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Additional Quotes: USA Men's U19 National Team 79, Croatia 71 (OT)

  • Date:
    Jul 5, 2015

Sean Miller, USA Head Coach

Talk about this game. The team struggled with its shooting but they made the defensive plays down the stretch.
I think on a last day format like this, a gold medal game, it’s going to be difficult. No question, we had to fight through miscues. Really I thought we probably shot more inside shots then we did the entire tournament, but they didn’t fall. But to our team’s credit, we stayed with it, we preserved, we got defensive stops and I thought our effort level in overtime really reflects a lot about the character of our team. We were at our best when it mattered the most.

What did you stay to your team going out into the overtime. What were you trying to get them to focus on?
More than anything, not to let them be relieved that were in overtime as much as this is a five-minute window, and we say it all the time, because of our depth we have great opportunity to wear our opponent down, and what better opportunity than an overtime period to do it? I thought that’s really what happened.

What does winning the gold medal mean to you?
It’s an incredible experience. First of all you’re represent the USA, and we all know what that means. But you also represent everybody in the USA in terms of basketball – coaches, players alike. So you have great responsibility, a lot of pressure on your shoulders to deliver. I’m really happy for our staff. We worked hard together for 23 days, and our players and everybody associated with it – job well done and we feel good. We’re headed home now with the gold!

Jalen Brunson was named MVP of the championship, what did you think of his overall performance?
He had a great tournament. He emerged as our leader as well, and when you have a leader at that position it helps things. I thought his performance against Greece with 30 points was an incredible performance. Down the home stretch of today’s game, he stepped up big.

Ed Cooley, USA Assistant

Talk about this experience that was capped by winning the gold medal.
This has been an amazing experience. To come over here and being one of the younger teams in the championship, I’m very proud to be an American, and I couldn’t be happier for our players.

What will you do with your gold medal?
I’m going to put it right in our sports room, and I’m going to share it with my son. This was actually one of the best experiences I’ve had with my son. To have him here through this was amazing. I couldn’t be more proud of the team. The team was unbelievable; the kids persevered.

Archie Miller, USA Assistant Coach

What does it mean to win the gold medal here?
It’s an incredible experience. I don’t think a lot of people understand how hard it is to go through the whole process from selection, to developing, and then once you get here, then you start to understand the pressure. So, it was a great feeling.

How proud of you of the guys preserving?
It’s tough when you take 12 guys, and they haven’t played together before and all of then have had heavy roles at some level, and to put them together, it was really fun to watch them compete and finish. We had some guys all the way down the line in our last couple of games really make winning plays, and that’s what you want to do in games like that.

Justin Bibbs

How does it feel to win gold?
Oh man, it’s a good feeling! It’s one of the best achievements of my life so far.

It took a lot of hard work didn’t it?
Yeah, a lot of hard work. A lot of nerves went into this. It was an unbelievable process to be in; how I got chosen to be one the team, but it was all good in the end.

Jalen Brunson

You earned the MVP award, what does that mean to you?
I’m speechless. I’ve got to give credit to my teammates. They found me the right positions to just make plays, and I found them vice versa. I just can’t thank everybody enough. We worked so hard for this. It wasn’t just the MVP, it was the whole world championship and everything. I just can’t thank everyone enough.

How does it feel to win this gold medal?
It feels great, especially when you’re wearing USA across your chest. It’s a very special feeling, and I’m just really excited and I'm really confident right now.

What did the team try and focus on in overtime?
Defense; getting stops.We didn’t get stops at the end of regulation, but we got a few stop at the beginning of overtime, and we we're able to pull away.

Jawun Evans

How does it feel to win gold?
I’m lost for words. It’s a great experience to be able to be here and win a gold medal.

Does it make all the work and time committed worthwhile?
Oh yes, it makes all that work you put in, and to bring it in with these great basketball players around me, it’s just a great thing.

