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Harrison Barnes

USA Men’s National Team Quotes - Aug. 25

  • Date:
    Aug 25, 2019

Gregg Popovich (USA and San Antonio Spurs head coach)
How is Sydney?

Beautiful city. We haven’t gotten around yet, obviously, because we just came in last night and then practice today but looking forward to the afternoon and evening. 

How has the team responded to last night?
Good, we had a good practice.

You said the loss humbled the team. Have you noticed a change?
I don’t know if I said it exactly like that, but we’re always, whether it is a victory or whatever, being humble is a good thing. We respect our opponents. They played better than we did. They deserved to win the basketball game.

How do you balance not over-reacting and still learning from a loss?
You do both. You got to react to a loss. You react to a win. You can’t take a win for granted. But, I think that it was a great learning situation for us, just about playing FIBA basketball – the physicality, the rules, how it’s played, how it’s refereed. All those sorts of things. So, it was a great learning experience to have those two games against a very good team.

How valuable can a loss be?
It can be very valuable.

Has anything changed at all in terms of the attitude of the team?
These guys are grown men. They have families. It’s their job. I mean, you guys have a job every day. If you have a bad day, what do you do? Jump in a hole somewhere? You go to work the next day.

On people saying this is the golden age of Australian basketball:
I can see why. The whole organization deserves a lot of credit. They’ve been building towards this for a long time, to be recognized as one of the best programs in the world. And, they have a chance to win the whole deal, because of the camaraderie they have, the experience they have and the improvement that they have made basketball-wise. They’ll have more guys coming up through the pipeline for sure. That takes time. That takes leadership from the organization. It takes the guys wanting to be serious about it. They should be very proud of themselves.

On receiving a special ball .. have you been moved at all by this indigenous basketball program?
Oh, sure. Patty has taken a lot of time with our team to talk about that. We recognize Mabo day every year, at some point. Patty has given presentations, and I mean presentations – talking about the clothes, instruments, dance, the whole deal. He is serious. It’s a beautiful history to remember. It wasn’t very pleasant in a lot of ways, obviously. We all understand that. But, for him to acknowledge it is beautiful. And to not let it be forgotten. So, he’s been really important, not just here, but helping our players understand what a big world it is out there. We’ve had a lot of foreign players over the years, so I just think that it makes for a richer mix culturally. It’s like traveling without traveling when you talk to people from other places, and they are right there in your locker room. It’s pretty wonderful.

Does traveling to Australia have more meaning to you after you’ve had so many Australian players?
Oh, sure. Because of the seasons and everything and the way that the NBA works, I haven’t been able to get over here. And Brett Brown has always told me not to come, unless I have at least two weeks. When does a coach have two weeks? So, I haven’t been able to do it. But, it goes all the way back to ’99 with Andrew Gaze, when he was on our team for our first championship. So, I feel that connection, and I’ve always respected what does on here. You even have gun laws that make sense compared to some countries.

How disappointing is it to lose Kyle Kuzma to injury?
It’s a huge disappointment, because he was a young, energetic guy who was really learning and could play a lot of positions for us. Mostly, I feel badly for him, because he missed play, and this holds him back a little bit for the season also. So, hopefully, he’ll heal quickly. But, he was wonderful while he was here, and we do miss him.

Obviously, you have the talent to make up for his departure?”
Well, every team is confident in what they do. But, you go play the games and see what happens. We won the first Australia game, because we did some things pretty good. The second game, they did them better than we did. So, it’s a matter of, over forty minutes, trying to compete and execute for more of those minutes than your opponent, is what it is coming down to. We did it once, and they did it once.

On Canada:
They’re really a fast team. More than anything, they are fast. Nick (Nurse) does a great job with them. They pass the ball. They move. They are hard to keep up with. So, it will be another really good test for us, for sure.

Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
How do you guys tread the line between not overreacting to the loss but also taking it seriously and learning from it?

I don’t look at it as a line. I think it’s more four dimensional. I think there are infinite ways we can go. I just think that we have to go in the right direction, rather being on a line, whether we got to do this or do that. We have to move in the right direction, move forward in terms of our mindset, in terms of a mentality, and I think that’s bigger than whether we overreact or underreact. We got to change our mentality. 

