Additional Quotes: 2016 USA Men’s U17 World Championship Team 84, Turkey 66
USA head coach Don Showalter (USA Basketball)
On tonight’s game:
We knew coming in that it was going to be a really tough game, a physical game. Teams that are going to give us a good game know that they’ve got to get us out of our comfort zone a little bit. They were very physical and I didn’t think we responded very well for the first four or five minutes.
Our guys came off the bench and really gave us a boost. Collin (Sexton) played tremendously off the bench. We got some really good work out of Jaren Jackson, he really played well. Markus Howard, (Immanuel) Quickley … that’s kind of the make-up of our team. We have to have guys come off the bench and do a great job for us. Starting five to starting five was pretty even, but our seven guys who come off the bench are seven guys we really have to depend on.
Javonte (Smart) got into foul trouble early, so we had to take him out. But it’s really nice to feel comfortable with guys that are coming in and can play their role. Collin not only played his role, he did a great job of handling the basketball. We didn’t have a lot of turnovers when he was in the game. Again, all our kids came in and did a really nice job in handling the basketball. We didn’t have a lot of turnovers.
Their physicality isn’t really necessarily physicality, it’s more of holding and grabbing. Our kids just aren’t used to that stuff, but that’s international competition and we have to play through those things.
On Turkey’s team:
Turkey was probably one of the biggest teams that we’ll face. They have two guys in the 6-foot-10, 6-11 range. I’m just really pleased with Wendell Carter. He had had a really good game against their bigs. Jaren Jackson and Carte’Are Gordon came in and did a nice job. We’ll probably not see another team with two bigs like this.
What do you expect to see from Egypt?
Our next game should be another great test. Egypt was up on Turkey about 25-8 early in the game. They’re going to be ready for us. Our kids have to understand that we’re going to get everybody’s best shot. We’re the defending gold medalist from the last three U17s and they know that if they have any chance of getting a medal, they have to go through us. We just have to be ready, and I thought our kids learned a lot tonight, so I was really pleased with that.
Carte'Are Gordon (Webster Groves H.S./St. Louis, Mo.)
They were really good. They came out shooting, they pass really well. They made some long good passes and they all played hard. Turkey is a really hard working team.
Several times Turkey launched the ball down the court for a quick bucket. Is that something you talked about defending during halftime?
At first I didn’t think he was going to make that pass directly like that, but he did. I adjusted a little bit. I got a couple deflections on that a couple other times. I got better at defending that, but I still need to work on it a little bit.
Turkey is a pretty big team on the inside, how different was that from last night’s game against Taiwan?
It was way different than Taiwan. But it was also good for us, playing against guys like that. Their post men were pretty big and really skilled, so it was good.
How do you like this tournament and international play so far?
It’s really fun. It’s really unique and fun playing against other countries. Being out here playing against people who play a different style of basketball is good. It’s really fun and it’s a great experience.
Markus Howard (Findlay Prep, Nev./Chandler, Ariz.)
How were you able to overcome the slow start tonight?
We had a certain energy and enthusiasm within the team. Even when things weren’t going right, guys on the bench were being very positive with guys on the court. I think that played a pretty big role in how we were able to get this big win against a great Turkish team. Rallying with each other, even when the chips were down, was what separated us tonight.
On the performance of Collin Sexton:
Collin is a beast. We can always rely on him to get us buckets when we need them. It’s always great when he gets rolling like that and then all of us as a team, we just feed off of him when he’s on a roll and in a groove like that.
Collin Sexton (Pebblebrook H.S./Mableton, Ga.)
On his performance against Turkey:
Coach told me to come off the bench with energy all the time and I’m just trying to play with energy and get everybody else going. If everybody else is going and has energy, then we’re good and we can play together.
How were you able to overcome the slow start and shooting woes?
Just by keep attacking. It started on defense, we were getting steals and layups and everything else started clicking.
How different was Turkey than Taiwan?
They played a more physical game. They’re very physical. Their guards were really good. But everybody here on our team is good and enough to play for a gold medal.
What did your team do well tonight?
We rebounded out of area. Coach tells us not to be one dimensional, just play your style of ball. Just play basketball. Don’t go out there and play like a robot, go out there and do what he told us to do.