Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

July 22, 2013

Coach K begins quest for third gold

LAS VEGAS — Mike Krzyzewski thought he was done with USA Basketball. He said he was done, too.

After helping Team USA win two straight Olympic gold medals, there appeared little left for him to accomplish. After the team won in London last summer, Krzyzewski prepared to walk away.

It didn't take long for Jerry Colangelo to know that Krzyzewski wasn't as resolute in his stance as he made it seem. Just a couple of weeks after their triumph in London, the two reconvened in Springfield, Mass., for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. And that's when Colangelo, the managing director for USA Basketball, knew there was still a chance.

"He was having withdrawal already,'' Colangelo said. "He started talking about the future. No commitments, but it was there.

"I didn't have to plan it, but it was there. My attitude was, I know what he said. I know what he's also said to me privately. I'm going to give him all the time he needs and when the timing is right, we'll have that sit-down again. Usually when I sit down with him, there's a good result. And it happened again and it was a positive result and I'm thankful for that.''

Ten months after Colangelo first saw that gleam return to Krzyzewski's eye, and three months after the coach made his return official, the two men are back to work at a four-day camp that began Monday. As Krzyzewski sat down in a chair outside a meeting room at the Wynn resort with a red polo and the USA logo on the left breast, he said he spent most of Duke's college season last year fully convinced he wouldn't be back for a run at a third gold.

"Throughout the year I did not think I would be coaching (Team USA),'' Krzyzewski told The Associated Press before the camp kicked off. "I just felt that that wasn't going to happen. But then after discussions, not just talking with Jerry, but my staff and my family, to be given that opportunity again, it's something I'm really excited about and feel very honored and privileged to have that opportunity.''

When Krzyzewski leads the Americans at the Rio Olympics in 2016, he'll join Henry Iba as the only coaches in U.S. history to coach in three Olympics. Together with Colangelo, Krzyzewski has changed the culture of USA Basketball and restored some sense of pride, professionalism and prestige to a brand that was tarnished after a bronze medal finish in Athens in 2004.

A big sign of the change? The simple fact that they're even holding a camp this week. Because the Americans won gold in London last summer, they do not have to participate in any qualifying tournaments this summer for the 2014 World Cup in Madrid.

Quite literally, there is nothing to play for. And yet this is still the place to be.

Twenty-eight of the best young players in the country are here for four days of workouts that essentially mark the kickoff of 2016 preparations. Anthony Davis, who played sparingly last summer, is the only player with Olympic experience. Others like Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, John Wall and Paul George have come to try to make a good impression in hopes of being included on the World Cup team next summer.

"It's a matter of getting acquainted, observing, trying to come up with some observation of does a guy fit,'' Colangelo said. "Does he not fit? I'm talking about our culture. Usually people eliminate themselves. We don't cut people. We don't do that. We'll have much more definitive opinions on players and attitudes and character at the end of this week, which will go into the pipeline as it relates to watching them in the NBA season next year.''

No roster decisions will be made this week, and they are still holding out hope that some of the younger players from London - Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, among others - will decide to play in Spain next year. But Krzyzewski will also use the time to get acquainted with new assistants Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams and teach the young players about what is expected of them in this program.

"People want to be with USA Basketball. They should,'' Krzyzewski said. "But for a while there, they didn't. It enjoys now, primarily because of Jerry's leadership, a really high status, which we need to maintain. You're not just given that status. You have to earn it.''

Krzyzewski certainly deserves plenty of credit as well. He's among the most respected names in coaching, and his decision to get involved in the first place, and stay involved for three tours, has underlined the importance USA Basketball has in the hoops landscape.

"What it says about him is he could've sat back and said, `I won the two gold medals and I've done my thing,''' Colangelo said. "But he's a competitive guy. He has set himself apart from everyone already in terms of coaching. But he's still willing to put himself out there on the plank. And I love that.''

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0111web.jpg ‘Team behind the Team’

    For the second-straight year, the Claremore Zebra student training staff will be represented in the Oklahoma Coaches All-State games held in Tulsa.
    Meranda Golbek and Sarah Szcinski, a pair of 2014 Claremore High School graduates, earned All-State honors for their athletic training careers and will join two other student trainers from Jenks and Stillwater High School on the East squad.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former WTAMU men's basketball coach Rick Cooper tabbed Wayland Baptist AD

    Wayland Baptist University has named former Pioneer player and coach Rick Cooper as its new director of athletics.

    July 25, 2014

  • Arkansas men's basketball season tickets on sale

    Season tickets for the 2014-15 Arkansas men’s basketball campaign are now on sale, as head coach Mike Anderson’s fourth edition of the Razorbacks and their #Fastest40 style of play return six of their top seven scorers from last year’s club that won 22 games.

    July 25, 2014

  • BIG 12: OSU's Yurcich pumped up for second season

    With the 2014 season on the brink, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.

    July 25, 2014

  • MLB: Moss smashes grand slam, A's blast Astros 13-1

    A warm day helped Brandon Moss reach another milestone and it helped Jeff Samardzija enjoy even more run support.

    Moss hit a grand slam and the Oakland Athletics gave Samardzija more run support than he has had all season in a 13-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • MLB: Ross records 11 strikeouts, Padres rout Cubs

    Tyson Ross kept mowing down Chicago Cubs hitters, long enough for San Diego's suddenly potent offense to carry the Padres to victory for the second straight night.

    Ross struck out a career-high 11, and the light-hitting Padres broke out for a season-best nine runs in the sixth inning in a 13-3 rout of the Cubs on Thursday night.

    July 25, 2014

  • MLB: Aoki's 14th-inning single lifts Royals past Indians, 2-1

    After four hours, 23 minutes and a dozen pitchers combining to throw 397 pitches, Nori Aoki gave the Kansas City Royals a win.

    Aoki singled home Lorenzo Cain in the 14th inning to lift the Royals to a 2-1 victory over Cleveland after Indians starter Corey Kluber carried a perfect game into the seventh inning on Thursday night.

    July 25, 2014

  • MLB: White Sox topple Twins, 5-2

    An impressive start from Hector Noesi was just a couple of pitches away from being something really special.

    Noesi allowed three hits over 7 2-3 innings, and Adam Eaton had three hits and two RBIs to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.

    July 25, 2014

  • MLB: Chen helps Orioles blank Mariners, 4-0

    Wie-Yen Chen threw one of his finest games in the major leagues, allowing just five hits over eight innings in Baltimore's 4-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.

    July 25, 2014