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Additional Quotes: 2016 USA Men’s U17 World Championship Team 109, Argentina 56

  • Date:
    Jun 29, 2016

• Zaragoza, Spain

USA head coach Don Showalter (USA Basketball)
On today’s game:
I thought we played our best defensive quarter in that first quarter than any team has played for us. Our kids were really locked in. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re playing a team that’s 0-4 and you think that you can beat them fairly easily. So, I was really pleased that they came out with that kind of intensity.

For the game we shot 43 percent and this is a better shooting team than that. When you take a look at some of the shots we missed, they were around the basket. When you miss shots around the basket, that’s going to be a factor in your low shooting percentage. That’s something that we can correct, but I think we’re taking pretty good shots overall. Our defense leads us to some really good shots.

On matching the USA U17 men’s record with 66 rebounds:
We outrebounded them 66-41 and that was one of our focal points going in. How dominant can we be on the glass? When you look at our rebounds, Wendell (Carter) was a double rebounder and we had a lot of guys with seven to nine rebounds. Collectively, we had a great rebounding game.

On Carte’Are Gordon shooting 6-of-6 from the field:
He’s done that in scrimmages where he’s shot 6-of-6 or 6-of-7, he’s really owned the inside for us. He’s really been a pleasant surprise for us. He plays hard, he gets on the glass, he really does the little things for us, and for him to go 6-of-6 tonight from the field is an accumulation of where he’s at.

How important is the well-rounded team effort going to be moving forward in this tournament?
That’s what we emphasize. It’s all about what’s across your chest and USA Basketball, not about ‘me,’ it’s about ‘we.’ Nobody cares about who scores or playing time or anything like that, as long as you come out with the win. The players are really starting to buy into that and when they buy into that, you feel pretty good. I think tonight’s game was an indication of that.

On South Korea, the USA’s quarterfinal opponent:
They’re just a different team, because they rely so much on their 3-points shooting. They don’t really have much of an inside presence at all. It’s going to be a different kind of game for us than anything we’ve played. We’re going to have to be solid defensively. At the same time, our defense is going to have to lead to some easy offensive baskets and we’re going to have to keep them running up and down the court. We want to get them to go to their bench a little bit.

Carte'Are Gordon (Webster Groves H.S./St. Louis, Mo.)
On the USA’s quick start:
We had a talk with coach and he kept telling us that now that we are in the playoffs, this is a different level of play, and we have to play that way. We knew that we had to come out hard, because we don’t want to be one of the upsets in this tournament.  

On his 6-of-6 shooting from the field:
I was feeling pretty confident tonight. I just stayed in my role and did what I do.

How difficult is it for other teams to scout the USA, which has so many options?
I think it’s very hard, it’s almost impossible to do because we have so many weapons. They stop one guy and there’s somebody else who can do something else. So, I think it’s hard, very hard to scout us.

What do you need to do as a team to continue moving through the medal round?
Keep playing hard and playing like we’re playing, and not play down. We need to keep the energy up and play hard all the time.

Kevin Knox II (Tampa Catholic H.S./Riverview, Fla.)
On playing Argentina, a team the USA scrimmaged last week:
We came out really good today. We came out energetic. We played really good defense. Overall we played a really good game.

The USA shot 39 percent from the field in the first quarter, were you relying on your defense at that point to help you push through that?
Yes, basically when we played really good defense they weren’t really getting as many shots up, but when they were, they weren’t getting very good shots. So, we got a lot of good rebounds and a lot of points off rebounds in the transition. Overall, our defense was really good tonight.

On the USA’s well-rounded team effort:
The key to that is being unselfish. Coach talks to us about that every day. We’re a really unselfish team. Nobody tries to get their own, we all get assists and we all look to get other people scoring. We’ve got people who haven’t even scored in the fourth quarter and we try to get them on the board. So, that’s a sign of a good team. I like our team and I like what we’re doing.

Collin Sexton (Pebblebrook H.S./Mableton, Ga.)
On today’s game against Argentina:
We don’t want to play to our competition, we want to play to our standards and our standards are to keep everybody involved, play defense, talk, just the basics and try to get stops.

How difficult is it for other teams to scout the USA, which has so many options?
We can go 12 deep, everybody still plays the same, we all play hard. We’re very talented, all around. They can’t scout a couple players; they have to pretty much scout the whole team.

Do you think Argentina was a little surprised at how quickly you jumped out to a double-digit lead?
Yeah, I could tell that their energy level just went down. But they kept playing hard. In the second half they were still taking it to us. So, we had to match their intensity and we did that.

What do you need to do to keep the intensity up and continue advancing?
It starts with getting rest, everybody going to sleep on time so that we can have the energy to play and practice and give our best in practice so that we’re ready at game time. We have to do the small things to be successful.

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