Additional Quotes: USA 109, Angola 68
USA head coach John Caipari
Overall thoughts about tonight’s game:
I thought we made some strides. We’re defending a little bit better, we still have to talk more. All I’m trying to get them to do is play with great pace and then if it’s not there, run something. You know, just make a play. I wanted to try some big lineups, so I tried Louis (King) in there with those guys to see how that worked. We’re playing zone at least a quarter every game in case we have to go zone if we get into foul trouble. I’m trying to get everybody minutes so that we can figure out if we ever have to pare down, who we pare down to. If we’re playing nine, who would those nine be? The only way you can figure that out is to really give everybody some minutes, which is what we’re trying to do.
The USA’s athleticism again seemed to give your opponent problems.
For the opening games, yeah, but it will get tougher as we go forward.
How important are these games to make those strides and get ready for the medal round?
Well the scrimmages or the friendlies against Lithuania and France were huge. As a matter of fact, the scrimmages back in the states, in Colorado Springs, were important to really figure out who we had. And now playing in these games and trying to continue to go on the path we’re on is pretty important. I keep telling them, ‘let’s play against ourselves, let’s not worry who’s out there. Let’s just keep seeing if we can execute better, if we can concentrate more, if we can talk more, so by the end we’re in pretty good shape and a pretty good team.’ Right now, this is our second game, so that means we have two more games and hopefully we have three more so you have five games and seven days left. Two of those are off days. So, it’s trying to continue to try to get better and worry about that process more than the score, especially when you’re winning by 40.
Immanuel Quickly (John Carroll School/Bel Air, Md.)
The USA has built big leads in its first two game pretty quickly, do you try and focus on things other than the score?
Basically, you just want to not play against an opponent, kind of go against yourself. Everybody is not as talented as us, they’re good teams but not as talented, so you just want to go against yourself to get better.
What do you focus on when you’re out there?
Basically being the best teammate that you can be. Everybody here is talented so you just try to do the little things.
How much fun is it to play with a group of players like this?
It makes it a lot easier. When you’re on an AAU team or a high school team, you’ve got to do everything. But on this team, everybody can do everything, so it makes it a lot easier.
What do you think will be a key to being successful in this championship?
As long as we defend, the offense will take care of itself. If we defend each and every possession, we’ll be good.
Austin Wiley (Auburn/Hoover, Ala.)
How important are games like this so as a team the USA can continue to make progress as a team?
These games are really important to just help us get our team chemistry together, just everybody getting more comfortable with each other and this is a great win to give us more confidence.
What did you try to focus on in today’s game?
Just rebounding, doing my role. Scoring when I got the ball, cleaning up on misses and hitting my free throws.
How important is it to keep that focus in a game that was out of reach quickly?
You don’t want to lose focus, it’s very important because if you lose focus the team could come back and you could end up playing bad. So, you always got to keep your focus in any environment.
Are you enjoying playing on a team like this that features so much talent?
I’m really enjoying this. Last year was fun (USA U17) and this year is also fun. It will be fun in the future seeing where everybody goes (to college), especially because I was on a team with them. So, it’s been really fun.