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Additional Quotes: USA U18 Men vs. Canada

  • Date:
    Jul 23, 2016

Shaka Smart (USA U18 and University of Texas head coach)
On fighting off Canada’s runs:

Canada played a really good game. They shot the ball well from outside, particularly (Nickeil) Walker. I think our guys did a good job of keeping their composure. There were a couple times when we got up, and we let down a little bit. But then Canada made runs, our guys kept composure and made good plays. 

On the whole U18 experience:
It was a great experience. We had a terrific group of guys to be around. They were a lot of fun. It’s hard because you can only put five guys on the floor at one time, and we had 12 really talented guys. The guys’ attitudes were great on the whole trip, and they made it about winning the gold medal, and that is what we were able to do.

On Markelle Fultz:
It was a challenging game for him, because he almost immediately got into foul trouble. It’s never easy to play aggressively when you’re in foul trouble, but he did a really good job of attacking when he needed to attack, then coming into the game with fouls and play without fouling out. 

On winning his third gold medal:
Every time you compete in these type of tournaments, you feel a level of pressure when you represent the USA and being committed to win a gold medal. I joked with people before we came down here that if we didn’t win the gold medal, they wouldn’t let us back in the country, so I’m proud we got it done.

Kevin Ollie (USA U18 assistant coach and University of Connecticut head coach)
What does it mean to you to win this gold medal?

This means everything, representing our country here in Chile. The guys played so hard. We started in Colorado, and it seems like a long time ago, but the guys kept getting better and better. Coach Smart did a great job keeping everybody thinking about one goal, and that goal was winning the gold medal. 

Mark Turgeon (USA U18 assistant coach and University of Maryland head coach)
On winning gold:

It’s been a goal my whole life to be a part of USA Basketball and hopefully win a gold medal. The best part about this was being around a great group of guys and a great group of coaches to work with, so it made it even more special. 

Jarrett Allen (St. Stephen's Episcopal School/Round Rock, Texas)
How’s it feel to win this gold medal?

It feels amazing. I always wanted to be on the USA team, and we finally claimed those five games and finally got the gold medal. 

What are you going to take away from this experience?
Being with this team. This team is full of different people and getting to know everybody, made this experience even better.

Mohamed Bamba (Westtown School/New York, N.Y.)
How does it feel to win this gold medal?

It means everything to me, it means the world. To know that the preparation and all of the hard work pays off, means the world to us. 

How’d this experience make you a better basketball player?
The best thing that I’m going to take away from this is how to respond the crowd. The crowd was with us. The crowd was against us. They threw all kinds of stuff at us, but at the end of the day I think it was a great learning experience.

James Banks (La Lumiere School, Ind./Decatur, Ga.)
On winning gold:

It’s amazing. I don’t think it has even hit me yet or set in – just being a part of this team and playing with some of the best players and coming together to get the gold. 

Takeaway from this experience:
I definitely got better –being coached by some of the best coaches in the world, playing great competition, playing with a lot of great athletes and learning how to pick my spots to be a great role player.

Matt Coleman III (Oak Hill Academy/Norfolk, Va.)
What does this experience mean to you? How does it feel to win the gold medal?

It’s an honor and a blessing, its humbling, and it’s just fun. Being with the other eleven guys, the coaches, it’s a great experience and I’m happy to be here. 

What are you going to take away from it?
Just the experience overall, playing out of the country, facing adversity with the cold weather. So, just being able to face adversity and keep on top of it.

Hamidou Diallo (Putnam Science Academy/Corona, N.Y.)
On winning gold:

It’s a blessing. There’s been adversity, so it’s a blessing to finally get what we came down here for. I’m happy to do it with this group of guys right here. 

On tonight’s game:
They hit big shot after big shot, but I knew once we settled in and ran our offense and played defense that we were going to run away with it, and that’s exactly what we did in the fourth quarter.

What will you takeaway from this experience:
Just being humble, and being with this group of guys. We all didn’t get to play the amount that we wanted to play, but we got what we came here for. So, now we just got to go back to our homes and work on our games to get better.

Markelle Fultz (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Upper Marlboro, Md.)
What does it mean for you to get MVP of this tournament?

For me to get MVP means a lot to me, because there’s a lot of good players here, and it’s truly and honor. 

What about that game against Canada? You guys really had to fight back.
I had to fight through foul trouble, and I think the team did a good job of keeping the intensity up, even though we were down a little bit. So, I think we played together, we stayed together and we played hard.

Quade Green (Neumann-Goretti H.S./Philadelphia, Pa.)
What does this experience mean to you? How does it feel to win the gold medal?

It’s a blessing, It’s really a blessing for all of us. It’s our first gold medal. 

How do you think this experience benefited you? Did you get better?
It helped all of us, really, because everybody on our team is good and everybody got to play a lot and everybody got to shine a little bit. So, it really helped everybody.

Kevin Huerter (Shenendehowa Central H.S./Clifton Park, N.Y.)
What does this experience mean to you? What does it mean to win a gold medal?

You know it’s unreal, it’s not like anything else. A huge sense of pride for our country right now. It’s been an exciting time. 

What are you going to take with you? What is going to last, do you think?
It’s been an eventful week, these five games. There was a great atmosphere in a bunch of them. To bring home gold at the end was all we were looking for.

Michael Porter Jr. (Father Tolton Catholic H.S./Columbia, Mo.)
On winning gold:

It’s amazing. I’m happy for this team. One-time gold medalist -- I think it’s all of our first times so, we are just happy to be in this situation. 

On tonight’s game:
Canada is a great team, and it was a great way to win the gold medal. It was as competitive as it could be. I’m really proud of the team.

M.J. Walker (Jonesboro H.S./College Park, Ga.)
On winning a gold medal:

It’s a blessing. It’s my first time being on a USA Basketball team, and being around a great group of guys and coaches like this. It’s definitely a great feeling and a dream come true. 

What do you take away from this experience?
Just being humble at all times, and the competitiveness you have to play with all the time, and learning how to cope with a great group of players and learning how to bring what you have to the table.

Paul ‘P.J.’ Washington (Findlay Prep, Nev./Frisco, Texas)
On tonight’s game:
How does it feel to win this gold medal?

It feels amazing. This is great to represent my country in this way, and I’m proud of all of the guys for winning this.

Did you get better throughout this experience? How?
Yeah, I got better at playing both ends of the floor, playing together with my teammates and just hustling.

Trae Young (Norman North H.S./Norman, Okla.)
How does it feel to win this gold medal?

It’s the best feeling in the world, being able to come out here and represent my country and being able to go back with a gold medal, it’s great. I’m happy to be with this group of guys, and I’ll never forget this experience. 

How’d you get better?
We just continued to follow Coach’s game plan, and we knew if we did that, we’d come out victorious. Hats off to our coaching staff and everybody who helped us get to this point. This is the best experience I’ve been a part of so far.  

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