HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – When the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team finished off the competition at the London Olympics in 2012, head coach Mike Krzyzewski was primed to ride off into the sunset with a sparking 62-1 record, two gold medals in Olympic competition (2008 in Beijing) and one in World Championship competition (2010 Istanbul).
Every indication was that the longtime Duke coach had finished the job USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo needed him to and that his replacement would be sought while Coach K moved on in some capacity to assist Colangelo manage the rebuilt program.
But now comes word, via a report from SI.com‘s Pete Thamel, that Coach K is reconsidering his future with the program and could potentially return as coach of the team for the 2014 World Championship in Madrid and the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
It’s an abrupt about-face after months and months of speculation about who might replace Krzyzewski on the sideline with the Men’s Senior National Team and also a stern departure from Coach K’s own words, as recently as February on an ESPN Radio program where he suggested that his successor could be named by this summer.
Things changed dramatically today, per that SI.com report:
On Saturday, Krzyzewski said he and USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo have been talking about his return “quite a bit.”
Colangelo said Saturday he and Krzyzewski have been discussing his return “in installments.”
“I think it’s very close to being resolved,” Colangelo said. “That’s all I can say for sure.”
He added: “Give it another week and it should be resolved.”
Nailing down a head coach is the only outstanding business Colangelo has to tend to right now, because the player pool for the national team is as strong now as it’s since he took over in 2005.
Scores of NBA superstars, All-Stars and role players will be eager to be a part of the teams that represent the U.S. in Madrid and Rio De Janeiro. And that list should include four-time MVP LeBron James as well as All-Stars Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and plenty more.
Were Coach K to return to the program, procuring commitments for future competition wouldn’t appear to be much of an issue, given his history with so many of the players that would be in the mix. The continuity alone would ensure that the U.S. program resembles, at least in structure, many of the international programs they’ll compete against in the coming years.