Additional Quotes: USA 108, Iran 48
USA head coach John Caipari
Overall thoughts about the game:
Even in these kind of events, NCAA events, FIBA events, the first game is the hardest to get started and get your feet underneath you. Even though we had a couple of exhibition games and both opponents were pretty good, we came out like ‘what in the world?’ We almost went a quarter, well we went six minutes, having four points and how in the world we scored that many… But eventually we’re going to wear people down. Now the question is when we get one of the good teams later in the week, will we start better, will we play better, will we have some fire? But I thought they got it, and they played and they’re trying. It’s just hard, we’ve been together eight days, come on. It makes it tough, but hopefully we’ll continue to get better.
You’ve got to like the scoring balance that has been show through the two exhibition games and tonight’s game.
Yeah, I don’t know what the balance was tonight, but my hope is that we’re having four and five guys in double figures and then we’re having another three or four that are having seven, six, eight points, nine points, and if we have that, it’s really hard to guard a team that can score in so many ways.
Brandon (McCoy) was good today. Austin (Wiley) wasn’t as good but he blocked shots and rebounded. Our assist to turnover ratio was good, but it should’ve been, we’re better than this team.
Do you think Carsen Edwards gave the team a little spark when they seemed stuck on four points?
Yeah, he played well. He went in and did a good job.
Given that the team has only been together eight days, how important is defense and getting some of the offensive transition using the team’s athleticism?
The only thing you can really teach, you can give them a couple of actions that make them move the ball, pass it from side to side. But you’ve got to get them to attack and be unselfish. They can’t settle for 3s, you can’t settle for tough shots, (you need to) attack and make an easy shot yourself or for a teammate. On defense, you must be disruptive. We’re long enough that we can switch every position; we can press and scramble and steal, and that’s what we’re going to have to do, that’s how’ll we’ll have to play and the reason is, these other teams may have been together two months, two years, three years, they’re 16, 17, 18, 19 year olds all playing on the same team, so they’re going to run their stuff better, so you’ve got to disruptive.
Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky/Queens, N.Y.)
You had to be patient a little bit tonight with your scoring. The whole team started slow and then the U.S. got on a run. Talk about how you were feeling.
Every game you’re going to face some adversity, you just have to overcome it. In the first half, our starters didn’t play as well, but the bench picked it up and gave us the spark we needed.
The game was choppy, a lot of fouls were called. The U.S. athleticism was shown in the second half. How important is it to get up and down the court, pressure defensively and get teams out of synch?
I would say that’s probably our best attribute. We’re athletic, long, so we’re very disruptive on defense. Once we start playing great defense our offense comes easily. That’s what happened in the second half, everybody just started playing defense. We got used to the refs calling the little ticky-tack fouls and we just played through it and left it all on the court.
How much fun is a game like that, getting up and down with all these athletic players that can score, that can play defense, that can get out and run. Does it make it a lot more fun?
That’s great. Honestly for me, it’s just been great getting out there. Believe it or not, that’s my first game since December, I haven’t played an official game since December. So just me getting out there and being able to play, I just feel great. I’m happy that I played alright. I think I can play much better, but I’m happy with the way I played having not played in an organize game since December. I was just happy to be out there and we got the W as well.
Carsen Edwards (Purdue/Atascocita, Texas)
The USA in the opening quarter kind of stuck on four points and you came in off the bench and gave the team a spark. What did you want to try to do?
Just come in and just try to bring energy, and just get whatever I need to do to help. I just tried to come in and defend and make sure not to let my man score. But just bringing a spark off the bench was mainly what I was trying to do.
Is that going to be a strength of this team, the fact that anybody can score? Anyone coming in off the bench has the ability to really ignite a nice run?
Yes, I believe that. We have a lot of players off the bench as well that can really play, as well as some really good players on the floor that start. I think that’s a strength that we feel we are a deep team and we’re just going to keep working.
What about on the defensive end, having such an athletic team allows you to do some pressing and getting teams out of their game, and then get into transition and get some easy points?
Yeah, a lot of guys on this team are real athletic, they’re long, they can jump, they’re fast and that really helps them on the defensive end and I feel like that helps on the long run with running and jumping on defense with the press and the full court.
Is a game like this fun because it was so athletic and up and down?
Yes, I enjoy playing like that the most., so it’s good to play like this and that’s what coach Cal wants us to do, and I enjoy it.
Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic H.S/San Diego, Calif.)
Talk about tonight’s game, what was important for the U.S. to do?
Mostly I just wanted to come in and just make my mark out on the offensive side or defensive side. One thing that I wanted to do when I came in was to grab every rebound and I felt like I tried my hardest and did pretty good on that.
The U.S. got stuck at four points for a few minutes but then some people came in off the bench and suddenly the team had a huge run. How important is it to have a bench like this where anybody can score and spark the team?
Carsen (Edwards) came in a played really well. He came in with that attack mode, he set fire for us to come in and just play as hard as we could. It was really good to have a good bench to come in and set that tone. When the starters saw how we were playing, they were like ‘Yeah, we’re going to play harder.’
The defense is key for transition and scoring, do you see defense as part of your role, to come in and intimidate a little bit in the paint?
For sure, if I don’t anything on the offensive side I want to make sure I make an impact on the defensive side. Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the hoop for you but you can always make something happen on the defensive end like diving for loose balls, rebound, block shots, I just want to make an impact no matter what.
How much fun is a game like this because it is up and down, high paced?
It’s just so fun when you get to go up and down, just running. That’s what you want to do. At first the refs weren’t really letting us play in the first half, but in the second half they let a couple of calls go and we started to get a little rhythm, and it was a lot of fun.