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Additional Quotes: USA U18 Men 104, Argentina 92

  • Date:
    Jun 15, 2018

USA head coach Bill Self (University of Kansas)
Was it good to have a game like this to get you more focused heading into the gold medal game?
Yeah, there’s no question. We haven’t really been challenged much. I thought Argentina played very well and smart. I think they exposed us in ways, because we’ve been able to be a little careless and loosie-goosey and not pay for our mistakes against some of our other opponents, and they made us pay for our mistakes when we weren’t very sound.

It was a good win. Argentina’s really good. If they had their complete team (point guard Francisco Farabello was out), of course if we would have had (Tyrese) Maxey also, well … that may be a wash because Maxey’s playing so good. But, they’ve got a good team. Canada beating them the way they beat them in the first game, by 17, it may be as impressive a win that there’s been in the tournament so far.

What are some of the things you can take from this game?
We didn’t guard the ball worth a flip, so we’ve got to do that. This was the first big man that we’ve had to guard the whole tournament. He’s a true back to the basket big, although Canada’s got a couple, this guy gave us some problems. Hopefully that helped us for tomorrow.

We’ve got to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us. Then, we have to be more patient in offense. We scored 104 points or whatever, that should be plenty of points. But it was an ugly 104 points. I didn’t think we shared the ball like we had.

What is it like to coach this team?
They’re great, great kids. They’ve been fun to be around. There’s so many things that aren’t necessarily bad habits, but maybe aren’t easy for them to adjust to when you’re playing with 11 other pretty good guys. Certain guys are used to playing a certain way. We’ve asked them to give up  themselves to do what’s best for the group, and I think for the most part they’ve done a really good job of that.

What’s going to stop you from capturing gold here?
Obviously if we come out and are not prepared and obviously anything can happen. We played Puerto Rico twice, once in a friendly scrimmage and then we played them the other day. So, we know them pretty well. But, Canada, what they did to the USA team last year in the 19-and-unders should be motivation for us. But it should also be motivation for them because they’ve already beat us once, so why can’t they do it again? So, we’ll have to amp up the intensity tomorrow. You don’t always play well when you have limited practice, but you can do a lot more to make sure the other team doesn’t play well. Hopefully we’ll be better tomorrow defensively.  

Ayo Dosunmu (Morgan Park H.S./Chicago, Ill.)
Was it good to have a game like this to get you more focused heading into the gold medal game?
Yeah. Argentina was a tough team. We know we’re playing good teams out here in the FIBA (Americas U18) tournament. I knew and I tried to tell my team that it wasn’t going to be easy in the final four. But, at the end of the day it’s all about getting the W and we’re onto the gold medal game.

On his spark midway through the fourth quarter:
I just wanted to bring my defensive intensity. I know the type of player I am, I know what I like to bring, so I try to show my energy and do what I need to help my team win.   

On Argentina’s 26 trips to the line:
We’re an aggressive team, and the whistles didn’t go our way. But, that’s not going to stop tomorrow. Whoever we play in the championship, we’re going to come out and bring the same pressure defensively.

Quentin Grimes (College Park H.S./The Woodlands, Texas)
Is a game like this important heading into the gold medal game to get you refocused?
Definitely. We showed that we can definitely bounce back even though they were cutting close. We didn’t execute coach’s game plan (in the first half), we came out executing it in the second half and came away with the win.

On his play against Argentina:
Coach Self pulled me aside last night, had us watch film as a team and he told me to guard my man, be more aggressive, play my game.  

What do you take from this game?
We need to lock down on defense. We gave up lot of fast 3s, we don’t know who we play tomorrow but defensively we have to lock down a lot more tomorrow to win in the gold medal game.

Matthew Hurt (John Marshall H.S./Rochester, Minn.)
On not being a traditional big man:
Every day I try to work on different things, craft-wise: ball handling, shooting, getting into the weight room. I try to do all the little things to help complete my game.

On the teams camaraderie:
It’s been great. The last two weeks or so we’ve been together and it’s been fun. We’ve been getting together a lot on off days and stuff like that. Just in general I think we’re getting closer and closer.

On being coached by Hall of Famer Bill Self:
It’s really a blessing to put the USA jersey on, some people don’t get to do it. It’s really a blessing. And playing for coach Self, he’s a Hall of Famer, he’s a great coach. He’s going to hold you accountable, and I think that’s one of the realest things a coach can do.

Coby White (Greenfield H.S./Goldsboro, N.C.)
What did you see out there that allowed you to get such easy buckets?
Just attacking, attacking off ball screens, getting everybody involved, just knocking down shots.

What can you take from this game heading into the gold medal game tomorrow?
We got to be ready to compete. We got to be ready to go to war. I feel like we’ll be fully prepared.

Can you improve defensively, this was the most points any team has scored on you?
Our defense wasn’t the best tonight. But, we’ll get back to the drawing board and we’ll be better defensively tomorrow.

 

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Be sure to watch the June 16 gold medal game, streamed live on USA Basketball’s Facebook page, as the USA competes for a fifth-straight U18 gold medal.

 

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