Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Colangelo’

Point Guards Aplenty In USA Camp



LAS VEGAS – There are 28 players in USA Basketball’s mini-camp this week, eight of which are point guards. And with shooting guard Bradley Beal not participating in scrimmages (because he’s still rehabbing a right fibula injury), those point guards will be spending time on the floor with one another.

In one scrimmage on the first day of camp, we saw Mike Conley and John Wall team up against Ty Lawson and Damian Lillard. Kemba Walker and Jrue Holiday played on the same team.

In speaking with NBA TV over the weekend, coach Mike Krzyzewski said that one of the things they’ll be looking at is how all the point guards mesh on the court and “adapt to a few different roles.”

Two-point-guard lineups aren’t just a necessity because of the numbers here in Vegas or even the lack of star shooting guards in the NBA. It’s a big part of the identity Krzyzewski and managing director Jerry Colangelo have developed with USA Basketball over the years. They stress speed and athleticism and that starts on defense, where the guards are asked to put pressure on opposing ball handlers. So we’ve seen Chris Paul and Deron Williams share the floor in the Olympics and Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook play together in the 2010 World Championship.

“We’ve all watched the Olympics,” Walker said Monday. “We’ve seen those guys play, so when we get out here, we know what time it is already.”

For some, playing alongside another point guard is no big deal. Lawson has played almost 2,000 minutes alongside Andre Miller with the Nuggets over the last two seasons. Pushing the ball at every opportunity is all he’s known playing under former Denver coach George Karl. Having played FIBA rules in Lithuania during the lockout, Lawson also knows the importance of on-ball defense.

“In the European game, it’s huge for pressure to be on the ball,” he said. “If not, they have a bunch of shooters, so they just come off and knock it down. Pressure’s huge. I’m not really used to it like this, but I’m getting used to it.”

For some of the others here, there’s an adjustment to not being the only point guard on the floor.

“Last season was my first time really doing it,” Conley said. “With Jerryd Bayless, Tony Wroten and those guys, I got to play off the ball a little bit. So I’m starting to get used to it. I’m still not all the way there, but it’s not my first time.

“The toughest part is being able to play without the ball. You got to learn where you get the ball, where you need to be, roll and replacing, getting spacing right and getting to the corners instead of always wanting the ball and needing the ball in your hands.”

Still, Conley knows what he’s doing when his fellow point guards kick the ball out to him on the perimeter.

“When I’m playing that off-guard, I’m thinking shoot first and pass second,” he said. “It puts me in a different mode, more of a scoring mode.”

And for Conley, the USA Basketball identity is a fun change of pace from the way he plays with the grit-and-grind Memphis Grizzlies.

“I love it,” he said. “Who knows? The Grizzlies might turn into that one day.”

More quotes from Monday…

  • Walker on playing with Holiday: “I’ve been around Jrue for a long time, since high school. I enjoyed it. It was cool to not be the only one having to make the plays.”
  • Conley on playing with Wall: “We’re pretty unselfish guys. We let whoever has the ball take it and the other person runs. We both like to get up and down, so it was fun to play alongside him.”
  • Lawson on Lillard: “He was killing today. You can see he’s been working on his games. His shot’s smooth. He’s a great player. I like playing with him.”
  • Lawson on the advice he’s received from the coaching staff: “Throughout practice, they were like, ‘Just play your game,’ because they saw me try to run plays and I guess they wanted to see what I can really do. So the last two games we played, I just started pushing it and felt a lot better. That’s what they wanted to see.”

Colangelo Ready To Introduce New Blood Into USA Basketball Program


As Summer League wraps up, it’s time to turn our attention to USA Basketball.

The Men’s Senior National Team won’t be playing in any tournaments this summer. They qualified for next summer’s World Cup by winning last summer’s Olympics, so they’re not sending a team to the FIBA Americas tournament that begins Aug. 30 in Caracas, Venezuela.

But managing director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski aren’t taking the summer off. Instead, they’re bringing 29 young players to Las Vegas for a mini-camp that begins Monday and concludes with an intra-squad scrimmage on Thursday (9 p.m. ET, NBA TV).

