HoopsHype Team USA rumors

September 18, 2014 Updates

During one six-week period in the late summer of 2014, Cousins tinkered madly with his narrative, changing perceptions and recasting his image, emerging as a significant, perhaps invaluable member of the senior national team, and displaying a familiar dramatic flair at the end. Here is what coach Mike Krzyzewski said moments after the USA’s 129-92 gold-medal romp Sunday over Serbia: “The first five minutes of tonight’s game, they knocked us back. Cousins really, I think, turned the game around. I don’t only think; I know. Watching (him), I’m saying, ‘Whoa,’ we just made another stop, or he just made another stop. He knocked the ball off the rim and they didn’t score. (Nenad) Krstic wasn’t able to score because he bodied up on him. …” Sacramento Bee

But Cousins can’t worry about who’s in, who’s out. He merely has to remain, well, the King of Spain. “You can use all the superlatives you want,” Colangelo said Tuesday afternoon, “and apply them to DeMarcus. He made the team, made a major contribution, made tremendous strides. In the locker room after our win over Serbia (earned an automatic berth to the Rio Games), DeMarcus in particular was emotional. He hugged me and thanked me for putting him on the team, and I told him, ‘the past is the past. This is the beginning of your career. Take everything you learned back to Sacramento. You can build on this and have a tremendous career.’ ” Sacramento Bee

September 17, 2014 Updates
September 15, 2014 Updates

The second part of his rehabilitation, he hopes, will arrive when he returns to Chicago next week following a brief post-tournament break. “I’m going to transfer this onto next season with the Bulls,” he said. “It’s really helped me with my recovery. Being off the floor, taking care of my body, eating right. I was feeling good every time I stepped on the floor, stretching every time, I think it’s going to help me with the Bulls season. “This has gotten my body accustomed. I haven’t been playing in a long time. I still have to get my rhythm back. But as far as I’m concerned, I think I performed well. Making this team was enough for me. The championship was the cherry on top, just coming here, performing in front of this great crowd. Just coming here. Now, sad to say, I have to put this behind me and concentrate on playing for the Bulls.” ESPN.com

"(George) has a lot to do with (the meaning of the gold)," Irving, who scored 26 points (7-for-7 from three-point range), told USA TODAY Sports. "This whole trip was mainly for Paul. Every single day, not taking anything for granted. It's a devastating thing that happened to one of my good friends. It's crazy, but for us to bring a gold medal back — and knowing he's going to get one — is exciting." USA Today Sports

"It took us to another level relationship-wise," said Irving, who played for Krzyzewski at Duke for a year. "Nobody's invincible, but one thing we can do is come together as a team and we did a great job of that. Every single day, for however many coach said it was, 50 days or something like that. I've gotten to know all these guys and this is something I'm going to remember the rest of my life." USA Today Sports

The inspiration, as stated, stems from seeing this group come together to such a degree in about six weeks and become something resembling a true team after months of fretting back home about what might have happened in Sunday's final had they been forced to play ultra-seasoned Spain on Spanish hardwood with so many key names missing. "We didn't care who we didn't have," Cousins told ESPN. "We went with the guys we did have and came out champions." Said Irving: "It's the greatest feeling in the world right now, [winning] with a group of guys that are my brothers." ESPN.com

Krzyzewski's players, meanwhile, could be seen hugging, strutting and dancing incessantly in various corners of the building Sunday night, savoring every second of a gold-medal ride that, judging by the pride and joy they displayed, wasn't nearly as simple as the Americans' stack of nine lopsided box scores would suggest. "PG, this is for you," Team USA forward Rudy Gay told the ESPN camera, joining in the tributes to the fallen George as he cradled the championship trophy from the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. ESPN.com

All the questions about their talent, the doubts about their ability, were put down as easily as their opponents. “It kind of was, again, a smack to our face, saying the U.S. was sending the B-team to go play in the World Cup,” forward Kenneth Faried said. “Just because LeBron’s not here, Kobe’s not here, (Kevin) Durant’s not here, doesn’t mean anything. We can step up and win the gold, too. That’s what we did tonight.” Detroit News

The end's coming for USA Basketball's grip on the game in the States, but once change goes into effect come the 2018 World Cup, it won't matter much to Krzyzewski anymore. He still has two full summers of USA Basketball access left to him, and that'll make it a full decade of control. As one Duke alumnus would tell you: There is a USA Basketball storefront selling patriotism and duty with a backroom reality that peddles the Blue Devils and Nike swooshes. Yahoo! Sports

Krzyzewski never violated an NCAA rule when he climbed aboard a flight, flew cross-country and addressed the 2013 under-19 USA Basketball national team at its Colorado Springs training camp. He addressed players in a group, and talked to them individually, sources told Yahoo Sports. For the record, Krzyzewski is USA Basketball's senior national coach and the visit gave him an opportunity to personally welcome those young men into the program's feeder system. Yahoo! Sports

September 14, 2014 Updates

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