2019 USA Basketball Men’s National Team Quotes
USA Men's National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo
I know that it’s a ways away, but do you think about these guys that are out here committing their time does it give them any sort of advantage when comes to the Olympic selection and considering them for the Olympic Team next year?
We have always said to our players that we believe equity is important, in other words you put in the time and effort and you show the commitment it’s going to help in terms of our selection for next year, but our focus right now is the World Cup and when it’s over then we can talk about the Olympics.
USA head coach Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs)
The NBA Game has obviously gone this way to where there is so much emphasis on perimeter but in the international game we know it’s a huge part of it to. How much do you need the guys like Brook and Joe Harris to show. Does that give them a leg up that they are very good at that particular skill?
We need everybody. We need lots of things. It isn’t just about shooting. We need to play defense. The game obviously has drifted toward the perimeter all over the world. That’s nothing new. Everybody needs shooters. That’s pretty logical.
Is there any inspiration from the USA national women’s soccer team that perhaps the USA men’s basketball team could take?
I think we were all inspired by what the women did. It was great, and I am sure they were thrilled by it and were impressed by it. It is probably not going to help us in transition defense or making three’s through. We need to do that on our own.
How much did yesterday help to see this team live yesterday?
Just seeing the bodies on the court is what’s important. Seeing how they fit together. The select team today was great. They were pretty fired up and they did their job and what they were supposed to do. A good lesson for our team but that’s why they’re here. To get after us and to play hard and do what they did today. We got a chance to look at a lot of players. Both the 16 that we have and all the select guys. There were some people on the select team that stepped up and did a very good job.
Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings)
What is your offensive identity going to be like?
We have to move and we have to play harder. In the past USA Basketball’s one-on-one talent has been so potent that USA Basketball could rely on Kobe, LeBron, Durant, Carmelo you know just guys who go out there and get a basket. This year the other teams are going to have experience over us.
What did you guys see from the select team?
I think you have to give coach Van Gundy credit. He has really been working with the select team guys to simulate some of the action we are going to see and the young guys have done a great job . They came out here and played the right way and they showed some looks that we are going to see. So I think it was a good test for us to see and understand that the international game is very different from the NBA game.
Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
Jay Wright, Gregg Popovich, Coach Few, Jeff Van Gundy, all these guys around you, what do you learn from these guys?
They all have their own style and coaching traits. It’s like different teachers have different ways of explaining and teaching. Playing for Gregg Popovich, I’ll do that any day of the week.
When was the last time you had to compete for a roster spot?
Must have been Team USA U18. Seems like a long time ago.
Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers)
What kind of strategies did you use to improve your defense?
Get in shape, that is one thing. Making an effort and trying to be physical and trusting my feet and watching film.
What has it been like with Gregg Popovich as the head coach:
It’s been great he is one of the best coaches in the league. He is a great leader for USA Basketball now and in the future and there is a lot to learn from him.
You are going to China with the Lakers in the preseason. How much did that factor into your decision to take part in this?
I really didn’t think about that. I got the call from USAB and they wanted me to come and tryout. I was ecstatic and went.
Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks)
What was it like for you to get the call to Team USA and what was your reaction?
Coach Bud (Mike Budenholzer) took me into the film room and let me know then. Obviously, it was a very cool moment. A huge honor to be part of Team USA and be playing with these guys. For me, to be playing for Coach Pop that’s always been a dream and to be doing all these things is cool.
Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)
Can you tell me what your mentality is like and what your frame of mind is. You don’t have the numbers that jump out at you, but you do have the ability to score the ball and put pressure on the ball, push the pace, good passer, you can finish. Do you feel like you downplay some of that stuff and do whatever the team needs?
The game of basketball is a team sport. I have always been taught if you win everybody wins so I can go out there and try and score 30, but for the most part for me it’s doing whatever the team needs and that takes a lot. I think that is a bigger role than being a prominent scorer because not a lot of guys are willing to sacrifice their individual stats for the team so I feel like that’s just me.
You had a little bit of change in the offseason. You added Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter so what do you feel is the outlook for the season?
We are excited, but right now we are focused on this weekend and its USA Basketball and its playing for our country and trying to win the gold.
How much does that mean when you’re not representing your city, your state or family, but your representing your whole county and the nation and how does that feel?
It’s what you dream of. I have been part of a team before. It really is something special and having an opportunity to do that is special.
Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
Everyone is talking about the number of Celtics here but you guys are all competing with each other for playing time and roster spots. Is that something you guys are thinking about?
Obviously, everyone is grateful to be here and hopefully all four of us make it. That would be amazing. Everyone is out here competing and trying to get better so that’s the main focus.
Is there a feeling of competition on the team right now because this team is a little more unsettled than Team USA’s in the past?
Yes. Everyone wants to make the team. Everyone has a chance. There is not a lot of per se superstars but we have a lot of talented guys trying to prove themselves.
Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
Are you getting familiar with the FIBA game’s rule differences?
Yes, there is a lot. Knocking the ball off the rim, no 3 seconds, physicality and a shorter 3 point line there is a lot that goes into it.
Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)
Is this training camp creating more opportunities for the younger players?
I think so. It’s giving a lot of guys a chance to kind of make a name for themselves. This is huge. This is Team USA basketball. This is something as a basketball player you want to do growing up. I’ve always wanted to be a part of this.
You guys know each other, but being teammates with all these guys and having to forge these relationships so quickly.
Pop talks about how this team has the fall in love with each other real real fast. How do you go about doing that in basically a week and a half?
I thinks it’s mostly off the court. On the court is pretty easy. I think we will get that. I think off the court is what we have to figure out and spend more time with each other and communicate more and just have fun with each other. Like Pop said just love each other because it has to translate to on the court if we want to do something special with this team.