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Olympics

Krzyzewski, Team USA embrace role as Olympic favorite

Posted July 15, 2012
Updated July 16, 2012

Despite being the best team on the planet and the one squad every country will want to knock off during London's Olympics, Team USA won't head overseas with any added pressure. 

Thanks to head coach Mike Krzyzewski and a stable of experienced stars, the approach has been business-like during the team's organized practices in Washington, D.C. 

"I wouldn't say it's a burden," Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant said Sunday. "We have a responsibility to be professionals, come to work every day with the right focus and the right frame of mind and try to bring back a gold medal."

Mike Krzyzewski Extended interview: Mike Krzyzewski

For Krzyzewski, coaching a favored team is nothing new. It's been his life since he took the job at Duke University in 1980. 

"I'm accustomed to that for the last 25 years at Duke," he said Sunday. "And I've been accustomed to it for the seven years I've been Team USA's coach. So we just go on with what we're supposed to do and try to win every game and every possession."

LeBron James said the players trust Krzyzewski's experience, a factor that helps a talented group come together in such a short time. 

"People talk about chemistry with teammate, but it also has to do with coaches as well," he said. "We have a trust factor, we have chemistry, and it's going to help us go a long way."

If Team USA can complete the long journey and capture Olympic gold in London, Krzyzewski would become the first USA Basketball head coach to capture back-to-back gold medals since Hank Iba accomplished the feat in the 1960s. 

Krzyzewski energized by time with Team USA

Another factor that will help Team USA in London is Krzyzewski's fire to win, an important part of his four decades of success at Duke and a desire that still burns bright for the head coach. 

He said Sunday that being around some of the best players in the world energizes him as a coach. 

"You get better doing this," said Krzyzewski. "You’re around these guys. There the best at what they do; they’re competing against the best. Somehow in that process, you have to be better."

"It’s been a great experience for him. For one, I think you get energized working with the best players in the world. He's had a chance at Duke to work with some great players, but these guys take it to the highest level," said Team USA coach Steve Wojciechowski.

"Being in this USA environment, being around these top players, it’s only reengerized Coach K even more. It hasn’t tired him out in anyway," said Team USA coach Chris Collins. "It gets him even more excited to go forward with our Duke program."

Coach K has called his time with Team USA the greatest honor of his career, and while he is on record saying this will likely be his last summer as head coach, he’s not planning on leaving Team USA altogether. Arlington Cemetery_02 Team USA visits Arlington Cemetery

"I'll be involved. It’d be not a real smart thing not to have someone who's been involved like this for seven years not to have some input in the future," said Krzyzewski. "Because I’ve lived this, I have a feel for it."

Team USA is set for its final exhibition game in the States Monday when they play Brazil in Washington D-C.

This will be Coach K’s fourth Olympic games with Team USA, since he's also served twice as an assistant. And the U.S. has yet to win anything but gold with him on the bench.

52 Comments

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  • iron fist Jul 16, 3:55 p.m.

    This was a great interview with Coach K, Wojo, and Collins. I've stated previously that Coach K... View More

    — Posted by Hokies94

    They should be able to win without a coach if they play as a team and leave their egos at home

  • DL675 Jul 16, 3:39 p.m.

    good for coach K. always been a fan of his

  • DL675 Jul 16, 3:37 p.m.

    awesome!

  • heelsforever Jul 16, 3:07 p.m.

    Roy + Dean equals K

    Get over it folks. Coach K is the best since John Wooden.

    — Posted by ericsgrowing

    Your first statement is ridiculous.

    Your second statement doesn't actually mean anything since the wizard's accomplishments come with lot of question marks. I digress...

    Anyway, K is no doubt one of the best ever, if not the best. But comparing coaches from different eras is a silly exercise given all the varibales that come into play. Who is the best is arguable and really comes down to the eye of the beholder. As college coaches go, one could make valid arguments for Wooden, Rupp, K, and Dean Smith...and maybe one or two others I suppose.

  • heelsforever Jul 16, 2:55 p.m.

    Dean did it with college players!! Yes he did but the other countries have gotten alot better.... View More

    — Posted by Toddler10-21

    Who said that anyway?

  • Hammerhead Jul 16, 2:42 p.m.

    It never fails that this would turn into a UNC vs. Duke thread. Go USA!!

    — Posted by CAROLINA43

    By post #2.

  • forautumn Jul 16, 2:17 p.m.

    Roy + Dean equals K

    Get over it folks. Coach K is the best since John Wooden.

    — Posted by ericsgrowing

    LOL

  • forautumn Jul 16, 2:16 p.m.

    LOL...funny to see that criticism coming from you. Especially when you follow it up with more... View More

    — Posted by forautumn

    So you can honestly say that you don't see leaders trying to spin their way out of academic... View More

    — Posted by 903 G I Rogue

    Let's see...they have been investigated and the NCAA has released their findings. Not sure how... View More

    — Posted by forautumn

    Figures. You'll keep spewing "they have been investigated and the NCAA has released their... View More

    — Posted by 903 G I Rogue

    I'll leave the real investigation to those who are more concerned with finding out what happened, and ignore the folks like you, who just "know' it has to be worse.

    Again, all this makes your little whine fest earlier even more comical.

    Silly.

  • ericsgrowing Jul 16, 2:09 p.m.

    Roy + Dean equals K

    Get over it folks. Coach K is the best since John Wooden.

  • 903 G I Rogue Jul 16, 2:00 p.m.

    Don't ask UNC fans to see all the pros and cons of an argument. They will only site the points... View More

    — Posted by 903 G I Rogue

    LOL...funny to see that criticism coming from you. Especially when you follow it up with more... View More

    — Posted by forautumn

    So you can honestly say that you don't see leaders trying to spin their way out of academic... View More

    — Posted by 903 G I Rogue

    Let's see...they have been investigated and the NCAA has released their findings. Not sure how... View More

    — Posted by forautumn

    Figures. You'll keep spewing "they have been investigated and the NCAA has released their findings" and the rest of us keep assuming this isn't over and UNC continues hoping it's over.

    http://www2.journalnow.com/sports/2012/jul/15/wssport01-lenox-rawlings-uncs-academics-scandal-ne-ar-2432483/

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