Additional Quotes: USA Men's U19 Egypt
What did you like about today’s game?
I think in some aspects our team continues to improve. This was by far Harry Giles’ best game. It wasn’t just because of the points and rebounds, but it was everything. He’s really improving as a defender; he’s playing with great energy and is fun to watch. If we go back to where we were as a team and someone like him in Colorado Springs, and I think we look at him now after we’ve played five games, three in pool play, he’s improving and that’s the fun part of this, to see young guys improve and also our team continue to develop.
One of the team’s goals was to finish preliminary pool 3-0 and get the No. 1 seed, how important is that as you move on?
This is an extremely competitive tournament. Every advantage that you can give yourself you want to take. But a lot like the NCAA tournament, now that we are in single elimination play, everybody raises their level and for us we’re really trying to find that if we continue to improve as a team that the results will take care of themselves as opposed to getting caught up in who we’re playing or the fact now this means more. But our guys have done a great job whether we go to practice, watch film, and hopefully that continued improvement can be a part of our next four or five days.
Argentina is up next and you’re familiar with them have recently played them in an exhibition game,
They do a great job of spreading you out. They shoot the 3-point shot sometimes from four or five positions. I think the other part is we’ve been outrebounded the last two games, some of it is a function of our style of play – we’re pressing and switching – but our guards have to do a better job rebounding, our bigs have to a better job of rebounding. We don’t want to get into a habit of doing a lot of things well, forcing turnovers, but yet continue to give up second shots. So I think that’s going to be a big part of our focus, not just against Argentina but whoever we play moving forward.
Talk about the game today:
I like how hard we played towards the end of the game. We started out slow but we picked up our energy. We didn’t let anything get to us, I think we just played our style of ball to get the lead we had.
What do you try and work on in a game like this?
I think we try to improve on both sides of the floor. I think offensively we can improve on getting to our spots better and also moving the ball a little but more, running our plays right. On the defensive side, I think we need to get into our press better, play our style more consistently, and I think we’re doing s pretty good job of that, we’re getting better, but otherwise just more improvement.
Now teams go into the elimination round. Does that change your focus at all or do you just keep doing what you’re doing?
I think we keep doing what we’re doing but it changes the focus just to think it’s now win or go home now. Everything is on the line here, you can’t just blow off one game and still play the next day. It’s every game is a championship so you have to think of the next game as the championship.
You saw Argentina at last year’s U18 Championship and then you played Argentina in a scrimmage just before this tournament started. What are you expecting from them?
I expect them to play hard, play with no regrets, play with all out relentlessness. They have nothing to loose; they lost to us last time even though it was a close game. I think we’ve got to come out and play our style and try to get the game done early.
How did you feel about the game tonight versus Egypt?
I felt like we kept rallying, playing hard and things like that and even though they’re not that good of a team, you’ve got to challenge yourself to step up and keep playing hard.
Coming into this game was it a matter of just trying to clean things up and keep improving?
Definitely, it’s always just get us better for the next game because if we face Croatia again, or we face another team, they’re going to be better so we have to be better in order to win.
How important is it for this team to get the rebound so you can get out running?
It’s definitely huge, but when you’re playing against a team that is just throwing up a whole bunch of shots there’s only so many rebounds but it’s huge for us to get in transition because that’s our biggest asset.
How are you feeling?
I feel like I’m playing well and I feel like the team is playing well. I feel like we’re all moving in the right direction.