Jerry Colangelo Discusses USA Basketball (Part 3)
December 4, 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 3 he discusses the USA men capturing in 2010 their first FIBA World Championship gold medal since 1994 and the long running golden success of the USA Basketball women's program.
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.
Talk about the 2010 USA World Championship men's team.
I have a real warm feeling in my heart about the 2010 World Championship team because we had a bunch of young players and players who were part of USA Basketball for the most part but did not have Olympic experience.
So when you look at the players who were brought together, Kevin Durant and Westbrook and Derrick Rose and Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler and Chauncey Billups and on and on. We had an incredible group of guys who came together as a unit, and we won the World Championship.
Then when they went into their regular season, Tyson Chandler had the best season of his career; Derrick Rose became MVP; Kevin Durant was the leading scorer in the league. Durant and Westbrook and Love all were on the All Star team. It just goes on.
I mean, to see what they were able to accomplish, and we win with a totally different group of players says one thing. We have a lot of outstanding players in the United States today. We're deep. We're deep at most positions. Not necessarily at the center position because there aren't that many centers in our country for some reason.
But Coach K, with the continuity with the program, everyone knew exactly what to expect. That's what sets us apart today as compared to maybe how things used to be.
While chairman of USA Basketball, the U.S. women also won a 2010 FIBA World Championship and then won the Olympic gold for a fifth consecutive Olympics. Can you talk about the accomplishment and the phenomenal success that the U.S. women's program has enjoyed?
To say that the women's program has been successful is the understatement of all understatements, because it's an incredible achievement to have won five Olympic gold medals in a row, and to be as strong as they are and really a world apart from the other countries in the world.
They'll be challenged, there is no question about that, as they were in each of the last couple of competitions. But when it's all said and done, the women's program is as strong and as solid as it can possibly be.
It doesn't seem like there is an end to this. I think they're going to keep coming. I think we're going to keep winning. What a great tribute to the individuals who have contributed to this program and led us to all the success that it has.