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Mohamed Bamba

Additional Quotes: USA U18 Men vs. Chile

  • Date:
    Jul 21, 2016

Shaka Smart (USA U18 and University of Texas head coach)
On tonight’s game:

First of all, Chile was extremely tough and aggressive tonight. I thought they played great in front of their home crowd. They played with a lot passion early, and when we had defensive breakdowns, they made us pay by making shots. I thought our guys did a really good job in the second half of playing with more energy and more connectivity on the defensive end. We were able to force more stops. 

On Kevin Huerter hitting four 3-pointers during a second-quarter run:
That was huge, because we were struggling to make shots. We were not getting the ball inside as much as we wanted to; they were packing it in. Kevin went in, and he changed the whole complexion of the game. In fact, he changed the game so much that they went to a box-and-one for the rest of the game when he was in, which made it easier for our other guys. He was definitely the MVP on the offensive end tonight.

What was the difference in the third quarter?
Our guys picked up our intensity level a couple of notches. I think we realized, hey, Chile is here. They are playing extremely hard, they are making some shots and they are not easy to guard. We played with more energy. It still wasn’t perfect, but that allowed us to get stops. 

Is the team where you want it to be headed into the semifinals?
We are where we want to be in terms of results, but we still have to get way better in terms of our progression as a team. We have made progress since we started practicing. Obviously, we have a long way to go to get to where we want to be. But in a situation like this, we have 48 hours left to be on the basketball court. So, what we have to do is play better tomorrow than we did today.

Mohamed Bamba (Westtown School/New York, N.Y.)
On tonight’s game:

We knew that we were a very good team, because we saw on film what they can do. And, I actually know one of their bigs, who plays on our 15-and-under (summer) team. We knew they were going to be very good and that the crowd was going to be that rowdy and into it. 

What was the difference in the second half?
Our defensive intensity was the difference. I think we picked it up to a whole other level and got a lot of dunks, layups and 3s.

How much fun was it to play in front of a packed house like that?
It was very fun. I would honestly play like that all the time if I could. 

Is the team where it needs to be headed into the semifinals?
I think so, mentally. I think physically we are a little bit fatigued from this game. It was very physical. But we will sit down and talk and go through film again, and I think we will be alright.

Matt Coleman III (Oak Hill Academy/Norfolk, Va.)
On tonight’s game:

The first half, we got really sped up. We were fighting against the crowd. But I think in the second half, we relaxed, we shared the ball, we stepped up on defense and we got the win. 

We had to handle some adversity. Kevin (Huerter) saved us in the first half by knocking down some 3s, and in the second half we just came together and got the job done.

Kevin Huerter (Shenendehowa Central H.S./Clifton Park, N.Y.)
On his 3-point shooting:

I came in off the bench, and Coach is always saying, ‘always be ready to give us a lift.’ My teammates found me when I was open, and I knocked them down. 

On tonight’s game:
We definitely didn’t have our best game, but in front of a hostile crowd like that, they played really well. Their crowd really helped them. We faced adversity in the first half. We weren’t making shots. They were in the game with us, we were down at couple of points, but we pulled it out. I think we showed a lot about our team with this win.

M.J. Walker (Jonesboro H.S./College Park, Ga.)
On tonight’s game:

It was a good win, especially to win with a crowd like that. We still got a lot of work to do. 

How do you feel headed into the semifinals?
It definitely feels great to reach the semifinals here in Chile. We are progressing every game, and we have a lot to look at in film to get better for tomorrow.

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