USA Basketball 2013 mini-camp roster
Player Team Pos Age YRS
Ryan Anderson NOP PF 25 5
Harrison Barnes GSW SF 21 1
Bradley Beal WAS SG 20 1
Mike Conley MEM PG 25 6
DeMarcus Cousins SAC C 22 3
Anthony Davis NOP PF 20 1
DeMar DeRozan TOR SG 23 4
Andre Drummond DET C 19 1
Kenneth Faried DEN PF 23 2
Derrick Favors UTA PF 22 3
Paul George IND SF 23 3
Gordon Hayward UTA SG 23 3
George Hill IND PG 27 5
Jrue Holiday NOP PG 23 4
Kyrie Irving CLE PG 21 2
DeAndre Jordan LAC C 25 5
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist CHA SF 19 1
Ty Lawson DEN PG 25 4
Damian Lillard POR PG 23 1
Doug McDermott Crei. PF 21 -
Greg Monroe DET PF 23 3
Chandler Parsons HOU SF 24 2
Larry Sanders MIL C 24 3
Marcus Smart Ok. St. PG 19 -
Klay Thompson GSW SG 23 2
Dion Waiters CLE SG 21 1
Kemba Walker CHA PG 23 2
John Wall WAS PG 22 3
Tyler Zeller CLE C 23 1

It’s an opportunity for the players to make a positive impression on the USA Basketball staff, and for the staff to develop thoughts about next summer’s roster, which could include players from last year’s Olympic Team.

To preview the mini-camp, spoke with Colangelo, who first broke the news that the Bulls’ Taj Gibson was a late scratch with a sprained ankle. That leaves 29 healthy players – 27 NBA vets and two college players – for the four days of camp. What would you like to get out of next week’s camp?

Jerry Colangelo: Let’s go backwards, first. Let’s go back to Beijing. We had our Olympic roster and we weren’t sure what would take place in 2010 for the World Championship. As it turned out, we got an entirely new group of young players, who did an outstanding job. That was really a great effort in Istanbul to win that, with guys who went on to have outstanding seasons after that performance there. Then in London, in turned out as I expected, that the roster would be made up of probably half and half of the World Championship team and the Olympic team.

So now, as we look to ’14, some of the younger Olympians have indicated they definitely want to play next summer. So this roster for the World Cup primarily could come from this group plus a few players that we had that won’t be here. [Stephen] Curry and [David] Lee are just two names that have been involved with us in the past and are out because of injuries and rehab. And Kawhi Leonard, who was originally part of this group – we knew right away that he would not be able to [participate] because of rehab during the offseason this year.

So, primarily this group, a few others and some carryovers from the Olympic team in ’12 will make up the roster. So this process is to take a good look at this group of roughly 30 and come up with some determinations about the people that we would consider moving forward, in terms of selections for next summer.

But we’re not going to select the players from this camp. This is another preview. We also have the next NBA season to look before we select a team. In 2010, you started with 20 players in training camp and eventually pared that down to 12 for the World Championship. Do you expect to do the same next summer?

Colangelo: It’s pretty hard to speculate what we would do. If we did that in the past, that’s probably our M.O. It’s hard to get down. It really is. So many players are close to one another. So the more we can see, the better it is. And it’s better for them too.

The good news is this thing is purring. The machine is going extremely well. The players want to be a part of this, as evidenced by all of this participation. And the pipeline is full. All that’s evidenced by how successful our junior teams are. The 19-and-under team that just won the gold medal is a terrific team of young talent. So they just keep coming, and as long as the players continue to aspire to be a part of the USA Basketball program, we’re in good shape. This is a four-day camp with 30 players, including nine point guards. Will guys have enough opportunity to make an impression?

Colangelo: Oh, we think so. This is going to be a lot of scrimmaging. We think that’s the best way to look at a group like this. Obviously, we’re going to put in some of the stuff that we use.

By the way, with Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams coming in, they have to get assimilated. So part of this camp is everyone getting reacquainted and (for the first time) getting acquainted. And so it’s good to keep indoctrinating younger players into our program and our system, on the court and off the court. On each of the last three rosters, you’ve had three NBA point guards and three NBA big men. Do you think you’ll continue using that formula or do you take it year by year?

Colangelo: It’s year by year, but what we do have is great athleticism with our players. We have a lot of wing players. We have a terrific number of point guards.

If you look at the roster we have in this camp plus the carryovers at the point guard position, that’s a very, very competitive position. But we have a lot of twos and threes also. There’s always been a shortage of bigs. You go with your strength and start with that. When you bring these guys into the gym, do you learn a lot more about them than when you’re watching them during the NBA season?

