I can do to help this team.”

On what he has been most happy with at camp:

“How hard I play. I know we are learning defensive schemes and offensively shots won’t always fall. But I’ve been playing hard defense. One thing I know that I can hang my hat on is that I’ve been defending. I’ve been playing hard. I’m playing team basketball and doing what’s asked of me. I think the biggest thing is not being able to do everything perfect but still being able to do what they ask of me.”

On chemistry with other players:

“It’s kind of unspoken. You don’t go out and try to play to fit somebody. Like Kyle Korver. He runs the floor because he’s trying to find a space on the floor to get his shot and I see that. So I like playing with people who find a spot and I can get them a shot. It’s just natural. Same with DeMar DeRozan. I know what he likes to do.”

 

Klay Thompson:

On how he feels after three days of camp:

“I think it’s gone well. It’s real intense at these practices. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of USA basketball for the last three years. I feel like I’ve gotten better from the experience. I’m excited for Friday night. It’s been a blast.”

On what it would mean to make the final roster:

“It would be a dream come true anytime you can represent your country. It would be something that I can cross off my bucket list.”

On four Golden State Warriors in camp:

“It just shows the depth that we’ve got. Two other guys (David Lee and Andre Iguodala) were invited but they were hurt so they couldn’t play. It shows that we are deep and we have talent. If we stick together and play as a team, we will be alright.”

 

 

Mike Krzyzewski:

On the third day of practice:

“I think we had another strong day. The attitudes have been unbelievable and the work ethics. We have actually gotten more in, in the first three days of camp than we have in the previous three camps. I think (USA assistant coaches) Monty (Williams) and Tom (Thibodeau) are terrific. It’s worked out well. Tomorrow is a non-contact day, so we don’t get good ol’ injuries and whatever and that they’re prepared for Friday. You get another chance on Friday to see, with the lights on what goes on.”

On the team’s defensive effort:

“The defensive effort has been outstanding. We have great quickness, lateral quickness. And although we don’t have the bulk, we have outstanding athleticism and quickness and effort. Just in a couple days, defensively, they’ve embraced it. When you coordinate that and play as one, that’s when we’ll have a chance to be really good and we’ve seen signs of that happening.”

On Paul George and Kevin Durant playing on the same team during practice:

“Part of it is we know that those guys are going to be on the team. We’re not going to rev it out of a hat too quick or anything. It’s about Chemistry and we can see different groups with them. The thing though that we haven’t been able to do is take a look at Paul at the four, which he can also be at. We wanted that with different guard tandems, like with (James) Harden and (Derrick) Rose, Irving and Curry and Damian Lillard. So you get them all a chance to play with those two guys and with Anthony (Davis).”

On the importance of last year’s mini-camp:

“Yeah. I think the big thing is their familiarity with me and this coaching staff. We’ve had guys who have played for me. That helps. They know what to expect. We’ve obviously had good stuff happen. With the guys in the mini-camp, we spent a lot of time trying to get to know them. It lends toward familiarity and with familiarity, it means that you can hit the ground running a little bit better.”

On how much last year’s time was worth:

“I don’t know what it equates to, but it’s a huge help. And also just the continuity of having all the same USA Basketball people. Jim (Boeheim) and I being here for the last nine years. But also last year, when we had the mini-camp, I wanted for Tom (Thibodeau) and Monty (Williams) to have an active role. So we got to know one another. As a coaching staff, we hit the ground running and we’ve obviously had some teleconferences before we ever got here. But it’s a big summer. It provides a foundation of relationships and knowing one another that’s invaluable.”

On the team’s big’s:

“First of all, Anthony (Davis) plays a lot of the four so his extra bulk in that is good. We think he’s one of the top players in the league and we need for him to be that five that nobody has. Everyone talks about things that we don’t have, well they don’t have him and how comfortable can we make him? Who will be the backups? What kind of backups? Do you go to a different style of play when someone else goes in, or do you continue to do it the style that you have with Anthony in there with the guys backing up. So the big guys have given good efforts. (Andre) Drummond, (DeMarcus) Cousins, even like (Kenneth) Faried and then (Mason) Plumlee, we didn’t expect that. He’s going to be in the scrimmage on Friday, so we’ll take a look at that. Again, you make the best of what you have. What we have is good. It’d be different if (Blake) Griffin and (Kevin) Love were here, but they’re not here. So it doesn’t mean it’s bad though. We’re still pretty confident about what we can do.”

Paul Millsap:

On getting after it defensively at practice today:

“It was great. The whole practice pretty much was about defense and defense intensity. I think the intensity was definitely there. The guys were really out there competing on the defensive end, so when you’re on the floor, that’s what needs to happen.”

On how the intensity at today’s practice compared to an Atlanta Hawks practice:

“It’s a little bit more intense (here). You’ve got some of the best players in the world, so things are going to be a lot more intense. It’s going to be a little bit better. But we do similar things (in Atlanta). We haven’t had a practice in Atlanta where we went 40 (minutes) to an hour long on defense. It was a little different in that aspect.”

On if he enjoys being that locked in defensively:

“As I got older, I realized defense wins championships. Your defense has got to be top-notch. So you learn and you grow to love it. For me, I love being on the defensive end. I love getting stops.”   

