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Coach K

Additional Quotes >> USA vs. Dominican Republic

  • Date:
    Sep 3, 2014

USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)

Comments about the game:

I was pleased with our team tonight. I thought part of the start was we missed three layups, five free throws. They were short handed with (Francisco) Garcia not playing and what happens, I think, sometimes you don’t want to pile it on, but you also don’t have the edge you normally have. I thought our guys got that. I thought our bench did a great job. DeMarcus (Cousins) and Rudy (Gay) were terrific. I thought Derrick’s (Rose) ball pressure was amazing tonight. Rudy gave us a four-point play right at the end of the half with a steal, free throws and a bucket, and in the second and third quarter we were just playing at a pretty high level. And they had a lot of guards in, so I was pleased we were able to go that. They were short handed, and we knew that. I thought we did a good job tonight. We’re happy that we’re going to finish first in our pool, so we already know that, and hopefully we can come back tomorrow and play really well against Ukraine.

You had 66 points in the paint and shot 69 percent, is this the type of game that is tailor made for a guy like DeMarcus?

One, they played a lot of zone, and we were a little bit more patient tonight in getting it in. Some of the points in the paint were as a result of fast breaks. The last two games we’ve looked more into the post, which is good. We just need to get a good balance of that. 

Has Kenneth Faried’s role changed since day one (of this group play) and if so how?

I think his role has pretty much stayed the same. He played this way in practice. He’s very unique, he gives us extra possessions, his percentage I think he is shooting 80.0 percent from the floor. He’s an easy guy to play with and gives us a lot of energy. And then when Rudy came in and did that, which he has for a couple of games, he didn’t last night, then we have a different guy in there. Kind of like when DeMarcus comes in for Anthony, it’s a little bit of a different look, but a good look, when these guys are playing at the level that they can.

When you are winning these games by this much how do you gauge how well you are or are not playing?

For me, I look for togetherness, effort, how we share the ball – I think we had almost 30 assists tonight. We felt we were going to win, and then how do you play, and overall I thought everyone left the court feeling good about how they played.

You brought four traditional big guys, is that with Spain in mind?

No. It’s really what we thought was the best balance for the team with a chance that at sometime we might take a look at Anthony (Davis) at the four. Those 12 guys are the 12 guys who earned it in our opinion, and we felt that was the best balance especially with us knowing that Derrick (Rose) was going to be able to play. If we weren’t sure about Derrick, then I think we would have had to look at another way.

Four games into the World Cup, do you think your players have fully adjusted to FIBA rules given that most of them have never played in FIBA competition before?

I think pretty much. I don’t think we’ll ever get fully adjusted to the travel, you know the way it is interpreted. I think overall we’ve adjusted to that pretty well, but especially in fast break opportunities it’s just a different way of looking at the game, and we have to adjust accordingly. Most of the times are guys are doing a good job of putting the ball down, a couple of times today we ran ahead.

Tomorrow you play Ukraine, what can you say about this team?

Well they have one of the greatest coaches in the world. He is one of my best friends, and I’m not joking about one of the greatest coaches in the world. I think Mike Fratello is very special. He and I have been friends for four decades. I think the Ukraine is very lucky to have him and his staff. They’ve put together a fabulous team that really is well disciplined. They can really shoot the ball and would like to play at a slower tempo than us. They’re having a terrific tournament, so we’re going to be ready and we respect them. It will be funny coaching against Mike, because I’m always pulling for him and I know he’s always pulling for me.


DeMARCUS COUSINS (Sacramento Kings)

Comments about the game:

I thought we started off a little sluggish tonight as you could see. I think we picked up the energy a little bit in the second, and after half time we really picked it up and took the game away. But we can’t continue to start games like this. It’s kind of been a tendency of ours to start games like that. We got to get back to playing defense the way we did the first couple of games, putting pressure on the ball and giving teams a hard time. We definitely have got to pick up the pace.

When you are winning these game by this much how do you gauge how well you are or are not playing?

I believe everybody felt pretty good with how well they played today. You could see it on guy’s faces, you could see with the guys on the bench. Everybody was happy for one-another, everyone was cheering for one-another, and that’s what we are going to need to continue on this path.

DeMarcus, what does it mean to play for this team, your country, and how is it the team chemistry on and off the court different being on the Kings team and being on the USA team?

First of all, it’s a huge honor. Not everybody and not everyday do you get to go represent your country. It’s definitely a huge honor, especially for me. Playing with this group of guys, this is a once in a lifetime thing. You’re playing a group of guys as good as some of the best players in the world. It’s extremely fun, it makes your job easier, but at the same time it’s a different thing because there’s so much talent in one group you have to put your game aside to make another guy and vice-versa. So it’s a unique experience and I’m enjoying it.

What was your reaction when Coach K called you and said you were on the team?

I was all smiles.

Coach K:  I was smiling too.


Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

After clinching the pool, does Thursday’s game mean anything?

It’s still important. We don’t ever have that mentality. We’ve established our standing in the pool, but we don’t want to have any poor performances with the mindset of winning a gold medal. We got to approach tomorrow as a championship-type atmosphere really if we’re going to have a consistent showing every time we step on the floor. That’s a big game for Ukraine, so we got to come ready to play.

Do you know Pooh Jeter of Ukraine and what do you expect from him?

I played against him a couple of times when he was in Sacramento, and I know he’s the heart and soul of their team. He’s been playing well. A lot of great guards out here, and he’s one of them.   We got to be prepared, study up on him – how he’s been effective so far in the tournament and have a game plan for him.

Can you talk about Klay’s recent wave of alley oop assists?

He got some great targets, and he’s just throwing it up there on time and they’re making great plays, so I’m sure Festus (Ezeli) and (Andrew) Bogut are out there probably watching and licking their chops ready to catch some oops from him. We’ll see if that translates.

