Additional Quotes From Day 2 Of Men's National Team training Camp In Chicago
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)
On being in Chicago, his hometown:
It makes it a little bit more special. It’s always special coaching the U.S. team, but then when you are doing it about a mile-and-a-half from where you grew up – I grew up on Damen and Augusta, that makes it even more important. I’m excited for the players, though. For Derrick, he’s had really a tough two-year period, and he is doing great. He is one of the greatest guys in the world. And for Anthony, he’s another one of the great guys. It’s his first time back in Chicago since he left high school.
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
Your thoughts about playing here in your hometown?
It is great, you know, I love playing here, I love being here, and I think it will be a great opportunity for me. An opportunity for my friends and family to come out that don’t get to watch me in the season. So it is going to be a fun time, and I’m really excited to play tomorrow.
Coach talked about how they have changed the offense since KD dropped out since a lot of things were going through him, how have you seen the work you guys have done change?
Yeah, we know we have a great opportunity for us. We got a great opportunity to go out there and play and do something special. Since KD dropped out, you know, more guys feel like that they have a great chance to go out there and perform. So, guys are taking their shots with confidence, playing hard, playing aggressive. We ran different types of sets for different guys now, so we have to play with a mindset that this is a different opportunity for us.
How is this different for you than when you played two years ago?
Definitely different, you know, I think I am more confident. More confident, I feel a lot stronger. I think my game definitely improved, so I kind of know what the coaches want. So I think I’m definitely more confident, and I just feel more comfortable on the floor.
What are you looking for in this FIBA World Cup versus the Olympics two year ago as player?
I just want to win again. I know how I felt in 2012 when we won a gold medal, and I just want to have that same feeling at the end.
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
What are you expectations for the USA at the FIBA Basketball World Cup?
I think everybody from the head office, to Mr. Colangelo, to the coaching staff to players, it’s a gold medal, or it’s a failure. That’s a lot of pressure, but that’s what we live for. We are practicing and we are preparing for nothing less.
Who are some of the USA’s rivals?
Every team is going to be competitive, especially against us. Spain is always great, Argentina, Brazil, who we are playing against tomorrow, is good. Every team is going be giving their best shot.
How important to this team is it to secure an Olympic berth?
That’s the most important thing. Every two years, is a new opportunity for us to win a championship, win a gold medal and make sure we are on top at all times.
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
On playing with other guards who have the same role for their NBA teams:
It’s tough because we come from our respective organizations, but when we come here we have a common goal and obviously everybody has to give up a piece of their game. That’s just part of playing for a team that’s bigger than you.
On matchups at practice:
It’s been mainly me and Damian Lillard together every single time. But sometimes we switch it up. In Vegas I was with Steph (Curry) a little bit. Me and Derrick (Rose) have always gone against each other, but it’s good. It’s great competition.
On whether or not the USA is still the favorite to win gold:
We’ll see when we get over there. Honestly, I have the utmost confidence in every guy here. Everyone has a great opportunity to contribute to this team. We all are talented, and obviously I feel like the best basketball is in the U.S. and regardless of who plays or not I feel like we’re still a talented basketball club, and we’re just going go out there and see and try to gel as a team as much as we can and go out there and try to win gold.
On the Nike World Basketball Festival:
The World Basketball Festival is hosted in Chicago, a great place where basketball has grown. It’s a great chance for us to impact the youth, especially here in Chicago it’s a big deal, and we’re just trying to do that through basketball.
On level of excitement for first game:
I’m excited. It’s the first time I’ve been on the Senior National Team, so it’s a great chance for me to go out there and play against international competition and see where we’re at.
On Coach K’s coaching style at Duke vs. with Team USA:
He’s still the same. Still a mentor guy. He just wants the best out of you and that’s what you want in a coach.
Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks)
Despite the roster changes the USA has dealt with, do you still like the USA’s chances?
I do. I think you need to have a healthy fear. We have to go out there and play hard and play well. We feel very confident in the people that we have – a lot of really good players. We’re really excited about the opportunity.
On the USA’s four gold medals in FIBA World Cup history:
I think we try to make it five. We are here for this team and for this opportunity, and we are going to just try to keep on adding to it. USA Basketball is really building a strong culture and people are getting really excited about being on these teams again, and so we’re just going to try and keep it going.
Who do you think are your main rivals?
I think anyone can beat us on any given night. I think, obviously, we have a lot of respect for Spain, Argentina and Brazil, there are a bunch of teams, though. The international game is different than what we are used to playing, so we have to give that respect and have a healthy respect for everyone that we play.
On the USA’s loss in 2006:
I watched part of it. I think a lot of things have changed since then.
Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks)
On today’s practice:
Today we put in a lot of zone stuff just in case Brazil tries to throw that at us and a lot of scouting report stuff, getting ready for their plays, coverages and sets. We did a lot of shooting, nothing too physical today, not a lot of competition.
On level of excitement for first game:
We’re all excited. Obviously it’s an exhibition game but we’re not looking at it like that. We’re going out there to win, and we want to win every single game, so that’ll be fun to play in front of a great crowd that we expect. Brazil is going be one of the better teams in the World Cup, so it will be a good test.
On mindset for international games vs. NBA games:
No. It’s just different for everybody to know their roles and to adapt to everybody’s game and stuff like that. We still coach the game, try to win and work extremely hard to do whatever you can to help the team have success.
On the Nike World Basketball Festival:
Last night was great. There were so many kids there that were so happy. D Rose and Anthony are obviously legends here, so it’s cool to see all the smiles on the kids’ faces, and it was a great turnout.
Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets)
It looks you may get more minutes, how will this change your approach?
Same way I approach every game. Nothing changes in terms of my mindset; I just come ready to play.
How much of an advantage is it to know Coach K from your time at Duke?
It is big in terms of what we are running offensively and defensively. It is very similar to what we did in college, so in that way it is a help.
Have you gotten any tips from veterans?
No, more so, just playing with, you know, Derrick Rose, and Steph and those guys, to me those guys are more the veterans. So, they have given me some good things throughout the week and throughout Vegas too.
What kind of things?
You know, just things in game plan, things on my shot, things in what you see in the defense - just basketball.
How much do people talk to you about the LeBron block shot?
A lot actually, more than I expected but, you know, once the new seasons starts it will be forgotten. So you know, I got to make another big play, I guess.