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Gary Trent

Additional Quotes: USA Men's U17 World Championship Team 98, Lithuania 70 (semifinals)

  • Date:
    Jul 1, 2016

Zaragoza, Spain • Semifinals

USA head coach Don Showalter (USA Basketball)
On today’s game:
We knew we were going to get their best shot early. They were fresh, they hit a few 3s, they had some really great action on their offense that we didn’t do a very good job defending to start with. But We adjusted really, really well as the game went on. Our kids communicated with each other very well. We cut all of their screening action down, so they weren’t able to get very good shots. As the game went on we got a lot better.

We had some good overall performances from a lot of people. Gary (Trent Jr.) played one of his better games tonight. I thought the way he managed the game was really good. Kevin Knox had a really nice game tonight, probably one of his best games. Wendell got in foul trouble early, but he came back and played pretty well after that. We also got some good minutes Javonte Smart, he has played really well the whole tournament. He’s one of those guys who just adds a lot, he gets a lot of assists and really picks up the energy. Then we have great bench strength. Collin (Sexton) comes off the bench and gives us so much, Markus Howard came off the bench strong, Jaren Jackson added a lot, especially on the defensive end, and Carte’Are (Gordon), he’s just a brute in there. Really, everybody added something and I was pleased with how they all played.

What kind of adjustments did you make?
We just made a few simple adjustments on our man defense. We went behind screens that tried to go over them, where we got caught at a few times. We switched a few times wherever we thought we could switch. We didn’t make any major changes, but just enough that it threw them off a little bit.

Another thing is that our press has really bothered people. We put the press on, we have length and quickness that’s going to bother some people, so we really just wore them down. We can go 12 deep and our bench just wore them down.

On the USA’s rebounding:
We outrebounded them by 55-37 and obviously rebounding is one of our strengths, so we just told our guys that there’s no way that they can box you out. So, go to the glass every time, you’re going to get some offensive rebounds.

On playing Turkey for the gold medal:
It’s kind of like when we scrimmaged Canada last year and then we played them in the gold medal game and it was a completely different type of game, they knew us a little bit more. As a coach I’m always concerned about those things and we addressed that after the game with our players. But, we’ve come to this point in time and I think our players will be ready.

Carte'Are Gordon (Webster Groves H.S./St. Louis, Mo.)
On tonight’s game:
It was really tough, we had to stay together. It was really a struggle, but we stayed together and fought for the win.

On the third quarter:
We were just staying together as a team. We knew that we had to come out in the second half with a lot of energy and play the way that we know how to play. And luckily we did that and we got the win.

What did coach talk to you about at halftime?
He told us that we have to be pit bulls, not poodles and that this was Wendell’s (Carter) half, so Wendell had to do what he does best and he did that. He came out strong. He was a leader and we followed his lead.

On playing Turkey for the gold medal:
I think it will be tough. I think that they think they know what we do, so they’re going to try to come out harder. But hopefully we respond the way we’re supposed to and we’ll take care of it.

Markus Howard (Findlay Prep, Nev./Chandler, Ariz.)
On Lithuania’s play tonight:
They are a great team. They were here (in the semifinals) for a reason, so we didn’t want to take them lightly. They’re a great team, greatly coached, they played hard until the very end. They played very physical with us, they shot the ball very well and played very well under pressure. Hats off to them, they played a great game, but we played to the best of our abilities and pulled out the win.

What did coach talk to you about at halftime?
He wanted us to push the tempo and keep on doing what we were doing defensively, lock in on getting through screens and talking defensively. And then offensively, rotating the ball, which was just playing together better really.

How were you able to remain composed in such a chippy game?
For the six guys who were in Argentina last year, it was really a lot like the Canada game. We’ve been through that, so our minds were already mentally prepared for an obstacle like that, so their physical play didn’t really affect us much. We all just locked in together and really said we had each other’s backs. When we decided that we knew that nothing was going to get in our way.

On playing Turkey for the gold medal:
We have to go into it like we didn’t even play them. We have to go in like it’s 0-0, there are no games. We have to go in with a clear mind and play to the best of our ability and play the best USA Basketball we can play.

Gary Trent Jr. (Apple Valley H.S./Burnsville, Minn.)
On his play against Lithuania:
I’m just starting into get into a groove now, I’m getting into a good groove. We have a chance to win another gold medal, so we have to take advantage of it. We played Turkey and beat them, but like coach said, last year we had the same thing, we scrimmaged Canada but it was different playing them for a gold medal, so we have to bring it. We have to come out and play hard.

On playing Turkey again:
They’re just like us. They have athletic wings, they’re pretty decent on the inside, so they’re a good all-around team. Coach said that they put a lot of money into their basketball programs and they care about basketball a lot. So, we have to come out hard and assert ourselves early and show what we can do.

How were you able to keep your composure in this physical game?
Coach told us they’re going to come out chippy, the refs are not going to give us calls, and we know that, so just keep playing. Don’t be surprised by it. Whatever happens, just go hard and keep playing hard.

How does it feel to be heading into the gold medal game?
It’s a great feeling. There’s a lot of urgency. I wish I could go out there and play it right now if I could.



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