MU19 Exhibition Game 2 Additional Quotes: USA 82, France 60
USA head coach John Caipari
Overall thoughts about the exhibition game:
I don’t know what our assist to turnover ratio was, but I think it was pretty good. We rebounded well. I think our big guys, both (Austin) Wiley and Brandon McCoy, are playing well. We went to a small line-up, played a little zone, I wanted to see some stuff. But that was a good team we played. That team will be one of those teams (contending for a medal), they’ll be one of those teams in the end. That was a good win for us.
I tried to play 10 guys, it made it easier for me to coach and them to play because I told them prior to the game, ‘You two will not play in the first half, I’m playing these 10.’ And then in the second half I said, ‘I’m playing you 10 and that’s it.’
On the play of Hamidou Diallo:
He’s gotten so much better, he’s not the same player he was, he’s just not. He’s better skilled, he’s more disciplined, he’ll still do some undisciplined things but you expect it. What I want him to be, if he wants to be the best player in the country, is be a lock-down defender. Because offense happens. He can run, jump, and move with the ball. He’s shooting it way better than he has and now it’s just, ‘let’s see.’
What things did you see in today’s game that you felt like were an improvement over yesterday’s game?
I thought they played off of one another both on offense and defense better. I thought they talked more, they’re getting more comfortable where they can switch for each other. Those two bigs are rebounding their brains out, and all of a sudden that’s a pretty good team.
On the teams’ balanced scoring again tonight?
That’s great, we had seven guys with six or more points, and of those, four had nine or more, one guy had five. And you’re playing 20 minutes, which is pretty good against that team.
I just think we were more comfortable, we were a little more organized. We’re not running anything crazy fancy, but we’re trying to make sure they have enough to play. I also tried to zone today, I also tried a small lineup today, I thought it all looked great and against a good team.
Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech/Snellville, Ga.)
Talk about the game, what you thought you and the team did well:
As a team, we played together defensively and it just led to easy points offensively. We kept good pressure, we were disruptive, we were able to get a lot of deflections. Offensively, we did a good job of screening for one another, getting each other open, looking for one another and getting open shots, which is all we can ask for.
As far as myself, I did a good job being that defensive stopper, making that extra play, passing the ball one more time and getting it to the open person, and also being aggressive when it was my turn to get to the basket. I was able to make plays for myself and my teammates.
Do you feel like chemistry is developing with you and your teammates?
Definitely. We understand that we all have to give up something for the betterment of team. We’re all sacrificing and we’re having fun with it.
P.J. Washington (Findlay Prep/Las Vegas, Nev.)
What did you like about tonight’s game?
I felt on the defensive end we pressed out and played great defense, we got a lot of rebounds, got out on fast breaks and just converted on those.
How important is that for the offense?
It’s really important. If we get stops, I feel like offense comes easy for us. I feel like we’re not a half court team that we’re more of a fast-break team, so good defense is really important for us.
These two exhibition games the USA played, how important are they in terms of developing a feel for the international game and building chemistry for the team?
I feel like it’s very important because we haven’t been playing together for a long time, and I feel like it’s great to get us some playing time versus some different teams to see where we’re at. The chemistry is great right now, it could be better, but once we get playing some more games, it’s going to get even better.
Austin Wiley (Auburn/Hoover, Ala.).
What did you think about tonight’s game, what did you come away liking that the team or you did?
We played a tough France team. They were pretty good, we just played hard and were more physical and we came out with a good W.
How important is good defense for this USA team?
It’s real important because it gets teams out of whack. It makes them a little nervous and messes with their game, so it’s really important.
Do you feel like the offensive and the chemistry of the team is coming together?
Yeah, it is. Not being together that long, probably less than a week, we’re playing good and we’re looking pretty good, and I think we’ll get even better.