Additional Quotes: USA 124, Philippines 64
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
USA Head Coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa)
Their quickness, I don’t see a team that’s going to be any quicker than they are. If they had a big man, they’d be a much better team from a rebounding standpoint. Obviously our size was too much for them. I liked the way we’re starting to hit some 3s now, which early on we weren’t a really good 3-point shooting team. That’s going to be a big plus for us. We’ve done a really nice job defensively. Our kids are playing better and great team defense. I like that a lot.
Assessment of the USA’s preliminary group:
They’re all really different styles of play. I think it was good for us to get us ready for the next competition. Greece was a very good team, they had a big guy inside, they kind of ground it out with us. Then we came out against Angola, which was a long team. They gave us some trouble inside, which was really good and then we came back against a really quick team today. So, the styles were different. I liked the different styles. They helped us prepare for what’s ahead.
On heading into the medal round, which is single elimination:
I wasn’t sure I liked the format, which changed this year, but I like the format. The format’s really nice. Now every game means something. It’s not like you can go into a game thinking it doesn’t matter if you win or lose. I think we’re going to see a lot different teams in the round of 16.
In what ways has this team improved over the past three games?
Today we did a great job. We’re hitting 3-point shots now. We’re hitting the open man. Tonight we made four, five, six, seven passes and made great shots off of that, whether it be a 3-point shot or going inside. Our bigs are playing much better. Diamond Stone is playing at the top of his game, rebounding-wise, team-wise and defensive-wise. Our defense is getting better overall. I think we’re coming together a little bit more as a team and chemistry-wise. We’re really working with each other and that just takes awhile.
Tyus Battle (Gill St. Bernard’s School/ Edison, N.J.)
How does it feel to be representing your country in your first international tournament?
It’s great. It’s amazing having USA across my chest and playing against some really good teams around the world. It’s just amazing.
What has impressed you about this team so far?
The depth. We have some of the best players in the United States and some of the best players in the world. The way we can bring our players off the bench and make a huge impact on the game has been impressive to me.
On the Philippines team:
They played really hard. They have some really good guards. I was just impressed at how hard they played. They were diving on the floor, tapping the ball back out, fighting for loose balls, they played really hard.
On the USA’s height advantage:
It was kind of different playing against them like that. But they just played hard defensively. I was really impressed.
Terrence Ferguson (Prime Prep Academy/Flower Mound, Texas)
On his 3-point shooting tonight:
It started out with the defense; that got me into the game. Harry (Giles) and Jayson’s (Tatum) dunk, that got me all excited, it got me into the game. So, I just started feeling it after that. It was on. I kept shooting (laughs).
On the Philippines team:
Oh they’re tough, they’re really tough. I even talked to them after the game and told them they were probably the toughest team we played against. They’re always on. They’re running full speed the whole game. I don’t think they get tired, I really don’t think so. If they had a couple more inches, it would have been a great game.
In what ways has this team improved?
Each game we’ve improved, defensive-wise, offensive-wise, we’re just talking. We’re growing the bond with each other.
On the USA’s depth:
We have the best bench inside this championship. We rely on our bench, even our starters, for our bench to pick it up. Their bench is not as good as our bench, so that helps us get the win.
Who has stood out for you, who has been playing well?
Well, we all have been playing really well. But, what surprised me today was Harry’s (Giles) windmill (dunk). That really surprised me. I didn’t know if he would pull it out, but he got it. Because that first dunk, he missed (laughs).
Josh Jackson (Consortium College Prep H.S./ Southfield, Mich.)
On tonight’s game:
They hit some unbelievable shots. I felt like we played great defense, but they came to play. The USA is going to get everybody’s best shot and they did that.
On the USA’s turnovers:
Every game one of our goals is to cut down on our turnovers from the previous game, but so far we haven’t been doing too good of a job on that. I think it’s that sometimes we’re a little too unselfish. We need to work on that.
You’re into the knockout stage now. In addition to limiting the turnovers, what else do you need to work on?
We just need to keep doing what we’re doing: rebounding, playing great defense and moving the ball around. We keep doing that, we’ll be fine.
V.J. King (St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S./Akron, Ohio)
How much has the team improved over the past three games?
We’ve improved a lot. We’re coming together as a team. We’re playing harder. We’re playing harder. We’re coming together and we’re starting to have a lot of fun out there. Our first couple of games it was like ‘okay, we’re expected to win out here.’ Now it’s where we’re coming out and having fun. We’re really coming together.
It’s win or go home time. In what areas do you need to improve?
We’ll go back and look at film, see what we did wrong. We messed up on a couple of rebounds, but that’s fixable. There’s no major changes. If we keep playing our game, we should be fine.
Who has stood out to you on this team so far?
Josh (Jackson) is standing out with his energy. All the players coming off the bench. We’re standing out, we’re picking it up when the first team comes off. Our bigs are doing it all.
Devearl Ramsey (Sierra Canyon H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.)
With the mismatch tonight, were there things you wanted to work on other than just getting a win?
We want to keep building our team chemistry. In games like that sometimes you can lose focus. We just wanted to build our team chemistry every game and get better as the time goes on.
It looks like you were having some fun out there, but there were still some missed opportunities and turnovers. Can you clean that up prior to the next game?
We’re getting into the medal round now. You lose, you go home, so we have to clean it up. We have to get more serious and finish everything. We can’t keep doing stuff like that.
How much has the team improved over the three games?
I feel like we’re becoming more of a family, more of a team out there. We’ve got each other’s back. It takes time. We just formed the team a couple of weeks ago and like coach said, we’ll get better as the games go on. Game after game we get better.
On the importance of the USA’s bench:
It’s really important, because most teams in this tournament don’t have what we have, as far as coming off the bench. We have a lot of depth on the bench, so that’ll do us well in the rest of the games.