banner
Ryan Craig

Coach K will help USA basketball stay the course

Posted July 8, 2009

Stability – it’s the backbone of any successful franchise.

Whether you’re talking about corporate America, an NFL team, college athletics or your favorite restaurant, managerial stability is the oft-underlying principle that separates one-hit wonders from enduring powerhouses.

Very rarely do football dynasties change a signal-caller midway through their reign.

Few and far between are the college basketball or football programs that achieve consecutive decades of success with a revolving door leading into and out of their coaching offices.

For a long time, talent alone was enough to render the constancy issue moot in the world of USA basketball.

That era is behind us.

After winning 14 of the first 16 gold medals the U.S. competed for at the Summer Olympic games (the team didn’t participate in the boycotted games of 1980 and won the silver and bronze in 1972 and 1988 respectively), our what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society was wondering what was happening to a once-invincible team that had suddenly become so vulnerable.

The success of the "Dream Team" was long gone, and in its place was USA basketball’s worst nightmare – the rest of the world had caught up to, and even surpassed, the once mighty basketball empire.

After finishing sixth in the 2002 World Championships, a tournament that featured the USA’s first three losses to international competition since being allowed to include professional players on its roster (to Argentina, Yugoslavia and Spain), red flags began to rise.

The 2004 Olympics, a bronze-medal showing that included the worst international loss in U.S. history (19-points to Puerto Rico), was another, more prominent reminder that something needed to be done if Uncle Sam’s team was to return to the top of the figurative and literal international basketball pedestal.

Enter Jerry Colangelo.

The former long-time Phoenix Suns general manager and four-time NBA Executive of the Year wanted a three-year commitment, for 2006 World Championships and 2008 Olympics, from any players seeking to wear the USA on their chest.

The idea was a radical one, but it was necessary in an era when playing for the red, white and blue became more a matter of convenience than civic duty for some of the sport’s highest-paid, and supremely talented, players.

The man Colangelo chose to lead his team was Mike Krzyzewski, and four years later, Coach K seems to be on the verge of doing his part to keep things whole.

In an interview with the AP, Colangelo was recently quoted as saying: "With the success that we had, I would do everything in my power to keep everything intact. I'm a strong believer in not upsetting the apple cart.”

After winning the gold in Beijing in impressive fashion, many wondered how many players, or coaches, would be around for an encore in 2012.

First round wins over China, Angola, Greece, Spain (the world champions) and Germany by an average of 32.2 points had people talking like they did about the USA of old.

Subsequent victories over Australia, Argentina (a team that had knocked off the U.S. in Athens), and Spain, sealed the 2008 Olympic Team’s place in history.

It is in that place, at the top of the basketball world, that Coach K will help the USA remain.

By staying on with the team, his relationships with players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James won’t have to be re-created by someone else that doesn't already have the same level of chemistry.

Moreover, the system Krzyzewski installed will be familiar to those that return to the squad – a welcome difference from the days when coaching changes meant differences in philosophy and on-court execution.

There will be those who question his ability to continue to run Duke’s program, especially in light of arch-rival North Carolina’s recent dominance of the college basketball landscape, and time will tell if that argument holds water.

For now, the Hall of Famer is doing what’s best for his nation.

A repeat gold in London is far from a forgone conclusion, but Mike Krzyzewski’s likely return to the sidelines of the United States senior national team means that the team’s biggest off-the-court issue in recent years – stability – is no longer an Achilles ’ heel, but a strength.

2 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • HappyGirl08 Jul 9, 4:43 p.m.

    Big shock...not

  • jwcarter3 Jul 8, 2:37 p.m.

    Wrong!!

    Jerry Colangelo is the reason USA Basketball is on course and the reason it will stay on course.

  • ACC: North Carolina at Virginia

    Today at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:30 on FOX50

  • NFL: Seattle at Carolina

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Logan Zone with Steve Logan

    Today at 10:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • Big Ten: Michigan at Michigan State

    Today at 3:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
EDM 6
CAR 3
12:30pm Today
UVA
UNC
2:00pm Today
NCCU
SAVST
 
Final
SFG 2
KAN 3
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
ORL 92
DAL 117
Final
TOR 83
NYK 80
Final
MEM 98
MIA 104
Final
CHI 112
MIN 113
Final
HOU 96
SAN 87
Final
UTA 100
PHO 105
Final
LAL 92
SAC 93
Final
GSW 119
DEN 112
Final
LAC 89
POR 99
Final
CIN 34
SFLA 17
Final
SALABAMA 27
TROY 13
Final
BSU 55
BYU 30
Final
CAL 41
OREG 59
12:00pm Today
WISC
MD
12:00pm Today
SMU
MEM
12:00pm Today
ILL
MINN
12:00pm Today
RICE
UNT
12:00pm Today
NEB
RUTG
12:00pm Today
KST
TEX
12:00pm Today
ARK
UAB
12:30pm Today
UVA
UNC
1:00pm Today
EMICH
NILL
1:00pm Today
NAVY
SJST
2:00pm Today
BST
AKR
2:00pm Today
GASTATE
GASO
2:00pm Today
TOL
UMASS
2:00pm Today
WMICH
OHIO
2:00pm Today
COL
UCLA
2:30pm Today
UMO
KSU
3:30pm Today
WAKE
BC
3:30pm Today
BUF
CMICH
3:30pm Today
MARS
FATL
3:30pm Today
PITT
GT
3:30pm Today
SMISS
LATU
3:30pm Today
MSU
MICH
3:30pm Today
KENT
MSST
3:30pm Today
STAN
ORST
3:30pm Today
TCU
TTU
3:30pm Today
OKST
WVU
4:00pm Today
WKENT
ODU
4:00pm Today
UTST
UNLV
4:00pm Today
MIZZ
VANDY
5:00pm Tonight
UCF
TEMPL
6:00pm Tonight
WASU
ARZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
NJD 2
DAL 3
Final
WIN 2
TAM 4
Final
COL 7
VAN 3
Final
EDM 6
CAR 3
Final
ANA 4
CLB 1
4:00pm Today
SJS
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
 
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
NYR
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
 
2:00pm Today
NCCU
SAVST