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Additional Quotes: USA Men's U19 National Team 86, Italy 65

  • Date:
    Jul 3, 2015

Sean Miller


It’s on to the semifinals for the USA, were you happy with today’s effort?

We played against a good team tonight. The thing about this tournament is it’s a world championship, and when you start getting into the quarterfinals, semifinals, you’re playing against really good players, teams that have won in this tournament. Every game that we play from this point on, the competition stiffens.  For us a win by this margin is a great win. We’re excited to be in the semifinals. I will say that yesterday we had 26 turnovers; today we had 22; that’s a real problem. If you think about that, that’s 48 times in the last two games we didn’t get a shot at the basket. I think that’s negating some of the things we’re doing better.


The USA offense in the first quarter was really efficient; the team shot around 73 percent, were you happy with that?

No question.  We got off to a great start on offense. Jalen Brunson led us, it’s good to see him shooting the ball with confidence because he’s an excellent shooter.  We were unselfish.  There were times where we could have given up the ball a little earlier, shared it better, and I think it’s one of things that our team needs to learn, that when you play against better competition, ball movement is more important, not less important. As we’ve chosen at times not to move it, it feeds into the defense.  So, it’s something we can learn from, but I do believe if we turn it over as many times tomorrow in the semifinals as we have the last two games, we will find ourselves in a really tough position. We have to take care of the basketball better.


Your team’s rebounding in the second half was strong (30-13).

It was excellent.  That negated the fact that we did turn it over 22 times. If we would have taken care of the ball a little better I think you would have seen that rebound margin really work to our advantage. In a tournament like this, it’s about moving on from a negative play to the next play. That’s the great part for all the kids that are on our team, it’s such a great, valuable learning experience that will help them through the rest of their careers.


What are you expecting in the semifinals game against the host country Greece?

It’s going to be a really, really difficult game for us. We played them in a friendly when we first got over here (June 23). They led for most of the game, and in the fourth quarter we broke the game open. I believe we’re a better team now than we were then, but I believe they are as well. We’re going to have to play in front of a packed house, and we’re going to have to play through some adversity. It’s going to be a great, great challenge for our team.



Jalen Brunson


Talk about the start, the U.S. shot 73.3 percent in the first quarter, did you feel like the offense was in a groove?

Yeah. I think we came out with a lot of intensity. They made a couple of shots early, but that didn’t discourage us. We ended up winning the quarter by seven points. I think that if we keep coming out as intense as we have been, if we keep playing as hard as we can, then we can get better every time we step on the court.


What about your 3-point shooting tonight (3-for-3), you seem to have a pretty good feel for your shot tonight?

Oh yeah, I felt locked and loaded. I just felt comfortable.  Once you see the first one go in, obviously, you get more confidence and you make the next one and then just keep shooting. I think it’s a credit to my teammates for finding me as well.


What about advancing to the semis, what will it take for the USA to win?

For us to win we have to come out hungrier than we did today. They’re a well-coached team, so we have to play as hard as we can and make them play our style of basketball.  Every time we step on the court we have to get better. I’m looking forward to just playing hard, playing smart and playing together.



Jayson Tatum


What did you think of the USA’s effort tonight?

We gave great effort. They’re a great team, we had to really focus in on defense. They had a lot of action going on.  We need less turnovers, but I’m just glad we got the win.


The team had a good shooting night; is it contagious when you see one guy making shots, does it make it easier to get into a rhythm?

When you play hard, speeding a team up, you get layups and free throws and that’s how you get into a rhythm,  and then you just get into the flow of things.


Talk about tonight’s defensive effort. This team (Italy) is a heavy 3-point shooting team and the USA did a good job of shutting them down.

They’re probably the toughest team we had to guard. They’re very skilled, shoot a lot of 3s and they move  the ball well on offense.  I think we did a pretty good job.


What about advancing to the semis, what will it take for the USA to win?

Just really continue to improve and pay attention to details like we have been.  It’s just one step at a time.



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