Colangelo: Oh yeah. It doesn’t take a genius to look at talent and know who can run, jump, shoot, defend, etc. But it’s all the other things, how people relate, how they articulate, how they get along with one another, how they relate to us. So this is all part of the process. I think it’s really important to do exactly what we’ve been doing, because it seems to be successful and it’s what we believe in. So how does a player make a positive impression on you next week?

Colangelo: In our minds, what players do on the floor and off the floor are equally important. How they get along with one another, how they relate to the coaching staff, how attentive they are in our meetings…

I’ll give you an example. Paul George last summer was on the Select Team, getting our Olympic Team ready. We saw a lot in Paul George. This kid was really coming. And of course, that translated into a terrific year in the NBA season. But throughout the season, he was quoted as saying things about what he learned during his time with USA Basketball and how much he wanted to be a part of it. So it works both ways.

Colangelo-Krzyzewski Combo Keeps USA Basketball Solid For Years To Come


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You couldn’t ask for a better fit … or better results.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is a Hall of Famer, an icon and living legend in his profession. And yet, he’s found a way to step aside and allow the spotlight to shine exactly where it needs to when he’s coaching the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team — on the NBA stars in he leads in international competition.

That’s what makes his return to his post great news for USA Basketball and chairman Jerry Colangelo, who hand-picked Coach K to take over as coach in 2005, and the future of the program. The continuity this dynamic duo brings is what will propel the program for years to come. Sure, it helps having the best talent on the planet to choose from. But the pipeline was full of talent before Colangelo and Krzyzewski got together and the results looked nothing like the 62-1 mark the Men’s Senior National Team has compiled under them.

This is one of those times when the numbers do not lie. There is something special about the bond Coach K has forged with the core members of the program that was on full display at the 2012 London Olympics. He found a way to succeed with superstars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and others while also continually integrating new and different faces into the mix. Under him, the U.S. won back-to-back gold medals in Beijing in 2008 and London four years later.

He found roles for guys like Kevin Love, Andre Iguodala and even a rookie like Anthony Davis, all stars in their own right and also all guys who might have been marginalized in years past on this stage. Things haven’t always run as smoothly as they have in recent years with the NBA stars involved with the program.

The all-time low point was the 2004 Athens Olympics. During that debacle, an ill-fitted group of NBA stars attempted to rescue the program’s honor on the global stage but ended up disappointing and finishing with a bronze medal. Rock bottom actually came four years earlier at the World Championships in Indianapolis in 2002, when a team coached by reigning NBA Coach of the Year George Karl was humbled on the world stage, becoming the first team with NBA players to fall in international competition while finishing an ugly sixth in the competition on home soil.

I was there in Indy and, as a fan of the international game and the fact that it’s played differently than the NBA style, it was as brutal to watch the U.S. struggle with that adjustment as it was to see them come apart at the seams.

Those back-to-back failures led directly to Colangelo and then Krzyzewski coming on board to help rehabilitate the program, complete with the formation of a robust Men’s Senior National Team roster that included commitments from many of the game’s biggest current stars. And they had to be willing to subject themselves to a grueling tryout process that could bruise plenty of egos along the way.

It wasn’t just about piling up a bunch of stars and throwing them into the unfamiliar international mix, where national teams from Argentina and Spain were gaining major steam. It was about rounding up the right stars that would embrace the team dynamic in ways that the players on the ’02 and ’04 teams refused to or simply could not.

You know the cupboard is stacked when you have All-Stars like Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday and other young stars willing to give up their summers to try to earn a place on the teams that will compete in the 2014 World Championships in Madrid and the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

Things have changed for the better with the power structure USA Basketball employed to help them regain their stature as the best in the world. And there’s no reason to assume they’ll do anything but continue that reign and improve upon that rock-solid foundation for years to come with Colangelo and Coach K at the helm.

Report: Coach K To Stick With USA Basketball?


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‘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 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.

Steady Big Man Lopez Hoping For A Second-Half Revival Of Williams


HOUSTON – Brook Lopez took his rightful spot on the glittering stage Sunday tonight and was introduced as a first-time member of the Eastern Conference All-Stars, and the lone representative of the Brooklyn Nets.

The face (and supposed savior) of the franchise, point guard Deron Williams, had his three-year All-Star run snapped by a substandard half-season.

