Following Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s press conference Thursday morning to announce that he was returning as the head coach of Team USA and Duke basketball through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Chronicle Sports Editor Daniel Carp and Duke Student Broadcasting’s Danny Nolan discussed the implications of four more years of Coach K at the helm. Check it out:
This morning, USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo announced that Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski would return as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Here are some reactions from a number of NBA players on the Blue Devil head coach spending four more years at the helm of Team USA.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James, bronze medalist at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and gold medalist at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games:
“I think it’s great. What he means to USA Basketball is beyond just what we do on the court, it’s what we stand for as Americans in being proud to wear the Red, White and Blue every time we step on the bus, at practice, or talk to the media or whatever the case may be. So I think it’s great.
I have the utmost respect and trust in coach K. Whatever his decision was going to be, I think we would all support him.
It would be great [to play in 2016]. First I have to make sure I stay healthy. If I’m fortunate enough to stay healthy, I would love to represent my country again.”
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, gold medalist and MVP at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and gold medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games:
“Playing for Coach K in 2010 and 2012 was an amazing experience. he’s a great coach, and USA Basketball is blessed to have him. He coaches with great passion, but always keeps us calm, and makes sure we are prepared for our opponents. I greatly respect his leadership, and always want to go out and play hard for him.”
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, gold medalist at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games:
“The news on Coach K with USA Basketball is great. He is an incredible coach who worked tirelessly to prepare us for different opponents. Even as a veteran, I learned a lot from his leadership. I appreciate all he’s done over the years for USA Basketball, and our country, in this position. I think Team USA is in great hands for the next four years.”
Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, bronze medalist at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and gold medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games:
“He’s a great coach, one of the best to coach the game. I’m sure the USA Basketball community is very happy to have him back.”
Minnesota Timberwolves center Kevin Love, gold medalist at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2012 Olympic Games:
“I think Coach K is an excellent choice. I had a great time playing for him in 2010 and 2012. I have so much respect for him as a man and a coach, and I hope I get to play for him again in the future.”
Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, gold medalist at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and member of the USA Basketball Board of Directors:
“Playing for Coach K was one of the highlights of my career. I learned a great deal from him. We are lucky to have him lead us again.”
In a reversal or previous statements, Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski will return to USA Basketball to coach the team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, according to multiple reports.
Coach K led Team USA to gold medals in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London) but had said the London Olympics would be his last as head coach. Krzyzewski brought back life to the program that finished with a disappointing bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
He has a 62-1 record with the Americans and will now lead the team to both the 2016 Olympics and the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Spain.
The World Championships will be a particularly tough test because the Americans typically do not have their full A-squad for the World Championships while they will be playing a tough Spanish team on their home turf.
Class of 2014 commitments are heating up with Theo Pinson expected to announce his decision Wednesday at 12:15 p.m.
Pinson, the No. 13 player in the class according to ESPN, is considering Duke, Georgetown, Indiana, Louisville and North Carolina. Pinson attends Wesleyan Christian Academy in North Carolina, so Duke and North Carolina were thought to be the early frontrunners for his services. But Indiana appears to be the consensus favorite going into the announcement.
Pinson has visited Duke unofficially many times throughout his high school career. Pinson and high school teammate Harry Giles, a member of the class of 2016 and perhaps the top player in his year, were at Cameron Indoor Stadium for this year’s Duke-North Carolina game, a 73-68 comeback win for the Blue Devils. Giles is also a Duke target, though he is a freshman and does not yet hold an official offer. The Duke staff, however, has been keeping close tabs on the 6-foot-8 forward.
Pinson was also in town for this year’s Countdown to Craziness with fellow 2014 Duke targets Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, who remain Duke’s top targets in that class.
With guard Grayson Allen already in the fold for Duke in 2014, Pinson—a 6-foot-6 wing player—appears to be less of a priority. Though last week it was inaccurately reported that Pinson cut Duke from his list of schools, it would be a surprise if he decided to pick the Blue Devils at this point.
The other 2014 commits who already have offers from Duke in addition to Pinson and Allen: Okafor, Jones, Devin Booker, Kevin Looney, Trey Lyles and Justise Winslow.
Okafor, a 6-foot-10 center ranked No. 1 in the class, recently opened up for his USA Today blog. The schools in the mix for Okafor are Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and Ohio State.
In regards to Kansas, Okafor wrote about liking Andrew Wiggins decision to go there, dispelling the notion that Kansas isn’t a school for one-and-done players.
Okafor also says he has heard from Kentucky and head coach John Calipari a lot lately. He added this on his talks with Coach Cal:
Then he was telling me about how he gets disrespected by a lot of the other coaches in recruiting, which is actually true because I’ve heard a few things myself.
He really explained a lot to me and I learned a lot.
He also had very favorable things to say about his talks with the Duke basketball staff:
Coach (Mike) K (Krzyzewski) texted me on Sunday on Mother’s Day and that meant a lot to me because he was checking on me because he knows that my mother passed. I thought that was really cool of him.
All of the coaches at Duke hit me up; Coach (Jeff) Capel and Coach (Steve) Wojo.
In case you missed it…
- Incoming freshman Semi Ojeleye was selected as Parade Magazine’s Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year. Ojeleye averaged more than 38 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals per game during his senior year at Ottawa High School, leading the Cyclones to a 25-0 record and a state title.
- Additionally, transfer big man Tarik Black visited Duke last week, after which he visited Kansas. Black, who graduated from Memphis and will be eligible to play out his final season immediately, is expected to make a decision soon.
Duke basketball will give a final pitch to transfer big man Tarik Black as he sets to visit campus today.
Black, who graduated from Memphis yesterday, still has a year of eligibility remaining and will be able to play immediately.
Congrats to all the Tigers who graduated today: Ferrakohn Hall, DJ Stephens, Stan Simpson, Charles Holt and Tarik Black #studentsfirst
— Memphis Tigers (@UofMTigersHoops) May 13, 2013
Black, a 6-foot-9 and 262-pound forward, averaged 9.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game for the Tigers last season.
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has been pushing hard to add Black to a Duke frontcourt that could potentially use another body. Coach K and assistants Steve Wojciechowski and Nate James visited Black’s home a couple weeks ago to make a first pitch.
While Duke’s perimeter is stacked next season, the frontcourt of Marshall Plumlee, Josh Hairston and Amile Jefferson could potentially use another body to strengthen the rotation.
Oregon, Kansas, Ohio State and Georgetown are also reportedly in the mix for the transfer.
Rick Pitino’s tattoo pledge was one of many factors willing Louisville to this year’s national championship.
So could Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski see himself getting inked up to motivate the Blue Devils?
We spoke to Coach K for a one-on-one interview about the season, and here’s what he had to say on the topic:
“I will never get a tattoo. I promise you. Even if I promised my team that—I don’t like to break promises—but that will never happen. A tattoo on a 60-year old, on my body, would not be a pleasant sight. So that’s not going to happen.”
Here’s a video of Pitino getting the tattoo: