Additional Quotes: USA 98, Italy 65
USA head coach John Caipari
How good is it for his team at this point to have a little test like they had tonight for a first quarter and a half?
I like it. I wanted to see when you have a 10-0 lead, okay it’s time to get it to 18-2, 22-4. Next group goes in and gets it to 40. We weren’t ready for that. So, all of a sudden, we let another team come back and they’re in the game with a chance to beat you. Now it’s a long way away, but I was happy it happened.
Italy’s four 3s in the first quarter. Was it a matter of adjustments or was it just a matter of knowing what they are doing?
You have to know who the guy is. You can’t help off of him, or if you’re on the weak side and you see him over there you’re flying at him. Like he’s going to bounce the ball, we didn’t do that, we kind of let him move around and go where he wanted to go.
What about PJ Washington’s play tonight? Was it good to see him get his scoring going?
Yeah, well he’s been scoring the whole time. He’s a beast and I don’t know how you guard him. If he gets an angle by you, he’s tough to stop. And he made his free throws today. He’s playing the way we need him to play.
What did you say to the team at halftime?
I just said ‘look, because there’s a rotation and sometimes we’re flipping guys around, I understand if you’re not playing that you’ll be mad, and that’s fine because I want you to be mad about not playing because I want you to want to play. But it can affect how you play.’ We had guys that were pretty deep on the bench that came in and played really well. And that’s a great lesson. I told them after the game that there are things out of your control, but what you do control is how you play. You don’t control minutes; you don’t control the offense; you really don’t control the defense. But you do control how you play, what your attitude is like, what your body language looks like, what kind of teammate (you are). Those are things you have control over and if any of those things you don’t have control over affect how you play, you don’t understand what being professional is. You’ve got to come every day, you’ve got to be ready for your shot and if a coach isn't playing you that’s his choice, maybe it will be the next game. But I’ll be ready because I want to prove I want to play more. If I have an attitude and I’m not playing, you won’t be there, you’re out, you’re done. These are lessons for these guys I’m hoping they’re picking up as we go forward.
Now you advance to the medal round and it’s like a NCAA Tournament, lose and you’re done, have you explained that to the team?
I haven’t, but I’ll talk to them maybe later tonight, talk about it and what we’re doing. It looks like we got Mali so we go one more game against a team that can beat you, but shouldn’t beat us. And then from that point on, those last three (games), every game will be a war. We don’t know who will be on our side (of the bracket) because there are still games to be played, but if you’re lucky enough to win the first one, the second is a war and the third one is a four-point game one way or another.
Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic H.S/San Diego, Calif.)
You came into the game when it was tight and gave a good spark. What did you focus on?
Just get the team hyped. Just try to come in and produce, whether it be offensively, just staying on the glass and trying to be disruptive on D. Like coach Cal always says, just try to have fun out there.
Was it good for his team to have a little test like they had tonight for a first quarter and a half?
It was definitely an eye-opener. Even though we have a really good team, we all saw their arrows coming at our heads and they were giving their all … really it was a good experience, it showed us we need to buckle down and stop taking everything for granted.
Now you advance to the medal round and it’s like a NCAA Tournament, lose and you’re done, what kind of focus does that take?
Great focus, we didn’t come all the way out here for nothing. We want to come out and we want to play our hearts out and we want to leave with the gold. I just think we need to both focus and buckle down, and listen to what coach Cal has to say and just play hard.
Payton Pritchard (Oregon/West Linn, Ore.)
Was it important is it for his team to have a little test like they had tonight for a first quarter and a ha
Yeah, we just have to have the mindset of no matter who we’re playing, to compete every quarter, very game and take a defensive mentality to it.
You and Brandon (McCoy) came in when the game was maybe a one-point, two-point game, and you two scored a couple of points in a row to get the team going. What’s your mindset to that off the bench.
I’m really not thinking anything but I just play hard defense and be aggressive on offense. We really just compete and give it full effort. When I’m in there that’s all I'm really worried about.
Now you advance to the medal round and it’s like a NCAA Tournament, lose and you’re done, what’s got to be the mindset?
The same mindset, play together, but defense is what’s going to win gold for us and if we D up I don’t think anyone can beat us.
How’s nice is it to have a team with some many scoring options?
No one can play just one person, they’ve got play you honest, which means everyone is capable of having a big game.
Immanuel Quickly (John Carroll School/Bel Air, Md.)
How important is it to have a test game like the USA had tonight for the first quarter and a half?
I think it is really important. Last year at the FIBA U17s (World Cup) it was kind of same thing. We blew everybody out in pool play, but the medal rounds get a lot harder and the teams get a lot tougher, so that was good for us.
What were you focusing on tonight?
Individually I was trying to get everybody involved as a point guard, getting PJ (Washington) the ball, Hami (Hamidou Diallo), Cam (Cameron Reddish), all those guys. Just being the best point guard I can.
Would you say a strength of this team is that in any given game a different player can off and have a big scoring night?
Definitely. I think that’s definitely an advantage. You know we’re really deep, we can go 12 and it doesn’t really matter, any guy any night and I think that’s how we approach every game.
P.J. Washington (Findlay Prep/Las Vegas, Nev.)
Thoughts on today’s game?
I thought Italy played great, they hit a lot of shots at the beginning and that forces us to bounce back and play some defense more so than the first two games.
The first quarter, first quarter-and-a-half, the game was close. Is a test like that good for the team?
It was great. We haven’t had a close game before. We just started playing with each other two weeks ago and I feel like it built some chemistry with us and we are just going to play harder next game.
You finished with 20 points today, what were you finding success with?
I was just trying to get to the rack, just trying to be aggressive, just playing my game and I felt like it was working for me tonight.
As the team goes along do you feel like the team continues to develop chemistry.
When we move on and play some hard games we’re going to need to be more focused, play more as a team, and I’m just ready for those games.
How important is it that on this team there are so many scoring options?
Our team is great like that, everybody is versatile, everybody can do everything. So, whoever has it going that night, it’s their night and we’re happ