Undefeated Kidd Back As Coach K's 'Intern'
Las Vegas, Nev. ē July 21, 2010
If the 2010 USA Basketball Menís National Team has plans of an undefeated, gold-medal finish in this summerís FIBA World Championship in Turkey from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12, Jason Kidd is a good guy to have around.
A veteran of six USA Basketball teams, Kidd hasnít lost a single game at the senior level of international play. Though Kiddís not playing this time around, USA Menís National Team and Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski invited the 37-year old Dallas Mavericks point guard to the National Teamís training camp in Las Vegas to offer support to the coaching staff and to a roster full of young players.
Kiddís international record at the senior level, from 1999 through 2008, is an impeccable 58-0. Heís won two Olympic gold medals (2000 and 2008) and in 2007 was named USA Basketballís Male Athlete of the Year.
During the 2008 Olympics, Kidd and Krzyzewski discussed the possibility of Kidd coming to help coach during the 2010 Menís National Teamís training camp, which began on Tuesday afternoon.
Sure enough, Kidd was there alongside Krzyzewski and assistant coaches Jim Boeheim (Syracuse University), Mike DíAntoni (New York Knicks) and Nate McMillan (Portland Trail Blazers), performing an ďinternship,Ē as he called it, to offer his help and advice and to even learn a thing or two about coaching along the way.
You havenít lost a game playing for USA Basketball in international tournaments. Is that right?
Havenít lost a game. But Iím not playing (this year), so my record will stay undefeated. Iím just here to watch and see what the coaches do. Itís kind of like an internship. So, Iíll get to see some of the best coaches Ė Coach K, Mike DíAntoni, Nate McMillen, Jim Boeheim Ė and just pick their brains if I ever want to coach.
How did they approach you about doing this?
I talked with Coach K about it during the Olympics in Ď08, and he said he would love to have me. He kept his word and invited me out, and Iím happy to be here.
As a veteran of international play, what advice would you offer to some of the younger players on this roster?
I think the biggest thing is that the game is different. Itís a shorter game. You get a lot of wide open jump shots, because teams want to take away the paint. Itís a little more physical, and youíre going to go into some maybe hostile environments where it could be a little tough. Thatís the biggest thing I can give these guys is to tell them to just have fun and to be them. Theyíre all here for a reason, because theyíre talented.
How do you feel about the group of players at this training camp?
This is going to be a good group. You got 21-year olds, a lot of young guys here that are coming into the (NBA) and having some success. Now, they have to come together and form a team in a short amount of time. But with Coach K, I think they can do that.
What will some of these new guys have to adjust to playing internationally?
Well, just the physical side of the international game. Thereís going to be things where there wonít be any calls. Normally in the NBA, you have three officials and they still might miss a couple things. Now, you (sometimes) only have two officials. Itís a quicker game with less possessions, so if you do get down, itís harder to come back. So you do want to get out to that big lead and go from there.
Whatís it going to be like for these guys playing in assistant coach Mike DíAntoniís offensive system?
Itís a system where youíre going to score, and theyíre not going to have problems scoring.
How good is this coaching staff?
This coaching staff is the best you can get. And you look at the young talent weíve got here, and itís a great opportunity for this coaching staff. Again, these are NBA players, but some of them are 21, 22 years old, and theyíve been in the league for three or four years already. Itís exciting to see the NBA has a lot of talent, a lot of young talent.
On this summerís NBA free agency moves Ö
Everybody went East, which is great. I think LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh have a great team down there (in Miami). Everybody will talk about them, but the Lakers are the champs, so you gotta knock them off to get that attention. On paper, thatís a pretty good team in Miami, and New York got a good piece in Amaríe.