menu close twitter facebook snapchat instagram youtube article basketball gallery graph left-arrow right-arrow search star trophy video net clipboard shield-check shield-star stopwatch filter reset
Mike Krzyzewski

USA Basketball Men’s National Team Post-Practice Quotes

  • Date:
    Jul 28, 2016


Coach Krzyzewski (Duke University)

You’ve got a group of young people here who have some powerful stories….

We’ve partnered up with USA Basketball with our Armed Forces for the entire time that I’ve been the coach and Marty Dempsey, the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs is here today and he has been a great friend. The youngsters and they families that we have here today are from T.A.P.S. – Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors – and these are all kids and mostly wives who have lost a loved one in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a program that has been in effect for 22 years but we are kind of embracing it now to bring a little more attention to it.

On Jimmy Butler
He and Paul are probably the two most versatile guys that we have. They can actually play and guard 1 through 5 if we’re in a pinch and they’ll play anywhere. Jimmy is a really good addition.

On why Olympic Team members are always top-five in MVP voting the following NBA season
They can work out on their own or whatever, but when you’re working out with other great players and representing your country, it takes everything to a higher level.  But they also learn form one another so they pick up points not necessarily that I give them. They’re actually talking and find out what it takes to be a star.  They have empathy for one another. We’re in a safe-zone. They’re not afraid to share anything, and they share it and they get better. They’re smart guys.  All these guys are smart. 

On USA Basketball making a stop here in Chicago:
I think it’s appropriate because this is one of the best basketball cities in the world. And the amount of talent that’s been produced is immense. I’ve been the beneficiary at Duke and for USA Basketball to have these guys. It’s interesting, Chicago is going to get one of my favorite USA Basketball players, someone who helped us win a gold medal in 2008 in Dwyane Wade. He grew up here. I love that, to see how successful these guys have been.

I heard you say Jimmy Butler is really good after the first couple of practices. What did you see from him that really impressed you?

“You guys actually get to see these guys in person. I live in a different world in a collegiate community. I watch him on TV and you remember them from when they played in college. For me I go through a process of finding out who they are now. I knew Jimmy was good but he is really good. He is a really good guy. So he is easy to coach. What a specimen he is and he will accept any roll. Thibs has spoken so highly of him. Until you actually see him and work with him and look him in the eye and talk you find that he is better. I found that about a few of the guys on the team. I had never seen DeAndre in person. Kyle Lowry. I had not seen Paul (George) in about two years since his injury. They are good. The one thing we have done is learn to play really good defense. They can play it hard and better than in the pros because they don’t play as long and we aren’t playing 100 games.”


You’ve got a group of young people here who have some powerful stories:

“We’ve partnered up with USA Basketball with our Armed Forces for the entire time that I’ve been the coach and Marty Dempsey, the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs is here today and he has been a great friend. The youngsters and they families that we have here today are from T.A.P.S. – Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors – and these are all kids and mostly wives who have lost a loved one in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a program that has been in effect for 22 years but we are kind of embracing it now to bring a little more attention to it.”


On Jerry Colangelo:

“I’ve known Jerry for a long time. Always respected him and he’s one of the best people in basketball. Over the last now 11 years, I’ve been with him, I don’t think there been anyone that has done more for the game then this guy has whether it’s been with the Hall-of-Fame or USA Basketball. He’s been a great friend. I’ve learned so much from him and he’s someone you can trust. He has great knowledge and great commitment to the game. He loves the game, and he’s affected it as a coach, an owner, now running USA Basketball. He doesn’t get any money for this.”


On Chicago: 

“Chicago is a special city and you kind of relate to anyone that has grown up here. It’s a people’s city and a blue collar city. It’s a city of hard work and joy, commitment, especially to sports. They are so committed to their teams. There is a commonality with how he grew up and how I grew up, with family being from Chicago. Like an ethnic thing, although he’s Italian and I’m Polish. A lot of the same thing except they have better restaurants, they have more restaurants. Not necessarily better, but more. He would say better and more!”


On reuniting with Kyrie Irving:

We’re both very lucky. In 2014, he was our starting guard and MVP of the World Cup, so we had that experience. To be a part of him growing up and me helping in a little way, that is very special. I knew when he was 17 that he was going to be great and he is becoming that.


On Kyrie’s improvement:

“He’s got ‘it’…He has that combination of talent, personality and intelligence and then a commitment to working on all those things. He just keeps taking it to a higher level, playing with arguably the best player on the planet in LeBron (James), that’s a unique opportunity in a number of ways; to play with that level of talent. A guy whose has learned to develop his talent, that helps him, but also how you share a big stage. Do you defer? Or how can you still show your stuff and obviously he’s learned how to show his stuff or they wouldn’t be the NBA Champs.”


Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)


What is your motivation to always return to USA Basketball?

“I enjoy it! At first early, after Athens I wanted to come back and redeem myself as an individual and ourselves as a country. Just the program and the foundation that Jerry Colangelo laid and put into place, I wanted to be a part of that.”


Are you the face of USA Basketball?

“I try not to think like that. I think I’m a big part of USA Basketball, but as far as being the face, that’s a lot of pressure.”


On Dwayne Wade leaving Miami to play Chicago:

“I was shocked! I was shocked more from the standpoint that it’s hard to see certain players in different uniforms and he’s one of those guys who I’d never thought I’d see in a different uniform other than Miami, but it happened. I got a chance to sit down with him and talk to him and really dig deep about his feelings and what happened. He’s at peace now and when he’s at peace, I’m at peace with it.”



Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)

How exciting is it that you get to play in Chicago for USA Basketball?

Very, very, exciting. I think whenever you go into the city that you play at every year in an NBA jersey, guys give you a little something, and an incentive that you need to put on for your city so I’m excited to play here tomorrow.”


On being an Olympian:

That Dream Team, I think everyone realizes what they did and then moving forward just putting USA back on top. That’s where we want to stay. That’s what everybody’s goal in mind is, to never accept defeat, to win gold and that’s what everybody’s about right now.”


What has surprised you most through the first three games?

Just how good guys are putting the ball in the basket; how guys can guard, how we can switch a lot of different things, then on top of everything else, just the practices. The way the practices go, everybody is always competing, smiling, laughing, and having fun; that’s the way basketball is supposed to be played.”


On Coach K:

I like Coach K. He knows what he’s doing, he has a great coaching staff underneath him that help out in the ways their supposed to. It’s fun because I’m learning just as much from those guys that I would from our coaches during the NBA season.”


On playing with people you’re used to only competing against:
I think we all know and can agree there are a lot of great players on this roster.  But more than just basketball players, I get to learn a lot more about them off the court, who they are as people, their families, how they act, and their personalities. I think that’s been my favorite part of this whole journey, just getting to know the guys that I go up against every year. Right now were teammates, but come NBA season I’m going to foul somebody extremely hard when they’re going to the basket. 

On what he picks up from his teammates:
Whenever you watch guys go at it after practice you see how they work on their game, how efficient they want to be in their movement and their moves. You can learn a lot from these guys. Obviously they’ve been doing this a lot longer than I have. Me, Klay, and Kyrie came in together, but watching these guys go at it everyday in practice that’s what I pick up.

On what he’s looking forward to in Rio:
A win. That’s what I’m looking forward to. That’s the reason we’re all here. Yeah were going to have fun obviously but I think all the real fun is in winning. 


Paul George (Indiana Pacers)


Who has surprised you the most here with this team?

Probably being around Melo. I’m competing against him all year so I’ve never really had a chance to be close to him. He has probably been the most surprising.


What has this experience been like this year up until this point?

It’s been great. This is a great journey. A lot of the guys have talked about being on Olympic teams prior to this and from them they are saying this is the closest team that they have been on. You feel it. Everybody is jelling and we are all having a good time together. It just makes this trip that much sweeter.


Is there a player that you been you have become closer to on this trip?

I think I have kind of gotten close to all of them. We’ve been together for so long already now. It feels like we’ve been teammates for years.


Was Las Vegas what you needed to have that good game and to put it all behind you?

It was good. More so just to get the international play and get my feet wet in this style of play. It was good I was able to make some good shots – especially it being in Vegas. Just a good start to the trip.

On the experience so far:
It’s been great. This is a great journey. A lot of guys have talked about being on Olympic teams prior to this and from what they’ve been saying, this is the closest team they’ve been on and you feel it. Everybody’s close, everybody’s gelling, we’re all having a good time together. It just makes this trip so much more sweet.

On who he has connected with most:
I think I’ve gotten close with almost all of the guys. We’ve been together for so long already now that it feels like we’ve been teammates for years. That’s the kind of vibe this team has had.

On whether he’s been able to have post practice 1-on-1 sessions:
To be honest this is our first practice in a about a week since we’ve been in Vegas so we haven’t really had that chance to.  It was good more so to get to international play, to get my feet wet in this style of play. It was good to make some shots especially being in Vegas I think it was just a good start.

On what Coach K has told him about his role and focus on defense:
Yeah I think I’ve taken that approach personally, wanting to guard and be a defensive guy. The game is going to come easy offensively, I think defensively is where if I do my job and shut down their best player our chances are going to skyrocket.


Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)

On what it’s like to play for Coach K in this experience as opposed to Duke:
It’s really no different except this is just the Olympics.  I didn’t get a chance to play for as many games as I would have liked at Duke, but this is just another opportunity to really play on a huge stage for a great coach, a great leader, and someone that mentors me. This is his last hurrah going to the Olympics and I’m looking forward to this journey and the process of this team coming together.

On how Coach K helped create the player and person he is today:
He allowed me to grow into my own space, allowing me to be an individual, never trying to change me, but also helping me learn and grow as a man more importantly than a player. He’s always in my corner no matter what since he started recruiting me in high school.

On what it means to be an Olympian:
It’s a tremendous honor. We all say it, we a try to echo it, but literally this a dream come true for a lot of us.  Watching the 90s and the documentaries of those teams, I love just seeing how beautiful the competition is. From past guys to current guys talking about what team would beat this team, but the opportunity and the magnitude of us actually being on the team is the same. We’re Olympians, we share a common ground and were in a fraternity for the rest of our lives.

On what other sports he’s looking forward to watching in Rio:
I’m just excited to see almost any athlete outside of basketball. These are world-class athletes. This is the highest level of competition. It’s basically 30 world championships going on at once so I’m just excited to see extreme high-level competition. 

On what it’s like to play for Coach K in this experience as opposed to Duke:
It’s really no different except this is just the Olympics.  I didn’t get a chance to play for as many games as I would have liked at Duke, but this is just another opportunity to really play on a huge stage for a great coach, a great leader, and someone that mentors me. This is his last hurrah going to the Olympics and I’m looking forward to this journey and the process of this team coming together.

On how Coach K helped create the player and person he is today:
He allowed me to grow into my own space, allowing me to be an individual, never trying to change me, but also helping me learn and grow as a man more importantly than a player. He’s always in my corner no matter what since he started recruiting me in high school.

On what it means to be an Olympian:
It’s a tremendous honor. We all say it, we a try to echo it, but literally this a dream come true for a lot of us.  Watching the 90s and the documentaries of those teams, I love just seeing how beautiful the competition is. From past guys to current guys talking about what team would beat this team, but the opportunity and the magnitude of us actually being on the team is the same. We’re Olympians, we share a common ground and were in a fraternity for the rest of our lives.

On what other sports he’s looking forward to watching in Rio:
I’m just excited to see almost any athlete outside of basketball. These are world-class athletes. This is the highest level of competition. It’s basically 30 world championships going on at once so I’m just excited to see extreme high-level competition. 

 

Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)

On the most vocal person on the team:
Definitely Carmelo. I mean, this is his fourth Olympics so every time he speaks we listen because he’s been there and he’s done it

On who keeps the morale high:
Definitely DeMarcus Cousins and our big guys. DeMarcus and DeAndre know how to have a good time.

On the most surprising player so far:
Harrison, the way he’s jumping, man you wouldn’t think he’s just played in 2 straight NBA Finals. He looks as fresh as anybody. That’s the price you get for being young. He’s jumping like a black falcon so I’m happy for him.

On being an Olympian:
“It’s the ultimate honor to represent your country…It’s very special. The lives you get to impact, not only on the court but with the TAPS Program, the service men and women around the country look up to us, you really can’t put a price on it. It’s a dream come true. It’s that simple.”

What are your expectations in Rio?

Well we obviously expect to win gold. We know it’s not going to be an easy road. If we respect our opponent, play hard every night and trust each other then I think we will win gold.”


On Washington St having the most Olympians from any school:

It’s really cool. Obviously our coaching staff did a great job recruiting. Obviously Brock (Motum) and Aron (Baynes), I hope we get to play those with those guys. I played with them in college, so it be really fun. I never thought we’d be playing each other in the Olympics so it’s really special.”





Related Content

The USA fell to Brazil 14-12 in overtime of its quarterfinals match to end its World Beach Games run.

USAB placeholder Image

Tags

Past USA Basketball National Teams featuring NBA elite talents have compiled a 54-2 record in exhibition games since first fielding in 1992 a team of legendary NBA stars. USA Basketball Men's National Teams have competed in exhibition games in 11 countries outside of the U.S. - Melbourne,...

Limiting Russia to just three points, the USA women steamrolled to a 22-3 win and improved to 3-0 in World Beach Games 3x3 action.

The USA featured a balanced scoring attack in its first two games as all four athletes scored between 9-12 points.

The USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team October minicamp is expected to feature 82 participants from Oct. 11-13 at the United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Coach Licensing & Organization Accreditation Login



Forgot Password?