Additional Quotes >> USA U17 Men 99, Australia 92 (gold medal)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
USA Head Coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa)
On today’s game:
How many 3s can they make in the last two minutes to keep the game close? They’re a team that just doesn’t quit. They have a lot of pride. We played them two years ago in the gold medal game as well. So, from that standpoint I knew they would never, never give up. We found that out last night against Spain when they came back from a 22-point deficit in the first half. They did a great job of that. So, our kids didn’t overlook them. We knew we were going to get their best shot. It seems like we get everybody’s best shot.
Our kids hung together. We had some really good play again off the bench. Jayson Tatum came in and did a great job for us. We got different help every night from our bench. I’ve always said that you put our five starters against the five starters from Australia, Serbia or Spain, it’s going to be a really close game. But our bench, our seven guys who come off the bench is kind of what separates us and it really did tonight.
Do you feel the world is getting closer to you?
Yeah. It’s interesting because with this age group, it varies so much from year to year. Some countries are going to have a really good 16-year-old group next year and maybe some of these countries who qualified this year aren’t going to have as good of a 16, 17 group. So, I think it varies by country a little bit. We hope we’re always really strong at our younger level.
On the play of Malik Newman:
He’s got that attitude that he’s not going to lose a game. You can see that. We got down by 10 and he kind of took over there in about a four, five-minute stretch where he was unbelievable. He hit shots that were tough shots and he really led our team. I think the rest of our players just fed off of that. In the second half he did a good job of distributing the basketball and we got everybody involved.
Bradley Beal was MVP in 2010, Jahlil Okafor was MVP in 2012 and Malik Newman earned it this year. Where does he compare with those guys?
That’s a good question. Brad Beal is in the NBA and he’s one of the top guards in the NBA right now and in 2010 he was the MVP and was just a great kid, a lot like Malik, a good leader. Then Jahlil Okafor was (MVP two years ago and he’s probably going to be in the NBA obviously for a long time as well. So, I think Malik falls right in that category with those two guys. It’s really good to see Malik step up. Sometimes kids this age defer a little bit, but there was no deferring with Malik tonight.
USA Assistant Coach Eric Flannery (St. Edward H.S., Ohio)
USA Assistant Coach L.J. Goolsby (KC Run GMC, Mo.)
Tyus Battle (Gill St. Bernard’s School/ Edison, N.J.)
Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake H.S./Rice Lake, Wis.)
Terrence Ferguson (Prime Prep Academy/Flower Mound, Texas)
Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy/Winston-Salem, N.C.)
On the play of Malik Newman and why he’s deserving of being named MVP:
He’s a pro. Like they say, he’s a pro. It’s just incredible when you see him play on the court because he hit so many shots in tough moments. He gets to his spot, he has a good feel for the game. It’s kind of like, he can’t be stopped when he’s on the court. When he gets rolling, he’s just impossible to guard.
Josh Jackson (Consortium College Prep H.S./ Southfield, Mich.)
On his big energy plays:
I just knew that energy and hustle were two things that I had to do for us to come out with the win. So, I just tried my best to do what I had to do.
V.J. King (St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S./Akron, Ohio)
Malik Newman (Callaway H.S./Jackson, Miss.)
How did it feel when you found out you were the MVP?
It felt great. We had a lot of players who played tremendous at this camp, so for those guys to think that I was them MVP was just an honor.
How did it feel when you had that gold medal placed around your neck?
It felt great. Last year was just FIBA (Americas), but this year was worlds, so it was a totally different meaning. For the trophy to go back to the USA is a great feeling.
Bradley Beal (2010) and Jahlil Okafor (2012) were also MVP of this tournament. How does it feel to be in that company?
Great, because Brad Beal, he’s an all-star in the NBA. And Jahlil, he’ll be an all-star in the NBA also. For me to be mentioned with those guys is an honor and a blessing at the same time.
How much have you grown as a player and a person during this process?
A lot, especially with the team because we were together for like two or three weeks. I had to mature and take the leadership role early. It made me a better person and a better player. It made me wise.
Today you were down by 10 points, but you never looked panicked. Will you talk me through that?
The team, they labeled me as the leader, so if they see me panicking then they have the right to panic. So, I tried to stay calm and stay focused and just play our game. I happened to get going at the time, so coach told me to keep playing my game. My team just told me that if I’m feeling it, to just shoot it. For those guys to believe in me and for the coaching staff to believe in me, that took a lot. I just had to go out there and play. The team, they really helped me. They got big stops, they scored when they were supposed to. They just did everything they were supposed to do.
Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd H.S./ Oakland, Calif.)
Devearl Ramsey (Sierra Canyon H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.)
Diamond Stone (Dominican H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.)
How does it feel to be a U17 World Champion?
It feels great. We won it last year, so to win it this year it means that we’ve gotten better. We haven’t gotten too arrogant and stopped working. Everyone’s gotten better. It’s a big accomplishment.
On Malik Newman’s play against Australia:
He was on fire. The rest of us weren’t quite there yet. He was from the get go. This morning he said, ‘I’m feeling great. Everything’s going great. I think it’s a big day for us.’ I said, ‘okay.’ And then he came out tonight on fire. He brought the momentum up for us.
Were you surprised at being named to the FIBA U17 World Championship All-Tournament Team?
Yes I was, but that’s my goal here, that’s what I’m thinking. That’s why I’m playing, that’s why I played so hard. I just tried to play every possession like it’s my last. I think that being on the all-tournament team really means something to me. It means a lot.
Caleb Swanigan (Homestead H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Jayson Tatum (Chaminade College Prep/St. Louis, Mo.)