Additional Quotes From USA Men’s National Team Visit To West Point
West Point, New York
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
What did you think of the demonstrations you saw today?
It was cool to see something like that, especially the swimming and the obstacle course. That was totally different. It’s a testament to what these guys do for us. It’s amazing.
Do you think you could do any of that stuff?
No. Not at all. I couldn’t do any of it.
Does seeing this make it any more special to play for your country?
Yes, definitely. You see that type of stuff, and you just want to go harder, especially on the floor. You think about all of the stuff that these guys do for us here, and representing us and fighting for us each and every day, so this just makes us want to work even harder and makes us want to go get the gold even more.
Did you enjoy putting on a practice here?
It was definitely fun. We had fun, and we were trying to make sure no one got hurt. It was all fun, and I’m glad everyone seemed to enjoy it.
DeMar DeRozen (Toronto Raptors)
We know what the students got from you, what did you get from being here today with these guys?
Just an everyday lifestyle, the way they train, the way they eat, just their everyday lifestyle. It’s definitely been a great experience for all of us to come here as a team and experience this.
Coach K smiling from ear to ear, happy, talk about him having you guys here?
We are here to see his tradition where he all started at and see how far he came. It’s definitely great to see and be a part of it.
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
Did you enjoy your experience at West Point today?
It was an excellent experience here today, coming in here and playing here. I played in here before in high school, and so to come back and see some of the kids I played against in high school. I’m grown up now, and I’m more mature. It’s definitely a great experience being on the floor with them and having this moment here with them, it is definitely exciting.
What game did you play here?
They have a prep team here, and my prep team played them as well, so I got a chance to play against a lot of these kids here.
It’s not for me. I think the swimming obstacle really made me appreciate the stuff that they go through. Just seeing that, I knew I couldn’t get through that, at least in the time that they need to get it done, or the obstacle course. People were doing that in two minutes; I would have needed at least 10 minutes. It makes you appreciate the hard work they put in to defend our country.
Does it make the USA across your jersey more special to you?
It makes you want to play a lot harder seeing other people fight for us, too.
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Obviously you have the games coming up in a week or so how do you feel the team is heading into the games in Spain?
We are looking pretty good right now. A couple days ago, actually competing against another team, we did a pretty good job in those two games.
How hard has it been the change in the complexion of the team given the injuries and the change of personnel you had to deal with?
It’s not really a change of personnel. Obviously those guys (who) dropped out were All Stars and were pretty good. We just got to adjust and go out there and play.
What would you say the strengths are for this team?
We are quick, we can shoot the ball well. We are going to push it. We are going to get after it a little bit, so that’s our strength right now, get up pressure the ball and force turnovers.
Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
What did you think of the training demonstrations you saw today?
It’s an extraordinary amount of commitment by these guys at such a young age. To come in and do the stuff that they do, I think it puts it in perspective for you what these guys do. We are training for the FIBA World Cup, a tournament, a game essentially, and they are training for real-life action in war, so it puts it in perspective and makes you appreciative of everything they do for us.
Did you enjoy putting on a show for the crowd during practice?
It was fun to put on a practice for them. We appreciate them opening up their campus to us, and you got to give a little something back to them, too.
Kyrie Ivring (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Is it hard not to think what you have waiting for you. You had some struggles early on in your career. Obviously expectations are going to be so high for you?
Honestly, it’s just going to be good to have another piece that I will be able to lean on coming from the standpoint of just when we are out there, there will be more pieces and no one can just load up on me like they did before. I’m not saying that we didn’t have any good players, but every team’s defense was to stop me, so it will be good to be able to pass it to another player.
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Could you imagine yourself going through the obstacle course that we saw this morning?
Not at all and especially when they went up on the poles and swinging around and everything. I’m sure I would have hurt myself.
You guys are some of the most elite athletes in the world and it seems as though you guys walked away impressed by what they could go athletically in that environment.
Yes, that environment is totally different. Basketball you get your space to run around, trip each other or foul, but in there it is only you and the obstacles. You have to climb things, you got to hop over things, go through tires. There was one tire that was hanging up they had to dive through it. It was kind of crazy. I don’t know how they did it, but I think it takes a lot of repetition.
You have a day off tomorrow or do you know yet?
I’m just going to see how I’m feeling. If I feel alright it will be fine. If not what’s two days of rest?
Was there something today that didn’t feel right?
I just wanted to get rest. Everything feels fine. I just wanted to get a little bit of rest.
Was this your first time here are West Point?
Yes. It was fun. We didn’t know all this was going on [Looking around the gym after practice]. I know I didn’t. I probably would have practiced. Just seeing how everybody came out and showed us love. It means a lot to be here, especially to the USA staff. They let us know right when we were coming here to be appreciative and just know that people work hard here.
Does it give you a different perspective coming to a place like this?
Yes, especially visiting the cemetery. That was the first place that we stopped at one the tour. It was kind of touching. It grabbed you right away because you were somewhere where people sacrifice and people dedicated their whole life to serving. They actually told us two stories about people that actually served. One of the girls that passed was 24 or 25, and just thinking about that is my age and she is already gone. Just try to pay respect in the way in which you can, and that’s coming here to see these people.
How is it to come here and see Coach K’s old stomping ground?
It’s cool. He’s been happy all morning just telling everybody about his past. We actually saw a little sheet of paper with his records that he did and everything that he achieved here. We actually saw a little picture to and he was way younger in that picture (laughter). It was fun. Today was fun.
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
What did you think about what you saw this morning with the obstacle course?
Just seeing that was really cool. Seeing what they go through and how hard they work is motivating.
On the overall experience today at West Point?
It was great. It was fun and a long day but at no point was it boring, and it was real cool interacting with all the cadets.
What did you think about what the cadets do for training and what they go through?
The work they put in, not just mentally but physically is a grind but they embrace it. It was really cool, and I appreciate their work.