That Lopez and not Williams was in Houston serves as a timely reminder that while D-Will might be the club’s star name, Lopez has been its most valuable player. He’s been the key to the Nets being 31-22 heading into the season’s stretch run. Brooklyn is 17-8 since coach Avery Johnson was fired days after Williams criticized the former coach’s offense as reason for his shooting struggles.

“I’m just trying to help our team in any way possible,” Lopez said. “I think our team has been pretty successful, but we’ve been a little inconsistent. But when we’re at our best, I think we’re capable of competing with anyone. I think our goal for the second half is just to become more consistent throughout the rest of the season and in each specific game.”

The Nets’ big man — whom the franchise dangled for so long in pursuit of a trade for unhappy Dwight Howard — initially didn’t garner enough votes from the East’s coaches to be one of the squad’s seven reserves. Omitted despite averaging 19.0 ppg — tops among the league’s centers, including Howard — on 52 percent shooting. Despite picking up his rebounding, especially on the offensive glass. Despite, on average, blocking more than two shots a game, ranking sixth-best among forwards and centers.

And any advanced metrics guru will tell you that no player boasting Lopez’s superb player efficiency rating of 24.8 — the league average is 15.0 — gets left off an All-Star team. Yet, it took Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo suffering a season-ending ACL injury for the 7-foot Lopez to get the commissioner’s blessing to join the East’s crowded 6-foot-11-and-over club with starters Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh, and reserves Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler.

Vindication for a monster season post-Dwightmare, right?

“No,” said Lopez, who was the last of the East reserves to make an appearance in the second quarter and made the most of his 11 total minutes (three points, five rebounds, three assists). “I wanted to come out and play my best basketball possible. That’s how I approach every game. I ignored all the trade talks, everything in the offseason. I don’t read much in the papers or or anything like that. I was just focused on bettering myself as a player and putting myself in the best situation possible for whatever happens.”

And so what about D-Will? The hits kept coming this weekend with USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo saying that Williams “was not in the best shape” and “a little overweight” during the Summer Games in London. Williams has struggled with various injuries this season, although he’s missed just three games, while his production across the board has declined to levels of his first two seasons in the league.

“He’s getting a good rest right now,” Lopez said. “I think he’s confident. Our team is doing well right now. He’s the face of the franchise, our leader, he drastically affects what we do. We’re doing well right now and that’s mostly because of him.”

Lopez is clearly a Stanford man — smart and savvy.

He said he’s optimistic that Williams will play better in the final 29 games. That can only be encouraging for a team that has endured early turmoil and high expectations, yet is just 2 1/2 games behind the New York Knicks for the East’s second seed.

The Nets play at home Tuesday against Milwaukee, then at Milwaukee on Wednesday. Three of their next four are at Barclays Center, but it would be easy against West playoff teams Houston and Memphis.

“Like I said, when we’re at our best I think we’re capable of competing with anyone,” Lopez said. “It’s just a matter of being consistent.”

Stephen Curry Back In Team USA Mix

HOUSTON – Before the season, he had health concerns over a series of ankle injuries. Then, he got a $44-million vote of confidence from management in the form of an extension. Once the ball actually dropped, he nearly made the All-Star team as one of the standouts from a successful early-season run by the Warriors.

There is now new affirmation of the return to prominence for Stephen Curry.

Curry, a member of Team USA for the 2010 world championships before being disappointed at being left off the roster for the 2012 Olympics, is back in contention for a spot with USA Basketball heading toward the 2014 World Cup (the former world championships). He is expected to receive an invitation to a July mini-camp in Las Vegas with approximately two dozen players, some who have been in the program before and some newcomers, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told The United States will not be in any tournaments this summer.

“He definitely is,” Colangelo said of Curry being back on the radar. “He’s never really been off the radar. It’s always been about injuries with him. I think he continues to develop as a player and I plan to invite him this summer.”

Curry’s Warriors teammate David Lee, a Western Conference reserve for Sunday’s All-Star game at the Toyota Center, will likely get an invitation as well. Paul George of the Pacers, an Eastern Conference reserve and one of the rising young stars of the game, is also expected to be asked to play. It’s a formula that should help merge prospects for the program with some returning players.

Curry in some ways is an ideal player for the international game. He’s a shooter to help beat the zones Team USA sees regularly; not a great athlete, but able to play an up-tempo game the Americans like to use to beat slower opponents in transition. He also, importantly, comes with a great attitude that fits Colangelo’s desire for a drama-free squad devoid of ego issues.

