Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski was adamant last August that his second Olympic gold medal as Team USA head coach would be his last. Essentially everyone took him at his word, until a report three weeks ago by ESPN said that his Team USA boss didn’t Even after Jerry Colangelo‘s pressure — invitation? — to get Coach K to return, there will be a new coach for the 2014 world championships.
Coach K said on ESPN Radio this morning:
“I’ve loved, loved, loved, and it’s been an honor being with the USA Basketball team,” Krzyzewski said. “And to coach the team and work with [chairman and president Jerry Colangelo] for seven years has been marvelous.
“And we’re in a good spot,” Krzyzewski added. “We need to keep building.”
My two cents from last summer regarding the next Team USA coach mostly stand up now: The best candidates for his successor are Scott Brooks, Erik Spoelstra, John Calipari and Gregg Popovich. The one coach I included then who I unequivocally disagree with now is Mike D’Antoni, because he’s tainted the well from which he drinks with this Lakers season in disarray. From a purely organizational point of view, I just don’t know how he could possibly juggle the management of two star-filled teams when this Lakers season has shown he struggles with one.
The choice for Team USA will be twofold: How long do they envision this coach lasting — is this a one worlds-plus-Olympics cycle, or two like with Coach K? That answer might be influenced by this next question: Is Team USA seeking a coach whose influence trends younger (Spoelstra, Calipari or even Doc Rivers) or one who holds more cachet from the older players on their way out (Popovich).
Personally, I think Team USA should more emphasis on the type of player who will be playing in 2014 and 2016, and Brooks and Spoelstra stand out there. But then again, Calipari will have coached a slew of candidates for the 2016 Olympic team at Kentucky already, and he also has international experience with Puerto Rico last summer. Whoever gets the job, expect Krzyzewski to still be involved in one way or another in the hiring. Whoever is picked will have his blessing..
What do you think?
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