Mike Krzyzewski Rumors
As Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski prepares to take the U.S. men’s national basketball team to the Rio Olympics, his thoughts turned this week to his home of North Carolina and the controversial anti-LGBT law that was passed in March. “It’s an embarrassing bill,” Krzyzewski told USA TODAY Sports. “That’s all I’m going to say about it.”
“I’m totally surprised and shocked when Jerry Colangelo called me because there’s a whole lot of younger guys that could do the job. So I was thrilled. When you think about being able to be with these guys and represent your country, you say yes. You don’t say, ‘I’ll think about it, I’ll get back to you.’ You say yes. “In some ways, I’m scared to death. I gotta fill some pretty big shoes. This program has been pretty great for a decade after it was a debacle before. I feel that. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I feel that pressure. I’m going to bust my butt and get it right. I’m going to squeeze all the information I can out of Coach K and Jerry [Colangelo] and everybody who has been here. Thank heavens Jerry’s still going to be with the program. I’m sure Coach K will too. So I’m in good shape that way. I have all kinds of people I can lean on.”
Krzyzewski compared the succession process with himself and Popovich to platoon leaders succeeding each other in the military. “The fact that we’re both military guys we understand that I have the unit right now and he’s going to take command of the unit and we both want the unit to do well,” said Krzyzewski, who coached at West Point and served as a field artillery liaison in South Korea. “We understand that. We’ve been good friends but this has been great for me and I think for him too; just for us to bond even more.”
“In London, he was also an integral part of what we were doing and a key guy,” Krzyzewski said at USA Basketball training camp on Tuesday. “But if we lose in Beijing, you’re not interviewing me right now. So I recognize that.” That run at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 holds particular meaning for Krzyzewski, who recalled how the legendary Laker saved his team in the gold medal game against Spain.
In the fourth quarter, Bryant turned a one-possession game into a 118-107 victory by orchestrating one of the many clutch performances in his career. He scored 13 points with two assists in the final period, leading the “Redeem Team” to gold after the 2004 team came home from Athens with only bronze to show. “With less than nine minutes to go, we’re up by two against Spain — there’s a lot of pressure on him,” Krzyzewski said. “He comes out and he was the Mamba.”