USA Basketball’s Coach K and Colangelo rave about Rose
Audio—Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball Chairman, and Mike Krzyzewski, Head Coach of the 2010-12 USA Basketball Men’s National Team, announce the finalists selected for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team (01.16.2012):
By Adam Fluck | 01.16.2012
Before his performance last season earned him NBA MVP honors, Derrick Rose put on a show at the international level as a member of the 2010 USA World Championship team.
Rose, who has 16 international games under his belt, was the starter at point guard for the squad that went 9-0 and captured gold in Istanbul, Turkey. He averaged 7.2 points, 3.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 23.1 minutes per game.
So it came as no surprise when on Monday, USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of the 2010-12 USA Basketball Men’s National Team, announced that Rose is among the 20 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s team.
(Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)
“He’s just a marvelous player to coach because he’s a sponge and such a team player,” said Krzyzewski of Rose. “That whole summer, he wanted to learn and he did a great job for us. I think it helped him going into the next year. But he helped himself by making that commitment.
“Remember, he also was part of our select teams like [Kevin] Durant and guys that will be on our select team this year who will be part of the team that goes forward,” added Krzyzewski. “Derrick pays his dues. He's an incredible athlete, but an incredible guy. What a team player and pleasure to coach.”
In a conference call with reporters, Colangelo explained that there was a great deal of difficulty in determining the 20 finalists, but that a significant amount of emphasis was placed on equity. In other words, those who have put in time with the USA Basketball program and acquired international experience had an advantage with respect to consideration.
As Krzyzewski pointed out, 18 of the 20 players possess USA Basketball “service,” as he called it, citing the military as an example for selfless service. Furthermore, this is a group that has already proven they can win at the international level.
“I like the fact that we have a roster full of guys who have been champions, either in the Olympics or the World Championships,” said Krzyzewski. “[We have] people who are excited to play. It’s an honor for us to coach them and to work with Jerry. They’re not playing for us; they are us. That’s where the program has developed thanks to Jerry’s leadership.”
A host of other young, talented point guards join Rose as finalists, including Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook.
“We’re extremely, extremely strong at the point position, as evidenced by some people who aren’t even on this roster of twenty,” said Colangelo. “Right now, there seems to be a load of outstanding point guards in the NBA, including some very young ones.”
(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)
While citing the growth of some of the game’s young stars in Paul and Williams, it was Rose who Colangelo singled out.
“I’m not sure anyone has come as far and as fast as Derrick Rose,” he said. “He literally dominates games. As I watch him play, he seems to be able get to any point on the floor at any time he wishes. Our practices are going to be pretty interesting in terms of competition.”
Krzyzewski concurred, adding, “Obviously, we have a lot of really good guards.”
Given eight 2008 Olympic gold medalists and 10 members of the 2010 USA World Championship team are among the finalists, this is also a group that will be prepared when it’s time to compete.
“The guys that have played for us know what to expect,” stated Krzyzewski. “They understand that they are not going to be overworked. What we did after the first year was adapt to each other. In other words, we’d have one practice a day. But most of those guys had some type of individual workout—conditioning, stretching, Pilates, you name it. We carved out time so they could get all that done [without] it messing up their normal routine.”
Krzyzewski added, “One thing about all these 20 players, they are not only very talented, but they’re very smart. They’re very intelligent and they’re very good team players. They understand that they are representing the United States and they’ll adapt accordingly.”
Colangelo said that the final 12-man roster will be selected June 18, with training camp likely to begin sometime after the Fourth of July. The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be held July 27-Aug. 12 in London, England.
“This will be the most talented of the three teams that I have had the opportunity to coach,” said Krzyzewski. “We’ll have a combination of the two championship teams, but also they are older and better. A number of them are at the prime time in their careers. I like the balance we eventually could have with youth, [players being] right at their prime, and guys with experience.”
Aside from Rose, should he make the final roster, the Bulls will likely have other representation in London. Luol Deng’s Great Britain team has qualified, as has Joakim Noah’s French team.