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Caleb Swanigan

Additional Quotes: USA U17 Men 99, Angola 56

  • Date:
    Aug 9, 2014

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

USA head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S./Iowa)
On tonight’s game:
We had a lot of energy today. Having won yesterday, our guys were really focused today because yesterday was a close game for us. We are preparing the right way for teams. We’re not looking past anybody. We’re coming out, playing hard to start with. There’re always cases in a game where you don’t play quite as well, the ball doesn’t bounce quite right. But, we had a really nice five, six, seven-minute stretch, and then we’d come back and have another really good stretch. Everybody scored. Everybody contributed a great deal tonight. We were just great teammates tonight. Everyone was cheering for each other. We were happy when our teammates did good things. That has a long way toward success, when you’re being good teammates to each other.

On the slow start:
We’re a little unsure yet as to how good we can be and as to how good the competition is. It’s not that we didn’t have early opportunities, we just didn’t convert them. I liked our mental frame of mind throughout the whole game. When we missed a shot or two we were running to defend the next play. All those things go along way toward getting better.

On having Ivan Rabb back on the court:
I thought he did a great job. He ended up playing about eight minutes. For him to come off an ankle injury like that and play that well, it was pretty impressive. He made some shots. He had some rebounds. So, he’s coming on and he will really help us as the tournament gets going along.

What are you working on before the next game?
We’re still giving up too many offensive rebounds. Angola is long, they’re really long; they bothered our shooting a little bit underneath the basket. They got a lot of offensive rebounds. Some of them were because they took a lot of 3s, but overall that’s one of the main things we have to work on. I think we had 13 turnovers at halftime and ended up with 19. We only had six the second half. If we get two halves of six, that’s kind of where we want to be and want to work on.

Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake H.S./Rice Lake, Wis.)
This is your second game in a USA Basketball uniform. How does it feel to be out on the court playing for your country?
It’s a lot of fun. It’s an honor to put on the jersey and rep the USA. It’s been a lot of fun going on the court and playing against international teams, playing on TV, in front of the crowd. It’s been a good time.

Did the team click a little bit more today?
Yeah, obviously it’s just our second game and we’re going to click more and more each game. That’s the way we’re going to win the gold medal, just getting better and being more consistent each game. I felt that we did a better job as a team, playing together. I think we picked it up very nicely.

Is defense going to be the hallmark of this team?
Yeah, that’s what coach has stressed and that’s what we’re all stressing to each other, our defense. Our team is very talented. We can score easily. It’s just a matter of us taking it to the grindstone and sitting down on defense.

Terrence Ferguson (Prime Prep Academy/Flower Mound, Texas)
On the difference between last night’s game and today’s:
Today, we picked it up as a team, especially in the second half when we started scoring. We played great defense in the second half. We just picked it up.

Is defense going to be the key to this team?
Defense is definitely the key. The key to every team is good defense.

On providing a spark of the bench:
That’s my role. Everyone has a role and my role is to play defense and knock down shots. That’s what I do every day.

What will you work on before meeting Philippines on Monday?
The same thing: defense. Defense wins games and championships. That’s what we have to focus on.

Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy/Winston-Salem, N.C.)
What were you doing to disrupt Angola’s offense and pick up six steals?
Coach talked about deflections this morning. He always talks about getting deflections and stuff. I wanted to get more active on defense. I wanted to be active tonight and improve on something, just play hard and get steals.

How important is it to keep the energy level high throughout the game, even when you’re up by a large margin?
It’s great, because when we play with energy and play up, we can’t be beat. We’re unstoppable. When we play together, play with energy, play unselfishly, we can’t be beat.

How was it having Ivan Rabb back out on the court?
It was great to see him getting back out there and healthy. I know what it’s like to sit back on the sidelines and watch, so to see him out there smiling, getting back on the court, getting into it, it’s really great seeing him back out there. He worked hard to make this team and to see him go down in practice that day was tough, but he’s back out there, it’s great to see.

On the teamwork displayed today:
That’s the key - unselfishness is everything. When we play unselfish, we’ll win all the time. All of us can go for 40 points (a game), but it’s not about that. It’s about we and not me. We have to share the ball and get everybody into the game.

Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd H.S./ Oakland, Calif.)
How did it feel to be back on the court after being out the past week and a half?
I felt good. I had so much energy, I was just anxious to get back out there. When I finally hit the floor my teammates supported me and I just played hard.

Did you feel like they were trying to get you to score?
I think they tried to get me to do everything I could and they were very positive with me. I think they wanted me to feel like every time I was on the court, something good was going to happen. When I got on there, they made sure I got the ball, I got touches, I scored, I passed a few times. I feel like I played a good all-around game for my first game back.

Do you feel like you need to work on your timing a little bit more?
Oh, definitely. That was the first thing I did when I got in, I turned the ball over. So, yeah, that’s part of the timing. In the second half I kind of rushed a shot that I would normally make. But, it’s part of the game. I think that as I continue to play I will improve and my timing will be back and the game will be a lot smoother for me.

Caleb Swanigan (Homestead H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind.)
This is your second game in a USA Basketball uniform. How does it feel to be out on the court playing for your country?
You just want to play hard. Every possession you want to do the right thing. You don’t want to make the mistake and be the guy who messes up or something like that. The jitterbugs are definitely there, but you just play through it and do what you were picked to do.

How different is the international game from the high school game?
It’s definitely more up and down because they have a (24-second) shot clock. Most AAU teams don’t have a shot clock. You have to get up and down, it gives you more of what a pro game of basketball is like.

How fun is it playing with this team?
It’s definitely fun. Playing with so many guys who can produce at a high level, you don’t have as much pressure on you like you usually would from where you come from. All the guys can do something, so you don’t have to dominate every play. If you just play hard, you’re going to get your shots. It’s definitely a lot of fun to play with so many talented players.

How important is the team’s depth going to be as you go deeper into the tournament?
The bench is definitely important. We had 54 points, that’s over half our points off the bench. The bench is what makes us the best team in the tournament.

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