USA Basketball Men’s National Team Post-Practice Quotes
• Las Vegas, Nevada
With DeMarcus, you’ve had a lot of centers that can do things defensively – but have you had a center that has the offensive skills he possesses?
Well, when I talk about DeMarcus, you have to talk about DeAndre and you also have to talk about our fellow from Golden State. We have more depth at the five than we’ve had in previous teams. And in DeMarcus, I mean, DeMarcus had a double-double in our Serbia World Cup win. And he understands what he has to do for this team in rebounding, inside scoring, and he doesn’t have to stay in the low post. He can come out. But the other thing he’s doing is he’s talking and playing really good defense. He’s totally invested in what we’re doing. And when you add that he doesn’t have to pace himself – whether he starts or comes off the bench, these guys can give us four minutes or five minutes, whatever it is, three – and go all out – running the court, on the boards.
Tomorrow, Argentina, 10 years ago when that started your winning streak, I thought that was a huge win. What are your reflections on that?
It was a huge win. Literally, the house burned down. We were disheveled. Depressed. Ashamed. And we had to get it together. I think I started LeBron at the point and that was really probably the start of him – I just knew that we needed him in a prominent role. And we won. We beat a really good Argentina team. That was like the start and it showed that we could recover from adversity. And we’ve continued it. Whatever adversity we’ve had in a game, we’ve been able to handle in a game.
I remember in 2006, you didn’t want to play zone at all – but in 2007, it was at least part of your package.
A little bit, but more so than that, we added older players. The influx of Jason (Kidd), Kobe (Bryant) and Chauncey (Billups) was unbelievably good for us. Whatever points they scored was great, or the defense – but the environment they helped create with that level of professionalism and maturity helped blend that talent that we had and that’s what we’ve tried to do now, try to keep it going.
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
On the strengths and weaknesses of the team:
One of our strengths is defensively we definitely get after it. We have guys whose that is kind of their primary focus. Offensively, we have guys who can score the basketball, we have guys who can shoot the basketball, and we have bigs who are dominant. I don’t think there are many weaknesses with this team.
On the progression of the team during camp:
It’s going good. We are doing well. Everybody is on board and locked in. We are playing extremely well going up against the Select team. There are some kinks that we need to take care of. It happens when 12 guys come together in two days.
On his upcoming “Town Hall” meeting:
We are still organizing it but I don’t like to call it a town hall. It’s more of a conversation. It will be Monday but I will put out more details the next couple of days. We want to get local politicians, youth, kids, adults, officers, teachers, community leaders and athletes there to have a conversation. My team is right now in the community getting topics to talk about.
Drayman Green (Golden State Warriors)
On his first three days of being on the National team:
It’s been great. It’s been fun just being with the guys. We’ve had three great days of practice. We continue to get better each and every day. Relationships are being built that will last a lifetime. Memories are being made.
On his days at MSU and possibly playing for Team USA:
“I’ve always wanted too but I just thought it be a shot in hell. But I’m here. Sometimes I think about it and it’s hard to put into words. I’m definitely blessed.”
On his mom’s excitement of Kevin Durant and the Olympics:
She’s excited about both. I think she is more excited about meeting KD’s mom than the fact that KD is playing with us. She texted me yesterday and said, ‘I need to meet Mama Durant.’ She is more excited about that than anything. My mom is a huge fan of the game. So KD coming on board with us is exciting.”
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
What does wearing red, white, and blue mean to you?
I get a chance to represent my country. A lot of people can’t say they had the opportunity to do that, so I’m extremely honored.
Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)
Does wearing the USA jersey have a new significance in light of recent events?
It does. We are going through a tough time right now, in the country and also around the world. We can provide that sense of togetherness and unity. When we break the huddles, we scream “united” and that’s what we want our country to feel when they watch us play. And it’s not about, well obviously we definitely want to win a gold medal, that’s the most important thing for us as basketball players, but we look at the big picture of things and we want people to see how much we love each other, see how much we love being around each other, but we compete at the highest level. We want that united feeling when you watch us play and having these great group of guys together, you’ll see that. I’m excited to go out on the floor and compete.
What would your younger self think if you could see yourself now playing for USA Basketball?
First of all, just to know that it is possible that I could be here, when you are told so much that it isn’t, and you feel like you don’t have a voice in the world or in your community, and to come here and to know that I can influence so many people, and that people listen to me, and watch me, and enjoy what I do. I would tell my younger self to stay confident in yourself, believe that you can do it. And I would tell my older self to enjoy every moment, and it’s alright to grow up, but it is still cool to have that same enjoyment as I had as a kid and to not take everything too seriously. So I can learn lessons from kids and kids can definitely learn lessons from adults as well.
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
On the USA Select Team:
They are now part of USA Basketball family and they will be there for a long time. I mean, being part of the pool of USA Basketball players is such a great honor and if you’re picked, you start on the Select team then you go World Championship and then if you’re lucky enough to play on the Olympic Team it is such a great honor.
What’s it like being coached by Coach K and how as your relationship evolved with him evolved over the years?
It has definitely turned over to a mentorship of me which I have definitely enjoyed. It has been so beneficial for my development of man and as a player. He is checking in on me at least once or twice a month during the season and then when I get a chance to either go back to Duke or see him during the season, I mean, he’s family. I mean from the first time he walked in my house and started cooking with my stepmother during my recruiting visit, excuse me, my in-home visit it has been nothing but family.
DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
Can you talk about having the veterans here today and playing in front of them?
Man, it’s insane. It makes you really put stuff into perspective. We were talking about it on the way here – we get frustrated in the middle of games, oh we didn’t get a call or this or that – and there’s bigger things in life. A lot of people have sacrificed their well-being and their lives for us to be able to play this game.
What was it like learning that you were going to be playing in front of Scotty Smiley today?
Oh man, he’s cool, man. We met him earlier. He’s such a strong guy, man. His will is amazing. Just to be able to meet him, it’s a real honor.
What have you been up to this summer in terms of preparing?
Same old stuff. Just working out. Obviously, had to pick it up a bit earlier for Team USA.
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Talk about tomorrow’s game:
We want to get the win first and foremost but we want to get some good run in. We have a ton of respect for Argentina and we can’t take them lightly, they have guys who won a gold medal on that team. We want to put on a show and have fun doing it.
Sum up the week, how was your first Olympic camp:
It has been great, it has been a lot of fun to get back on the court and I was itching to get back before I got here. And every USA experience I’ve had has been an amazing one and this one is no different. It is fun playing against the young guys. I remember four years ago I was in their position trying to make my name against the Olympic team so it is cool to see it flip and I’m excited for everybody in this event this year. We’re all going to get better from it.
How are you feeling physically after a long NBA season and a long NBA playoffs?
I feel great. I got to take two weeks off and look, for me, I’m young and in good shape so I’m not fatigued, I’m excited.