Jerry Colangelo Discusses USA Basketball (Part 2)
December 3, 2012
USABasketball.com sat down with recently re-elected USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo for a five-part interview covering a wide variety of topics.
In Part 2 he discusses the phenomenal success of USA Basketball's junior programs and his views about FIBA’s new 3x3 basketball initiative.
Colangelo, 2009-12 USA Basketball chairman and managing director of USA Basketball’s 2006-08 and 2009-12 men’s national teams, was re-elected on Nov. 13 as chairman of USA Basketball’s Board of Directors for the 2013-16 term.
Named in 2005 managing director of the USA Basketball Men's National Team program that had not won a major international competition since 2000, Colangelo confidently rebuilt the program from the bottom up. Obtaining the involvement of the NBA’s top players, and securing the involvement of some of basketball’s most respected coaches, Colangelo’s first step in his rebuilding process was selecting Duke University’s Hall of Fame mentor Mike Krzyzewski as the USA National Team head coach.
Since he took charge of the national team, the USA men have compiled a remarkable 62-1 win-loss record and have claimed gold medal finishes at the 2012 London Olympics, 2010 FIBA World Championship, 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2007 FIBA Americas Championship.
During Colangelo's first term (2009-12) as USA Basketball chairman, USA Basketball men's and women's teams compiled an impressive 166-8 win-loss record in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, the World University Games and the Nike Hoop Summit. USA teams are the current men's and women's champions in the Olympics, men's and women's FIBA World Championships; women’s FIBA U19 World Championship; men's and women's FIBA U17 World Championships; and the men's and women's U18 and U16 FIBA Americas Championships.
Additionally, USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls.
You had touched on it earlier, USA Basketball junior national teams have had great success over the last quad. With the involvement of many athletes that could ascend to the senior national team level, how important is it to get these boys and girls into the system early and then bring them through the pipeline to potentially compete in an Olympics?
You know, it's so easy often to look at the ultimate goal, and that is, in our case, winning the gold medal in the Olympics. That's how we're structured here in the United States.
But it all starts somewhere else. It starts with the 16 and under players who participate on the men's side and the women's side; 17, 18, 19 and unders. So all of those competitions are grooming these players for the next level.
What is the next level? We have a select team that we bring in to scrimmage against the Olympic team or the World Championship team.
So that's their first indoctrination on that level with the senior men's program. Then they hope and aspire to be part of the World Championship team.
We're going to continue to have turnover as we go forward, and I think that's healthy for our system. Players need to know that if they get into the system, they legitimately have an opportunity to get to the rainbow, if you will, and that is the Olympic team and hopefully have a shot at a gold medal.
And so right now we're very healthy, we're very deep in every age category. The players are lined up and all want to represent their country. They're part of our family.
So right now I would say it doesn't get much better than it is.
FIBA has added three on three basketball to its slate of events with the hope of having three on three become and Olympic event.
As far as three on three basketball is cornered, I'm somewhat of a basketball junkie. I love the game, as I have said over and over again. I have a passion for the game whether it's one on one, two on two, three on three, five on five.
I do believe basketball is the ultimate team game, that happens to be five on five. But three on three offers an opportunity to expand the game, to give more individuals an opportunity to participate.
There are some in intriguing aspects to a three on three game that really levels the playing field competitively around the globe.
So you will see teams coming from I won't say obscure countries, but countries that normally would not have a great basketball tradition who have a much better chance to be successful in a three on three competition than they would in a five on five competition.
So that's good; that's healthy. If we can add another basketball competition to the Olympics and therefore have yet another opportunity to win another gold medal in basketball, I think that's good for everyone.