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Additional Quotes: USA Men's Pan American Games Team 102, Puerto Rico 70

  • Date:
    Jul 23, 2015

USA head coach Mark Few (Gonzaga)

Did you feel like the team made some progress tonight?

Yeah, I’ll say. Just much, much better (tonight). Anytime you hold a team to 30.0 percent shooting and you shoot 50.0 percent, you blast them on the boards by 14 or 15 like we did, you’re going to win, as long as you take care of the ball. I thought the guys did a great job. We put that first half aside. We were a little bit worried about the press and that interim phase of early offense where we weren’t very smooth last night. We were much, much better tonight.

During the second-quarter run, how nice is it for you to see a bunch of guys making 3s?

It’s great. First of all, I think it sends a message to the other teams that you have to guard us out on that line, instead of packing it in. But I’m just happy for these guys.  The game is more fun when you are making shots like that, when you are running and playing in transition. It was just great for them to get a good feeling in this tournament, feel good about themselves individually, feel good about themselves as team for a night. And again, when you are making shots, it covers up a lot of warts, not that we had many tonight, but it really helps.

Is it helpful to have a game like this where you can distribute minutes around?

That’s probably been the most difficult aspect of this so far has been, not only melding the guys from all over the place -- pros and collegians, youngsters and old guys – but you got 12 guys that are the best players on their team pretty much, and it is very, very difficult to play 12 guys in 40 minutes. It’s hard, especially if you want to give some of your best guys some good rhythm. So, a game like this allowed us to rest some of our older guys and really give some very deserving minutes to those other guys, who were just kind of caught in the numbers crunch.

On playing Brazil 2-0 tomorrow:

I think they’ve been playing as good or better than anybody in this tournament. They’ve just been rock solid. They don’t beat themselves. They are an excellent defensive team. They are an excellent offensive team the way they move the ball and pass it is really, really impressive. And they got good size, and they are very physical around the rim. So, this will be our biggest test yet. You are going to have to beat this team. They are not going to beat themselves.

What will be the key to the game? 

I think chasing them off the 3 line. They shot the 3 extremely well against Puerto Rico. I think if you can hopefully chase them off that 3 line, that’s a start. I think we’ve got to battle like crazy and hopefully get an edge or get it even on the glass.  And then, I think we had five assists the first night and tonight we had 20, so we’ve got to be able against their pressure and their half court defense, share the ball and move it and get into other actions. Those will probably be the three biggest keys.

Bobby Brown (Dongguan Leopards, China/Los Angeles, Calif.)

What did you think broke the game open for the USA?

Our defense was there. Everybody was locked in on their assignments tonight. We executed the game plan, and we played together and we moved the ball. Anytime you do that, you can break the game open. Everybody was making shots. We were sharing the ball. We made a big jump from yesterday with more assists today, and I thought that was the game.

On the team’s 3-point shooting:

Guys came in the game and stepped in and made shots. We had a lot of easy looks. Guys created for their teammates and made the extra pass. Coach has been harping on making the extra pass and, ‘swing, swing.’ And that’s what we did today. Guys just came in and stepped up and made shots, and that was real positive for us.
What will it take to beat Brazil?

They are an experienced team. We’ve been watching film on them when they played against Puerto Rico. They move the ball real well. They got big bodies and smart guards. We just got to go in there and execute our game plan. We are going to be well prepared. We are going to play the game like it is supposed to be played and try to take it to another next level and know that we have to win every game. Even though we already know that we are in the medal round, but we want to go through this thing undefeated.

Denzel Valentine (Michigan State/Lansing, Mich.)

Can you talk about what you thought broke the game open for the USA?

I just thought we handled the pressure well. Once they started trying to turn us over, we took care of the ball and got open layups and easy shots, and then we got stops on defense.

On the team’s 3-point shooting:
That was because we were making the extra pass, and there weren’t any tough shots. I thought Tuesday, we tried to take some tough shots and got out of our rhythm. But once we get easy shots, then our 3-ball starts to fall.

On the team’s chemistry:
Yeah. Guys are hanging out more, and we are starting to encourage each other more, talking and communicating and doing those things. And also winning helps, so that’s good.

What will it take to beat Brazil?
We just have to come out and be the tougher team. Brazil, they are a well-run team. They are going to run their offense and wait for you to make your mistakes. WE just have to stay disciplined and play our type of basketball.

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