October 13, 2005

Report: Coach K to Lead USA Basketball:

posted by Bill Lumbergh to other at 07:11 AM - 14 comments

What is Coach K gonna do that Larry Brown couldn't? It's all going to depend on what players decide to go. I always thought it would be great to send the NBA championship team because they would know how to play together. That will never happen because of all of the international players on the teams, witness last year's Spurs. Somehow, we need to get the best players, and give them enough time together to learn to play as a team, rather than a collection of individuals. I wonder if Shaq will go again. I remember he wasn't interested in Coach K coming to the Lakers.

posted by mayerkyl at 07:24 AM on October 13

As far as coachs go, Coach K is the best possible choice. He is a natural born winner. He knows what it takes to get the job done. However, the USA Basketball problems is not the coach, it is these whiny, crybaby, pansya$$ players that are in the NBA. Most athletes are more than honored to represent their country on the largest stage in sports. However, at the last Olympics, we had B-Ball players turning it down. That is ridiculous. (I bet if there was several million in it for em they would be more than happy to go.) Let's think about this. Basketball is our sport. We have the best of the best in B-Ball and we looked like chumps out there. I say, take it back to where it started and let the College athletes play. I believe they would succeed where the Pros fail.

posted by mcstan13 at 08:25 AM on October 13

I've got mixed feelings as a Duke fan. I want the US National team to do well, I want K to get the credit for turning things around - but I also want him spending the majority of his time and energy keeping Duke at the top of the CBB world. It's pretty well known that all the extra speaking engagements, endorsements, interviews, etc. that came about after the 91 and 92 championships contributed to his health problems and to a less thorough recruiting process....cumulating in the disastrous 94-95 season. I don't want that to happen again, expecially at this part of K's career, where fans are already having "what-if" discussions about who would be hired when he retires. But strictly speaking in terms of K's impact on the US squad, I halfway agree that K is no better suited than Larry Brown to retake the gold. Part of that is the rising level of talent around the world, which makes it harder for the US to dominate the way it did in 92, regardless of the coach. Part of it is also the style of ball played now, with the emphasis (in the NBA) on one-on-one isolations for the best players. It was pretty well documented that the US roster for the Athens games was not well thought out (if only they'd taken JJ Redick - I kid, kinda). If K can pick his own roster rather than going down the list of NBA leading scorers, that's an advantage. I don't think K will be a better game coach than Brown, especially since he hasn't coached on the international level in 14 years - but he won't be worse, either. Like mayerkyl said, I think it does depend mostly on the players who are selected and how much they buy into K's approach and how much they really want to win. I can't remember anything specific, but I always had the sense that Shaq liked and repected K.

posted by mbd1 at 08:50 AM on October 13

Basketball is our sport. [Yawn.....] If Coach K can offer this team anything, it's the exposure to zone play in the college game that the USA team is likely to see buckets of down the road. Also, Coack K is WAY BETTER suited than Larry Brown in serving as coach of NBA superstars, because he has enough pedigree to get their respect, but won't let his ego get in the way of playing the team best capable of winning.

posted by smithers at 09:00 AM on October 13

What is Coach K gonna do that Larry Brown couldn't? It's all going to depend on what players decide to go. You answered your own question. My guess is players will bend over backwards to play for Mike Krzyzewski, including the pros. I'm a Maryland fan (and grad), and Duke has infuriated me all my life, but I still admire Krzyzewski. Duke's suck-cess (sorry, couldn't help myself) can't only be attributed to the players. There has to be something to the man coaching them. However, I stopped caring about Olympic basketball about the same time they started letting professionals compete.

posted by scully at 09:15 AM on October 13

However, I stopped caring about Olympic basketball about the same time they started letting professionals compete. What, in the 60's? "Shamateurism" was the name of the game long before the Dream Team. I applaud the demise of that hypocrisy, personally. I think it's been fabulous for ice hockey, for example. That said, I didn't have much interest in watching the first two versions of the NBA-at-the-Olympics; I prefer my sporting contests to have some element of doubt, and I didn't like the fact that already-overexposed NBA players were stealing the spotlight from athletes who only get the briefest glimmer every four years (*cough*). Now it's a different story, though. The 2004 tournament was great stuff. Self-promotion alert: me blogging and commenting on some of the points raised here.

posted by Amateur at 09:55 AM on October 13

Amatuer: So add the implied word "American" in front of "professionals" and you have me agreeing completely with what you said in your next paragraph. The article was about the American team, and I was replying to someone speaking of American players. We agree, no need to nitpick.

posted by scully at 10:44 AM on October 13

terrapin: I apologize. I thought you were one of those sports fans (there are some around) who think that everything was more noble and virtuous back in the "good old days." It's one of my pet peeves. In this case I jumped to the conclusion too quickly.

posted by Amateur at 11:02 AM on October 13

Coach K is good at managing proven All-Americans. The Dream Team is just his kind of birthday present team. He should do just fine.

posted by Hugh Janus at 11:38 AM on October 13

I can hardly think of anyone less qualified. Much as his image has been whitewashed over the years, he is a bully and an intimidator in the Bob Knight mold. That just won't fly with pros who aren't afraid of having their scholarship yanked. From an Xs and Os POV, his Duke teams are built around flopping D and throwing up 100s of short college 3 pointers, neither of which will work in the international game. And international refs dont know that Duke is supposed to get all the calls.

posted by drjimmy11 at 12:42 PM on October 13

(Anyone remember when they chose Laetner over Shaq for the first dream team? the difference between then and now is that that team was going to win no matter what, so they could afford a silly move for the sake of PR)

posted by drjimmy11 at 12:45 PM on October 13

his Duke teams are built around flopping D and throwing up 100s of short college 3 pointers, neither of which will work in the international game. I would argue that is exactly what works in the international game. The teams that beat the US did so by taking charges and hitting short threes. (Anyone remember when they chose Laetner over Shaq for the first dream team? the difference between then and now is that that team was going to win no matter what, so they could afford a silly move for the sake of PR) If I remember correctly Shaq was also invited to play on the team. He turned the spot down and was replaced by Clyde Drexler. I think going with a college coach is the right move for USA basketball, because the international game is much more comperable to the college version than the NBA. The biggest factor in whether or not they win the gold is going to be if they add a couple guys on this roster that can knock down some jumpers and a second big man so foul trouble isn't as much of an issue.

posted by bigrobbieb at 02:58 PM on October 13

I dont remember Shaq being offered a spot- this is the first dream team when he was at LSU and they decided to add one college player- but I could be wrong. I will admit here and now I am a Maryland grad and I have always hated Duke. But I'm being honest when I say I dont think he's the right choice. To me it feels like some old white guy's warped "My Fair Lady" fantasy- beloved Coach K teaches those thuggish, lazy NBA players how to play "real" basketball just like they do at Duke. The real reason we've been losing has little to do with "laziness" or "lack of fundementals" or all that borderline-racist stuff you always hear. The issue is simple: the other countries' teams are just that: teams. They practice and play together on a regular basis. We throw a bunch of guys who barely know each other together 3 weeks beforehand and expect them to compete. They used to be able to get by on sheer talent, but they're not that much more talented then the rest of the world anymore.

posted by drjimmy11 at 06:47 PM on October 13

I personally think they need to take the next step and put the top college players on the Olympic team. In the last Olympics, the professionals seemed to have no pride in their country, they just wanted to look good individually. If the top college players were selected, they would know how to pass and play defense, and I think they would have much more to prove so they would play harder. Maybe I am wrong, but after the dismal showing in the last Games, it would never hurt to try.

posted by bdf1010 at 12:12 AM on October 14

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