On the team’s defensive potential:

“Like I said, this is some of the best players in the world. On their respected (NBA) teams, you know, they’re not really asked to play defense like that. But when they come to Team USA, it’s a little bit different. They’re asked to play defense and guys are actually taking on the challenge to play defense.”

On the importance of being vocal on the defensive side of the ball:

“Being a good defensive team, it starts with communication. We’re smart players and we understand that. So we know we have to go out there and communicate with each other to be a good defensive team.”

On if he’s learning anything since training camp began:

“Yes. Me personally, I’m a sponge. So I’m going to take what I learn here and try to take that back to Atlanta and try to help our team.”

On if he’s grown closer to any players since the start of camp:

“Oh yeah. Throughout the course of the season, you don’t have the opportunity to spend time with these guys, especially since you’re competing against them. You have a different outlook on them during the season. But when you come here, and they’re actually your teammates for a week or for however long it’s going to be, you look at it in a different perspective. So I’ve had the opportunity to get to know a few of them, and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to know a lot more.”

On if playing for the USA was always a dream for him when he started playing basketball:

“I think it’s everybody’s dream. I think that’s the motive. If you can get to this point, to put on a Team USA jersey for your country, that means that you’re elite and that’s what I take from it. I take it as an opportunity to go out there and help my country in a different way and that’s through winning a (FIBA Basketball) World Cup for us.”

On his individual play:

“Individually, I feel like I’ve been playing pretty well. You know I haven’t been able to showcase pretty much probably what they brought me out here to do, and that’s shoot the 3-point shot. But they know I can do that. It’s just everything else. I think I’m more focused on playing defense and helping on the defensive end than anything else right now.”

Bradley Beal:

On having a practice focused primarily on defense:

“You have to be able to accept that because on this team everybody can score the ball but not everybody can defend. I think that’s probably what coach was trying to show and see in these guys and I think everybody did a great job picking up that intensity and really focusing in. Some drills we were dead tired, but I think we did a great job locking in and really getting stops when we needed to. It’s just going to continue to be that way because these international teams are very tough to beat, man. They can score the ball just like we can, so we’ve got to be able to get stops and try to win games.”

On hoping to bring the same type of defensive energy each day moving forward:

“Most definitely because on any given night any player can get hot on another team. You have to be able to go out there and have the confidence and the belief that your defense is always going to come first. Your offense is always going to be there regardless of what happens. Sometimes you can’t control what happens on offense, but you can control how you defend your guy. So I think as long as we just defend the way we know we’re capable of doing, continuing to stay intense and confident, I think we’ll be fine.”

On the importance of communication on defense:

“I think communication is key for any defense because you have to be able to talk and point and know where your man is and know where your teammate’s man is. If a mishap happens, you have to be able to have your teammate’s back at all times and let him know that your man is cutting, or your man is getting open, or a screen is coming. So being able to communicate is very important, and I think everybody on this team is doing a great job of that.”

On if the team’s defensive potential is off the charts:

“It definitely is because one thing, I feel short as I don’t know what in this gym and all these guys are 6-7 and above. So everybody is long and athletic. I think we can use that to our benefit because when we get our arms out and our hands up and we’re talking, we’re going to be pretty tough to beat on the defensive end because we have guys who can block shots, who can get deflections, can get steals and can get in the passing lanes like that. It’s definitely going to be to our benefit.”   

On whether he learned anything from being injured and not being able to participate during last year’s mini-camp:

“I think the biggest thing is that you don’t have to carry such a large load on your shoulders. Just the fact that the guy right next to you is just as good as you are, if not better. So you have to be able to have that mentality, that it’s a huge sacrifice more than anything, because everybody can do pretty much the same thing. But are you wiling to give up something for the benefit of the team?

On if giving up something for the benefit of the team is a tough challenge to get used to:

“I think the good players are able to do that. As long as you’re able to have that confidence in knowing that, ‘OK I can still impact the game in other ways than scoring the ball then you’re going to be pretty good.’ And regardless, the offense will always come to you no matter what because everybody on this team is good and great and have All-Star capabilities. But I think as long as we just have that sacrifice and that passion and energy to be able to believe that, ‘I can give up something for the benefit of the team,’ it’ll definitely help the team.”

On how much he’s grown as a player and as a person from his experiences with USA Basketball:

“It’s been terrific, man. I have a huge journey that I’m definitely proud of, I must say. It started when I was 15 and playing with the USA team and winning two gold medals on the 16 and 17 year-old teams. And now to be a part of the National Team, it’s like a dream come true. It just shows that the hard work paid off. And regardless, if I make this team or not, I’m still going to be happy in the fact that I was able to be a part of this. Because there’s a ton of NBA players, a ton of college kids who have the capabilities of being on this team and I’m fortunate to be one of them to be a part of the National Team.”

On the toughest adjustment in the international style of play:

“I think the biggest difference is there’s no defensive three seconds. It’s very physical and the 3-point line is shorter. Just in terms of knowing that you could be in help-side and not have to clear the lane. You can stand there as long as you want. And on top of that, you can knock a ball off a rim until it hits the rim.”

 

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