USA Basketball: Popovich, Rivers, And Four More Coaching Candidates

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – From 2006 through the London Olympics, the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team went 43-1 (62-1 if you count exhibitions) under coach Mike Krzyzewski. And Sunday’s gold-medal-game victory over Spain was its 36th straight win (50 if you count exhibitions) since losing to Greece in the semifinals of the 2006 World Championship.

So Krzyzewski, who has said that he’s done coaching the National Team, is going out on top, with two Olympic gold medals and one World Championship. The coach that replaces him has some big shoes to fill, as well as plenty of pressure to keep the U.S.A. on top of the basketball world.

Even if you’re a Duke hater, you have to respect what Krzyzewski has done over the last seven years. He’s a college coach, but managed to connect with and motivate five different squads of NBA stars. And after that ’06 loss to Greece, he clearly made it a priority to learn more about the international teams and players his team was facing.

While most fans and pundits focus on the 2016 Olympics in Rio, a new coach needs to be selected well before then. The U.S. will look to defend its World Championship at the renamed FIBA Basketball World Cup, which takes place from Aug. 31-Sept. 14, 2014 in Spain.

So who should USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo select as the next coach? Here are six candidates… (more…)

USA Basketball: Back On Top … Next Up?

LONDON – USA Basketball chairman and managing director Jerry Colangelo doesn’t play the “what if” game. He refuses to even entertain it, whether it’s in regards to the program he runs, the games the teams play or the future of the game of basketball around the globe.

He is simply not interested in delving into the hypothetical world of what would, could or should have been. And when you are the architect and steward of an operation that has won 50 straight games on the world stage, it’s probably wise to deal strictly in the here and now.

So you’ll have to excuse Colangelo for not being as nervous as some were in the final minutes of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team’s gold medal triumph over Spain Sunday at North Greenwich Arena, the 107-100 final score was the closest in an Olympic final in 40 years.

“What if Marc Gasol hadn’t gotten into foul trouble?” someone asked from deep in the back of a scrum. (more…)

U.S. Surges Past Spain Late, Claims Second Straight Olympic Gold Medal

LONDON – When it was all over, when the game was finished and the smiles had replaced looks of concern and after Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born in the USA” had served as the soundtrack for a crowd loving every minute of this billion-dollar collection of NBA stars wrapped up in American flags bowing for the audience, they locked arms, rose as one and stepped onto the medal stand to claim their prize.

The U.S. Men’s Senior National Team completed its gold medal mission Sunday, holding off a feisty Spain team 107-100 at North Greenwich Arena  in the Olympic final to claim a matching gold medal for the one they captured four years ago in Beijing. The difference between pure joy and relief, though, is hard to make out with the stars and stripes covering their faces.

“Anytime you’re going for a championship there is a sense of relief, especially when you win,” Deron Williams said. “It’s been a long five weeks for us. We’ve been on the road since July 5th and it’s good to know that you’ve finished what you started.”

They actually completed a mission that started eight years ago with a blueprint to resurrect a USA Basketball program that had fallen on hard times after coming up empty in quests for gold at the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis and the 2004 Olympics in Athens.


U.S.-Spain Game Blog!

LONDON — UPDATE 12:17 p.m. Medal ceremony going on right now. U.S. clad in smooth black warm ups to snag their gold medals. They won 107-100 to claim their second straight Olympic gold over Spain.

To repeat or not to repeat: that is the question facing the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team today, just minutes away from their gold medal rematch with Spain in the Olympic finals.

(Sorry, but a visit to London without at least one Billy Shakespeare reference would have been a travesty. We had to go there.)

They did this four years ago, playing a to-the-wire game in Beijing that the U.S. pulled out late for a 118-107 victory that both sides have had four long years to think about.

You know Spain’s big man brother duo of Pau and Marc Gasol have been thinking about it and hearing about it since then, especially Pau (something tells me Kobe Bryant has brought it up a time or two over the years).

Spain actually had one distinct advantage over the U.S. four years ago, in that the core group of their roster had been playing together for years, “since they were 12 or 13,” according to point guard Jose Calderon.

The U.S. has closed that gap. USA Basketball’s program is as solid as it’s been in years and arguably ever, courtesy of the commitment of guys like Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and others.

A second straight gold medal validates everything USA Basketball chairman and managing director Jerry Colangelo and U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski have worked to build since taking over the program after the debacle at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.