Is there a difference between the Spalding ball and the Molten ball?

It’s definitely different. It gets slippery out there sometimes when it touches a jersey or whatnot.   At this point, everybody is playing with the same basketball, so you got to be ready.

Does it affect your play at all?

No, it’s different for sure, but we’ve been playing with it for almost a month and a half now – most guys a little bit longer getting ready for World Cup, so we’re used to it but it’s still different. You notice a difference when you’re out there from the ball that we normally play with in the NBA.


Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)

Why do you think there have been slow starts in the tournament so far?

We’re just coming out with that energy that we know we could. In the first couple of games, we came out with a lot of energy, and we got to get back to that. We’re having slow starts. We can’t afford to keep having these slow starts, especially going into Barcelona. We got a good team coming in tomorrow that we have to try to do the same thing to, and that’s get a win and move on. We got to watch a lot of tape and learn from what we do best, and that’s pressuring teams and getting out on the break and run.

What is it like preparing for teams that are clearly overmatched?

At that point, it’s more about us. It’s more about what we do, what we have to get better at. It’s not even about the other team. Once we start getting a big lead, we start focusing on what do we need to work on – what do we have to get better to win this gold medal. I think that’s our biggest thing. Right now, we make sure we’re playing defense, make sure to stop turning the ball over a lot. That comes from everybody on the floor and even out to the bigs, taking better shots, making sure we rebound the ball. That’s the only way you can score the ball, when you have the ball, so we have to make sure that limit our turnovers and rebound.

How are you guys holding up physically playing five games in six days and three in a row?

We are taking care of our bodies, getting a lot of treatment. Coach is doing a great job of saving our legs making sure that we don’t overdo it. When you get to a game, you just want to play but like you said, it wears down your body, especially three games in three days. We don’t even do that in the NBA. We just to make sure we take care of our bodies, ice and get a lot of treatment.


DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)

Is it possible that Team USA will go to the final camp without a loss?

That’s what we plan on, to win every game, every single game. It means that much more to us, so we’re going to go out there and play like it. That’s a goal of ours, and we’re going to keep fighting for it.

Do you think you’re prepared for the coming games?

Yeah. We are going to continue to get better. Look at the mistakes we’ve made in previous games, and in this game, and we are going to continue to get better and clean up some things before we finish up pool play.


Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)

Do you feel like you’re getting a lot of followers here in Bilbao?

I don’t know. If I am, then thank you to all my followers. If I’m not, then it don’t worry me none.   I just came out here to play basketball and do the sport I love to do each and every day.

What do you expect in the coming games?

We expect to win them all. We have high hopes for each other, and we look at each other each and every day and look at each other’s eyes, and we see that fight. We’re not going down without a fight no matter who we play. We know the opponent is not going to go down without a fight, so we just got to be better than them, just that night.

Are you thinking ahead to the medal round?

We’re not looking ahead right now. We got a game tomorrow. This is our three games, basically back to back to back. So we got to focus on tomorrow, and we have to come out and win that game. We got to come out of pool play excited and happy and get ready for the tournament.

Have you had time to enjoy the city of Bilbao?

I enjoyed the city. I went to the beach; it was beautiful. I went to the beach Monday. I walked around a little bit. I wanted to go to the museum, but it was closed on Monday, which was disappointing.

Is the team getting better every game?

I really believe we are getting better game-by-game. We’re playing harder. We’re really getting after it. You all can see for yourselves that we just really love playing together, and we’re having fun.


Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings)

Does it feel like the team is coming together on and off the court?

It does. Before today, those last two games really got us in mental shape. Obviously, you come here and you have USA on your chest, you think things are going to come easy. They tested us.   Today we came together and executed and played defense and also played together. Today was a big step for us.

You guys were flying around out there tonight … was that what you expect it to look like?

That’s the only way we are going to win. We have to swarm teams, make it seem like we have 10 players out there instead of five and also play together. We have to turn their turnovers into points. If we slow down, we play right into the game.  We have to do what we have to do to win.

With all the styles you are playing against, is this good preparation for the medal round?

It is because you know everybody is looking at the tape. Everybody is looking at the Turkey tape, everybody is looking at New Zealand and seeing how they can match that and take it to another level. What we have to do is learn from those games, because we know we are going to see that kind of play again. No matter what happen out there, we have to learn from what we did in the past and come out with some W’s.


Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)

Is it feeling more comfortable for the perimeter guys and the shooters now?

I’m not even worried about our offense. If we just kind of playing that kind of pressure on the defensive end, we have too much depth, and we’re going to give teams a lot of headaches. I know our offense is going to come. We have too many talented scorers. If we just keep making those easy opportunities on defense, a lot of turnovers, surround the ball, we’re going to be a problem for every team we play 

Do you know that you haven’t reached your ceiling yet?

Definitely. We’re all really talented players, but we’re still a team and we’ve only been playing together for a few weeks now. We love playing with each other. We have a lot of depth, and we just love proving people wrong. A lot of people out there are writing us off, thinking we’re in Spain and not having the international experience of past teams is going to be a problem. As long as we play hard, we’re too talented to not do well in this tournament.

What do you expect this team to do different next week that we haven’t seen so far?

I honestly don’t think we’re going to change a lot. Like I said before, it’s on the defensive end.  Teams don’t have the lateral quickness and length and athleticism that we do. We just got to keep clogging those passing lanes and make it tough on them when they go to the basket and limit 3-point opportunities, because a lot of these great European teams have great shooters. We just want to make them get to the rim and finish over us. Guys like Anthony Davis and Kenneth and DeMarcus are monsters down there, so we know that’s our strength.



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