USA head coach Kevin Sutton
“I thought tonight’s game was a well-played game. I have had the opportunity to coach under USA Basketball for the last two summers with seven of these young men. I thought tonight’s game was well-played, and having the opportunity to play against several of the players on the international team… I was just honored to be the coach, and was really pleased with how well we played today.”
On the performance of Michael Gilchrist:
“Michael Gilchrist is a tremendous player. He always has stats in every category. I don’t think there’s one thing he does particularly well—I think he just plays the game of basketball so hard, and that’s the reason why you see that he has stats across the board. Just a tremendous player. I liken him to a basketball player without a position.”
On the competitiveness of the team:
“They’re very competitive. I think if this was a tiddlywink contest they would want to win that, too. They were really successful for the past two years. We won the FIBA Americas down in Argentina at U16, and then we went to Germany and won the World Championship in U17. We’ve only lost one game, and that was to a U19 team in a friendly game over in Lithuania, and they were very upset with that because they felt that we should have won that game as well. Any time we have a shooting contest or a defensive contest, these guys want to win. Because they want to win in every competition, that’s what makes them the great players that they are, and collectively makes them the great team playing for USA Basketball every time that they have the opportunity.”
Key to tonight’s game:
We implemented our game plan all week long and I thought the kids really believed in it and they really believed in their own talents. So tonight we went out and showed how talented we are, we executed our game plan and I really like how we sustained it over the course of the game.
What was the game plan?
We wanted to hang our hats on our defense and I thought we did that especially at the beginning game. All the kids in this game are talented offensively, but for us it was important to play on the defensive end and we established it from the beginning and it helped us be successful tonight.
Were you happy with your team’s inside play?
I really was. I knew James McAdoo because I’ve been coaching him the last two summers so I knew he would be rock solid defensively. But I thought Rakeem Christmas and Anthony Davis did a tremendous job on the defensive end against their inside strength and I thought they exerted themselves on the offensive glass as well and that contributed to us being really successful early.
How important was having 10 talented players so you could work at wearing them down?
I’m a big believer in having depth and this particular team you have quality depth. Having a bench where you could rotate players in freely with very little to no drop off was part of our game plan. We wanted to use our length, we wanted to use our athleticism, and we wanted to make it a full court game versus a half court game. So having depth contributed to us being successful tonight.
“This is my first time playing with USA Basketball, and it’s a great opportunity that I got selected and got to play with them, and playing against the top talent in the world. We really locked down on defense. Defense leads to offensive fast breaks, and that’s how we got our points. Luckily we came out with the win.”
On playing against Bismack Biyombo and the rest of Team World:
“They’re all big, especially him. They play great defense because they’re long. (The guards) tried to get us the ball in the post, and when we got it we executed. They looked for the lobs and we got a chance to finish around the rim. We’re quicker and longer, so we got up and down the floor and that’s how we got most of our points.”
On playing against fellow Kentucky commit Kyle Wiltjer:
‘It was great. I know Kyle can shoot so I tried to close out with high hands and make sure he couldn’t shoot. After that I wasn’t really guarding him, but it was a great opportunity just to go against him and experience what we’re going to be capable of doing next year.”
“It’s just a great opportunity to come out here and play with the top talent in the world. I was very excited that USA Basketball got us all together, kept us in shape and got us ready to play against this team. Fortunately for us, we came out with the victory.”
On his slow start to the game:
“It’s hard to get a rhythm. A lot of us haven’t played with each other. I thought a lot of us actually did great for having not ever played with each other. I started out a little bit slow, and then I knocked down a couple shots and after that I just kept going. My teammates did a good job of finding me, and I just tried to get out in the open court because Anthony (Davis), (James) McAdoo and all of those guys were working so hard getting the rebounds. We were just sitting right there waiting so it worked out.”
On what Trail Blazers point guard Andre Miller said to him at halftime:
“He said that he’s a big fan of mine, which is an honor because I’ve looked up to those guys and him. Watching him last night, he was ballin’ for the Blazers. For him to say that to me just means that some of my hard work is paying off. He told me to always stay humble and to stay hungry, because some kids get to this opportunity and they think they’ve already made it, and then they just slide right off. I’m determined not to be that person, and I’m just going to keep staying humble and try to get to where he is.”
World Team head coach Roy Rana
On tonight’s game:
“It’s always tough losing but like I said just right now to the guys in the locker room, this experience is so much bigger than the actual game. It’s been a phenomenal week, these are a phenomenal group of guys and an incredible amount of talent on the world team. Unfortunately, we weren’t the better team today. You have to give full credit to the US team. That’s a very, very special group of US players, and I think their success over the past couple years internationally speaks for itself, but I think we’re going to be hearing from this group on the world team, a lot of these guys are quality kids who are going to do special things in the future.”
On Biyombo (12 points, 11 rebounds, 10 blocks):
“It’s incredible because you’re always a little bit in awe, you become a fan watching him play. It’s hard as a coach because he does so many spectacular things. But on one hand, watching the way he’s performed in practice all week, I’m kind of not surprised. It’s been consistent every practice in. He came off a plane and we asked him whether he wanted to practice after a long flight from Europe, he said he wanted to practice, he stepped on the court and he had an immediate impact, jet lagged and tired. He’s a phenomenal talent. It’s been a pleasure to coach him, and I think he showed a lot of people tonight what kind of player he is and what he can become.”
On speed of US team, especially early:
“It was certainly something we knew was coming. I think at times, we forget that these are 17, 18 year old kids. Saric was 16, he turned 17 when he was here. I think we look at them almost like they’re already professionals and they’re young kids. They’re learning, these are all growth experiences for them. We had a tough first quarter, I thought we came out and guys were a little bit nervous. For many of these kids, it’s the first time they’ve ever been in the US, it’s the first time they’ve ever been in an NBA facility. I thought as the game went on, we started to see them really show their talent and their potential. But again, against a great team like the US, we talk about it, they get a couple of runs and it’s really, really difficult to come back from it. We chipped away but really that first quarter and our poor free throw shooting was the difference.”
On tonight’s game:
“I was trying to win. We came here, we’ve been practicing for four days. It’s really hard to play like we did today. We tried our best on the court, but something happened. Everybody came and played the game and they try to win the game. So the way we play is the way things should be done, and I’m sure we did our best to win the game. Something happened, but the only thing I can say is I really enjoyed the game, I really enjoyed the team, and all of us enjoyed the game.”
On tonight’s game:
“Playing against the best players in the world for me just shows me what I need to work on and I can’t wait to get back in the gym.”
On future teammates (Davis,Gilchrist, Teague):
My future teammates are very talented and I can’t wait to play with them. Each one of them does their own thing, and that’s what I think makes us so special. Anthony (Davis) has such long wingspan, he’s such a presence out there. Gilchrist, he just is a competitor, he goes and gets rebounds. And Teague is just so fast, it just makes the game easier on you. I can’t wait to play with them.”
On Anthony Davis and his length:
“He’s just such a presence down there. You’ve got to be aware of his arms. He goes for a lot of pump fakes so if we were to play him again, just utilize those against him.