2009 USA Men's National Team Mini-Camp: Day Two Quotes And Photos
Las Vegas, Nev. - July 24, 2009
Day two of the 2009 USA Basketball Men's National Team Mini-Camp brought more scrimmage -- and more photos and quotes for our fans. Hear from USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo and 2009-12 USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski and catch all the action from Friday's practice in our photo gallery!
JERRY COLANGELO, USA Basketball Chairman
Were you pleased with the effort you have seen in practice?
Well, they had a great session the first day. I thought the half-court work was extraordinary in the sense that the effort was as good as you would expect. I think they ran out of gas a little bit during the scrimmage, but that was to be expected. I think today we may see some other players rise to the occasion, but that's all part of the process. It's not a one-day look. It's more about watching them in a couple of days of practice and a game and then following through with their season in the NBA coming up. From all of that, we will make some decisions about who we will invite back.
How will the teams for the USA Basketball Showcase be determined?
That is certainly up to the mini-camp coaching staff. With the numbers of players we have here, everyone will get a fair equal opportunity to show what they can do. I'm sure we are going to mix it up accordingly.
What do you expect to see tomorrow night?
We want to see effort. I'm sure we are going to get that. We want to see who steps up out of the pack. Who shows some leadership, how people react to situations, and you never know what that means until you get into a game situation. It could be a last-second shot at the end of a quarter. It could be a decision that someone has to make. In international competition, it could always go down to the last play, so you want intelligence and you want character. You want much more than the physical attributes that we all talk about all the time. In situations like this, we get a chance to see it in a more intimate circumstance.
How does tomorrow's game fit into selecting the 2010 and 2012 teams?
It's only a part of the journey. This is kind of a new thing for us. We had a Select Team practicing with our Olympic Team last summer and in 2007, but this is more about getting players focused on trying to become a member of that Olympic roster.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI, Duke University and 2009-12 USA Men's National Team Head Coach
What do you make of Jay Triano as a coach?
First of all, Jay Triano is a dear friend, and he's a great coach and as good a human being. He's helped us so much in winning the gold in Beijing in preparation behind the scenes. And he brings a wealth of experience, not just working with the pro players but working with the international game and has helped us transition to a much more international group than just playing United States basketball -- playing internationally. He's tremendous. He's a great resource for us.
For you, what the biggest difference between coaching college players and NBA players?
It is different. One you're coaching men. You are coaching professionals, and in some respects it's amazingly easier because they're quick learners. They want to know what to do. They have great attitudes. It's basketball at a much more mature, higher level, which it should be. That's the transition, college to pro.
Can you talk about the play of point guards Devin Harris and Derrick Rose?
Not just yesterday, but they have been on the Select Team. They have been kind enough to come and help us in preparation for Beijing. One of the things is their size. I think internationally, it's a much more physical game, and especially on the ball, you can get chucked a lot. You have to be strong enough physically and with the ball to get through that and still run. And both of them can really defend, and they are pass-first point guards. And when you have, if we have all these guys - Dwyane and Kobe and LeBron and Carmelo - you want guys who will make sure that they pass the ball to those guys.
How do you approach this four-year period differently than the last period?
We've always had a good comfort level about where we wanted to go. We are at a different level. We are not building a culture; we have a culture. We are trying to continue it. The fact that all these guys are here, shows that guys are anxious to play for their country. We need to keep developing the program where we give them opportunities, and we build on that feeling. Part of it is doing it very professionally. Jay and his staff have done it real well. The biggest thing for USA Basketball was the continuation of Jerry Colangelo running it. Now he's running the whole thing, not just the senior men's program, because it starts there. He's been a great, great leader.
It didn't take you much convincing to come back then?
Well, a big thing was to work with Jerry, and I'm proud of my staff that they wanted to do this again - Mike and Nate and Jim and a lot of the support people. I think it's good if we want to maintain the continuity of player involvement to have some type of continuity coaching and leadership wise because then these guys know what to expect. We may run a little bit different offense, defense and there might be one or two or more different guys, but if the main guys are there, they want to know, 'Hey, I know how practice is run. I know how people will be.' We are already a family. We are way ahead of where a U.S. team has ever been, and we need to capitalize on that.
Is Kevin Durant a safe-bet to make the team?
Is there a safe-bet in Vegas? I don't know about that. Obviously though, he's world-class talent with a world-class attitude. So a very unique player, a perimeter player at 6-11. I was impressed with his defense yesterday. One thing that we tried to with the last team and going forward is to have length. We may not have all the bulk, but if we have length that's a huge thing for us, and obviously he gives us good length.
Many of these players are 20 or 20 years old. Does help create a foundation for USA Basketball past 2012?
That's what this is about. It's not just for '10 and '12. Some of these guys are 21, 22 years old. I mean, they might be on the teams in '10 and '12, but certainly they are the future of USA Basketball if you get them indoctrinated into this.
Is the talent here at min-camp an example of USA Basketball regaining its prestige?
I think it just says a lot for United State basketball, and the teamwork that the NBA has with USA Basketball I think is critical. It's critical. Jerry with his experience, obviously, on the board of governors and (as an) owner - this is a great growth time while Jerry is in charge. His is the most critical position.
On Jerry Colangelo:
He gives a certain level, a high level of respect for the program, which, if you are going to allocate resources to a program, you want to know that he resources are going to be well taken care of. And these are the resources of the NBA. When they are with USA Basketball, they need to be well taken care of.
(The) NBA is part of USA Basketball, but obvious the relationship between the two is critical, and that's where he comes in.