Mike Krzyzewski is back to coach Team USA at another Olympics this summer, but this will be the last time, he announced recently in Dallas. Krzyzewski has been associated with USA Basketball for 25 years. He started in 1987 with Team USA and he’s been involved in some capacity ever since. As head coach, he led the USA to gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
Krzyzewski, 65, is a member of both the pro and college basketball Halls of Fame and was elected to the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. Currently, as men’s head coach at Duke, he holds the NCAA’s all-time coaching wins record with 927.
Krzyzewski says he thinks the London Olympics will be his last time coaching the United States team. Krzyzewski says coaching the US team has been “the ultimate honor,’’ and he’ll continue to be involved with USA Basketball in some capacity after stepping down as head coach.
The 2012 team will be named on July 7. The USA National Team will open its training camp in Las Vegas, Nevada from July 5-12. Only 12 players are allowed for the Olympic roster. Anthony Davis is the only non NBA player to be invited.
“We know exactly where we want to be, but we need to take inventory of what status our players have,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said.
Krzyzewski talked about how important it is to get players “fresh” after — for most of them — a grueling NBA season. As many as five players could be playing in the NBA Finals until as late as June 26.
“That’s going to be key for us, being as good as we can be,” Krzyzewski said. “The first few weeks and how everyone handles it, while still getting ready.”
After the Las Vegas training camp the team will stop in Washington, D.C., followed by Manchester, England. Its final training sessions will come in Barcelona, where it will plan Spain and Argentina. It will be 20 years after the original Dream Team made history at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Chuck Daley had Coach K as an assistant coach on that squad.
Meanwhile, Colangelo disputed the opinion of Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who recently said it’s “stupid” of the NBA to allow its best players to play in the Olympics for free. Colangelo said, “I think ownership has the right and platform to express opinions. “But I would say there’s another side to the story, and that is that what we have done with our program has brought great value to the NBA as a whole.”
Colangelo added, “As a good partner in the NBA, every owner should realize that added value has added something to their own franchise. I think the best story the NBA had when we marched to the gold medal in Beijing was us, and that’s worth a lot. Basketball is in a global economy, and the NBA in particular has been at the forefront of dealing in the global marketplace.”
At the 2008 Olympics in China, the coaching staff did not get award medals. Only the player participants get gold, silver or bronze. In a gesture of support and respect, the USA players all put their gold medals around Coach K for the photo opportunity.
HOW THE 2012 LONDON OLYMPIC DRAW IS SETTING UP:
Group A: Argentina, France, Tunisia, USA, Two remaining FIBA qualifiers
Group B: Australia, Brazil, China, Great Britain, Spain, One remaining FIBA qualifier
Photo courtesy of USA Basketball
POLISH CLUB ONLINE, 2012.05.20