Some highlights from Mike Krzyzewski’s press conference earlier today.
Tyson Chandler has been named to the United States team as an alternate in case injury, illness or other reason causes someone to drop off the team. This is not a reaction to any of the pre-existing injuries, especially Howard’s. In fact, Howard is working out now and should be ready to begin practicing soon. Krzyzewski says that Howard would play right now if Orlando were in a playoff game.
Wade is 100% physically, working on getting back into game shape.
Krzyzewski says that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are the two best players on the team but Howard is very close. He says that Howard is the best center in the world.
A select team coached by P.J. Carlesimo will scrimmage against the U.S. team. Names mentioned included LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, and Derick Rose.
Krzyzewski recognizes that the sports world won’t accept anything less than a U.S. gold medal.
Krzyzewski says that the selection process was pure, with no politicking. No concern with shoe companies, NBA teams, or anything else other than how a player could help the team.
Says that the whole experience has made him a better coach. “You can’t help but learn.“ He doesn’t think it impacts recruiting one way or the other. He pointed out that he is still getting recruiting trips in.
Krzyzewski discussed the current one-year rule. Says that the pool of potential one-and-dones has to be recruited but Duke has to be careful to recruit the right ones. Any potential recruit in this situation must understand that they will be full-time students, go to school “and then we’ll see what happens.”
He again reiterated his belief that players should be allowed to go directly to the NBA from high school but that, should they go to college, they should be required to stay for a minimum of two years. Krzyzewski specifically mentioned Bryant and James, who he “called brilliant, articulate, and set for life.” Krzyzewski told a story about he and Johnny Dawkins watching Howard once in high school and “saying goodbye. It ain’t gonna happen.”
Carlos Boozer? “A great selection for this team.” Krzyzewski praised his rebounding, his physical presence but most of all the respect given to him by the rest of the team.”
The nominal starting lineup at this point is Jason Kidd-Kobe-LeBron-Carmelo Anthony-Howard. But Krzyzewski expects and needs significant contributions from the bench, mentioning Posey’s importance to Boston’s NBA title.
Krzyzewski told a story about the team visiting a Nike museum in NYC and seeing how they fit in the U.S. basketball continuum. He constantly sketched a team that understands the honor and importance of what they are doing and are subsuming their egos for the greater good. His enthusiasm for the task is palpable.
Thanks, Jim. You're reports are always informative and insightful.
Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!
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