Terrance Ferguson

You’ve now won three gold medals including two world championships, how does this one rate?
This one is probably the best one I’ve been to. Just playing at the upper level, U19, and then the competition out here, especially the championship game. We went to overtime, it was the first time I’ve ever gone to over-time in FIBA. These crazy games make the experience even better.

Talk about tonight’s game.
Tough game, we were going back and forth with Croatia. They’re a very good team, but we got it into our heads that we’ve got to step up. You know, defense, offense, you just got to keep executing, and that’s what we did to get the win.

Harry Giles

What was the key factor in overtime?
Really we just wanted to win the game. So, scoring first; the first block; the first rebound, we just needed something to get a lead in the game and get you some motivation.

You were big on the boards today but you struggled finishing your shots; what do you try and do when the ball just isn’t going in?
You just have to find another way to affect the game, and that is what I tried to do with my rebounding. Normally I hit shots like those, but they were falling out, so I just had to affect the game a different way.

What are you going to do with your gold medal?
Put it up on the wall.

Josh Jackson

How does it feel to win gold?
It’s a great feeling. This is my third one, but this was definitely the hardest one to win. We faced some of our toughest opponents in this one, and we were pretty close to losing that game. I’m just glad we pulled it out.

What was the key in the game?
Just rebounding, and defense, and sticking together, just believing in each other.

What was the focus on in overtime?
Just keep up with our style of play. We were taking great shots, they just weren’t falling. They were hitting some pretty lucky shots. We contested a lot of their shots, and some went in. We fouled a little to much, and I think we did a better job with those things in overtime, and that’s what won us the game.

Does it ever get old winning the gold medal?
Oh no! Never, never!

Chinanu Ouauku

What does winning the gold mean to you?
I don’t even know how to describe it right now. It feels good; it’s a great feeling.

How good is it to win gold?
It’s incredible; it’s an incredible feeling! Incredible feeling!

With the final two games being so competitive, does it make winning the gold medal mean more to you?
Kind of. The last two games, the semifinal and championship, those are always the hardest games, so you have to go your hardest.

What was the team focused on in overtime?
We just hard to keep playing. We knew they were going to crack sooner or later, and they cracked in the overtime.

L.J. Peak

What does winning the gold mean to you?
This is my first one, and I’m very excited. It was a great thing being part of this team.

It took overtime to win. Does that make winning the gold mean a little more?
I think it does, because it came down to a tight win. That was a great team; we just had to stay together to get the win.

Caleb Swanigan

How does it feel to win the gold medal?
It feels great, especially when you win such a tough game. I feel like we had fortune on our side, and we got it done.

What was the key in overtime?
The biggest key was just defensive stops. They couldn’t score on us, but we could score on them. That was the biggest thing. I don know how many points they had in overtime, but it wasn’t a lot.

Jayson Tatum

How does it feel to win gold?
Man, it feels great. This is my third one, but by far the most exciting. It was the toughest one. Game in and game out, there were no easy ones. It was the toughest game I’ve played in so far. I’m just excited we won.

How important was it to score first in OT?
It was all about defense. We can score, but we kept fouling and fouling to give them free throw opportunities. When we went to overtime, I think they were tired.

What are you going to do with your gold medal?
Hang it up next to the other two in my house.

Allonzo Trier

How does it feel to win gold?
It’s just such a special feeling. The long journey we’ve been on together, and then to finally win the gold medal and accomplish our goal is such a great thing right now. I’m just so excited for everything we’ve been a part of.

Talk about the game.
Croatia is a great team. We had already played them earlier in pool play, but it’s really tough to beat the same team twice. We knew coming into this (game) that it was going to be a battle. They were playing better basketball towards the end of this tournament and we expect a dogfight, and we’re proud of our efforts and coming out on top.

Thomas Welsh

You won the gold medal, how’s it feel?
Unreal. This was such an amazing experience. I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I’m just so proud to have been a part of this team.

It took a lot of hard work, but does it make it even more meaningful to win it in overtime?
Definitely! It was an unbelievable experience. We worked extremely hard over here, and to win like that is something we’ll remember the rest of our lives. It was such a good experience.

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