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Jeff Van Gundy

Additional Quotes: USA 72 , Dominican Republic 56

  • Date:
    Aug 30, 2017

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• Box Score
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Jeff Van Gundy (USA head coach)
How satisfying is it to see the team quickly gel to win three games?
We are exceptionally happy. I’m really happy for the guys, because they put a lot in to this. When you put a lot into something, you will get a lot out of it. I’m really happy for them. They’ve committed to what USA Basketball really stands for, and that’s hard work and unselfish play.

How important was the strong start after last night’s emotional win?
I thought our level of readiness to compete tonight was very high. We set a good tone defensively. We got to the basket and attacked. That’s a good combination, when you attack on offense and you’re ready to guard defensively.

What’s the early outlook on the Virgin Islands?
Right now, we haven’t focused too much. We have not had a lot of time with playing three games in three nights. We haven’t focused a lot on our next opponent, but they are long and athletic. We are a small team, so we are going to have to play very well. If we can do that, we like our chances against anybody.

How important has outside shooting been for this team?
Well, tonight, we didn’t shoot the ball well from the perimeter and we won despite that. I think those are the satisfying wins when the ball is not going in the basket and you play well. I think our guys played through a tough night from a shooting standpoint, and did other things exceptionally well. That’s what allowed us to win.

What can you say about Jameel Warney’s contributions these last few days?
The thing I like about Jameel is he gives us an inside presence that we can throw the ball to in the post. He’s got good hands. He can finish with either hand. He is an exceptional offensive rebounder, and defensively, he continues to grow and process. From the first day of training camp until now, there’s no question that he has shown a great deal of improvement. He’s a very good player.

Kendall Marshall (Reno Bighorns)
How important was the strong start?
It was very important, coming off an emotional win yesterday. The crowd wasn’t as big today, and coach really stressed that we needed to bring our own energy. It started on the defensive end. We got a lot of stops early. I want to say the score was 8-2 or 10-2 or something. When we defend, we will be really hard to beat.

What was the key to today’s win?
The win today was all about defense. I think we held them to a low shooting percentage. We finished plays with rebounds. I think the points that they did get, came from self-inflicted mistakes. When we don’t beat ourselves, we can guard anyone.

Halfway there, figuratively speaking, but what will it take to have success these next two games?
We have to stick together. That’s number one. Number two, we have to defend. And three, we have to take care of the ball. When we do those three things, I think we are one of the best teams out here, and we can beat anyone.

What has this experience been like for you so far?
It’s definitely been a learning experience. It’s a completely different game of basketball, from the rules to the ball to 12 new guys that you’ve never played with before. I’m learning as I go. That’s the main thing that I’m taking from it.

Jameel Warney (Texas Legends)
How important was the strong start?
It was really important for us. These last two games, we had kind of slow starts, so this was a point of emphasis to get out there in the first few minutes and set the tone. We did that today. We are happy with our performance, and we’re on to the next one.

What was the key to today’s win?
Just setting the tone. It has been a long three days with three games, so the team with the most energy is going to come out and get the win. We just wanted to set the tone from the jump, to get up on them, to get on the glass, score at will and get some stops.

How satisfying is it to see the team quickly gel to win three games?
It’s great. You have to give credit to our coaching staff. Just two weeks ago, we didn’t know each other, so we put in a lot of work to get to this point. We’re not finished yet. We have two more games to win, and I hope we can do that.

What have you focused on in contributing to the team?
Just playing hard. My role is to come off the bench and give 110-percent effort, so that’s what I do. I try to stay on the glass. I try to make it hard on opposing big men to get defensive rebounds. My job is to play hard every possession. It doesn’t matter if I can’t make the shot or if things aren’t going my way. My job is to give effort.

What is it going to take to have success these next two games?

We have to keep setting the tone, and keep trusting each other on defense. We just have to find a way to have more points at the end of the game.

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