Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski isn’t beating the bushes at the Peach Jam in South Carolina this week trying to find replacements for the departed Austin Rivers and Miles Plumlee.
In fact, he’s not even on the recruiting trail this summer. He’s leaving that task to his trusted assistants and former players Jeff Capel, Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski.
Krzyzewski has other things on his mind right now — leading the latest version of the “Dream Team” to another Olympic gold medal.
No matter how one feels about Krzyzewski and his Blue Devils during the winter, he has returned the swagger to the men’s national team. And for all the Duke fans out there, Coach K was asked to do it because he had to clean up the mess created by a Tar Heel, Larry Brown.
After three straight gold medal performances from various “Dream Teams” from 1992 to 2000, Brown somehow guided a squad which included LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony to a 3-2 record in the preliminary round and was able to squeeze into the knockout stage.
The humiliation continued for the national team with Argentina downing the U.S. in the semifinals. Luckily, the Americans rebounded to defeat Lithuania to earn the bronze, otherwise it would have been the first time the squad went medal-less in an Olympics it competed in.
Enter Krzyzewski on his white horse to save the day for the country which invented the sport. After a rough beginning, losing to Greece in the semifinals of the 2006 FIBA World Championships, Krzyzewski and the national team are on a 39-game winning streak with two final exhibitions on the schedule before Olympic competition begins.
Krzyzewski has openly stated this will be the last time he leads the U.S. team, which means Jerry Colangelo, the director of USA Basketball, will have to find a new coach.
It won’t be an easy task.
Colangelo probably has a short list of people he wants to interview for the position, but in today’s hectic recruiting world, it may be difficult to coax another college coach into accepting the job.
This is why, Coach K deserves a tip of the cap and a pat on the back for allowing the U.S. to bask in gold once again.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com