What is the team’s mentality right now?
The game comes in phases. This is a part of our journey. This is part of our process as a team.  We’re playing for something bigger than ourselves. Having an understanding of that and a humility of that is something we all have to have. I think we could have showed that a little bit better against Australia. We got to do a better job of having the right mentality, whether it’s an early game, whether it’s a back-to-back, whatever it is. We got to come out and be the aggressors, rather than the one being seeked.

What is the mindset now that the roster is set against your emotions of losing a guy like Kuzma?
Obviously, I want to wish Kuz a healthy recovery … make sure he’s ready for the upcoming season. Of course, losing him is tough. We’ve got to come out. We got a job to do at the end of the day. We got to do our job. Period.

Are you excited to get back out there after a loss and what do you know about Canada?
Absolutely. I’m always excited to come play basketball. Coming and bringing some energy, being aggressive on defense, being aggressive on offense. They have some good players, and we have respect that. So, coming out and showing that humility for the game and playing it the right way no matter who is the opponent.

Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
What are your thoughts on Sydney so far?
When I think of Australia, I think of the opera house. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind. So, to be able to see that when we drove in was really cool to me – something I’ve always wanted to see. I’ve seen “Finding Nemo,” so as a kid you want to see that. I love it. It’s beautiful. It’s warm. It’s just relaxing and feels laid back. Of course, we’ve only been here for eight or nine hours, or whatever it is, but I like it so far.

How are you enjoying the experience off the court?
It’s great. A lot of these guys I’ve known. You know of these guys, but you don’t really know who they are as people. And you really get to know them through this experience, whether it’s team dinner or on the bus, on the plane, in meetings, in practice. You get to know guys and read guys’ habits. And, I think playing in this is a true honor, because not only are you playing with the best guys in the world, but you get to play in front of 55,000 people, an experience that not many people get.  I think it’s very special. 

What went into your decision to play for USA Basketball?
For me, this is an amazing experience. A lot of guys that did pull out have played in this. I want to be a part of this.  ’ve always wanted to, and I never got the opportunity in high school or college. To be part of this, I think it’s special. The game of basketball takes you in so many different places. I don’t think I would have been able to come to Australia if it wasn’t for Team USA. I think it’s stuff like that that I really wanted to a part of. Also, winning a gold medal is something I really want to be able to do. For everyone I talked to, from D-Wade to Chris Paul to Melo (Carmelo Anthony) to everybody that’s doing this, they’ve always said it was a great experience.

So, yesterday’s loss hasn’t shaken any one’s confidence?
Not at all. I think everybody makes more of a big deal out of it than we do. For us, the main thing we learned is that this is a dogfight. It’s a little bit different than NBA basketball. I think that’s one thing we’re getting used to. These teams have played with each other since they were much younger. We have about three or four weeks under our belt. So, we have to be able to match that chemistry, match that intensity as quickly as we possibly can. 

How hard is it to adjust to the different rules and the different way the game is played in FIBA?
At the end of the day, it’s basketball. It’s a little different, but at the end of the day, the schemes are the same. The object of it is the same. For us, just finding ways to improve upon that is what we’re trying to do.

Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
How does it feel to be named to the World Cup roster?
It’s a great feeling. It’s an honor to represent your country. I’ve been a part of USA Basketball for a while, so it’s just cool to see my transition from 16-and-under until now with the National Team.

What are your thoughts on Canada?
it is going to be a tough game. No game, especially at the national level, are easy. Everybody has pride for their country and representing where they are from. So, it’s going to be a tough game.

Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
How does it feel to be named to the World Cup roster?
This is amazing for me. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s been a long time coming. You start with like the Nike Hoop Summit in high school, then the Select Team, and then you finally make it up to here It’s pretty cool.

What there any different feel in practice today?
We were humbled a little bit. Just because you are Team USA doesn’t mean you are going to win every game. Teams are looking to beat us, and we understand that now. We just have to bring it every night. There are no nights off.

What are your thoughts on Canada?
We know they are a physical team. They have a few NBA guys. They are talented. We expect a dog fight, kind of like we were in last night.

Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs)
What there any different feel in practice today?
Everybody was just trying to focus in on the mistakes that we made last game, try to improve each and every day and learn from it. 

How does it feel to be named to the World Cup roster?
It’s obviously a blessing. I think anybody would say that, just to represent your country and play for something greater than yourself.

What are your thoughts on Canada?
They are going to come out and try to compete, and they are going to come out and try and beat us, like pretty much every team. So, we got to be ready to play and be ready to match their energy.

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