Additional Quotes: USA Men's U19 Croatia
Did you think the team was better focused tonight?
I don’t know it was better focus as much as I think across the board our team is getting better as we know, we have a very young group and we haven’t been together for very long so I think we have a huge upside for improvement and out guys are working really hard, not just during a game, but in practice, in film, and we’ve come a long way in a four or five day period of time. No question tonight here against Croatia was our best performance.
Was there anything that you were please about tonight?
Our offense is really settling in. We were able to get really quality shots against a team that I think does a good job defensively. We utilized our press to force turnovers, which coming into the tournament we knew that we had to pressure teams, we had to be able to force turnovers. The fact that we were able to turn them over was a good sign for us.
Is there anything particular you want to get better at?
I think we can get better at everything. There were times in the game where again because of our youth, were not s physically strong team. We have a number of big guys but they’re young. And we gave up too many second shots, both on our own and where we can get more second shots, do a better job overall rebounding, that will be key for us going forward.
Anybody you’re especially happy with the way they played?
Jayson Tatum, that was his best performance to date. He’s one of the young players we’re talking about who’s focused, working very hard, and I think in a far better place as a player right now then he would have been a week ago
The team had a very good start tonight and seemed more intense, can you talk about that?
We really prepared for this game. Croatia is a great team, one of the teams that is favored to win it so we had to go out there and show them that we’re one of the teams favored to win it too, so we had to go out play hard.
How much does the USA’s depth take out of the other teams?
Our depth kills them because it’s like we have two stating lineups. We’ve got star players, big-time players on the bench like myself, Jason (Tatum), L.J. (Peak), Caleb (Swanigan) coming off the bench, so it’s tough for our opponents. The other teams might have depth, but they don’t have as much depth as we do.
The offense looked very fluid, the ball was moving around, everyone was sharing the ball and the team was shooting the ball well. Can you feel that fluidness?
Definitely, it’s something in practice we take serious and something we’ve been practicing. It’s something we’ve worked on to get better as a team and the more we play together the better we’ll play
The team seemrd ready to go from the opening tip tonight.
We knew this was a really good team that we were going up against and I just think our guys we’re just up for a challenge. Croatia is somebody we knew could beat us and it just got us that much more pepped up for the game and I think it really showed.
The offense looked very fluid, the ball was moving around, could you sense that?
We definitely were sharing the ball tonight. I think we had maybe fur guys in double figures tonight so it all worked out. Jason (Tatum), Harry (Giles), myself, Allonzo (Trier) we all had a great scoring night.
Did you feel more relaxed tonight?
Oh no, definitely not. I think that’s why we played better tonight because we knew it was a good team, we knew they were a threat and that there was a strong possibility that we could lose that game. We knew we had to come out and just play strong and that’s what we did.
The team seemed better focused than last night. Was it?
We were really focused coming in here tonight. We really respected Croatia as an opponent. We knew what they could do and tried to take away their strengths and really play our type of basketball.
What did you try to do against Croatia?
We tried to take away their inside touches. We knew they like to use their bigs, play with their size, use cutters and swing the ball across the floor and shoot a lot of 3s, so we just had to do the best we could to run them off the line and speed the game up.
You had a strong showing tonight, talk about your performance.
I came in right away and was really aggressive and played like myself. I attacked the basket, made some 3s to help open the floor up and just made plays for my teammates and tried to ignite us in the press.