USA National Team coach praises Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried

Mike Krzyzewski continues to be impressed by the Manimal
by Aaron Lopez

Hard work and camaraderie were two themes as the USA National Team held its mini-camp in Las Vegas last week.

It was an environment suited perfectly for Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried.

USA coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke glowingly about Faried on Tuesday as he and national team managing director Jerry Colangelo discussed the 16 finalists being considered for the U.S. World Cup roster.

“He’s a different player than the other players we have,” Krzyzewski said.

“His specialty has been rebounding, energy, good defense and running. He did that every day and he did that in the scrimmage. Guys like playing with him.”

Faried, preparing to enter his fourth season in Denver, had six points and seven rebounds in the USA Basketball Showcase on Friday. He provides a nice complement to All-Star scorers such as Kevin Durant, James Harden and Stephen Curry.

“It’s not about getting the 12 best players,” Krzyzewski said. “It’s how you fit them in.”

In addition to Faried’s rebounding and hustle, USA Basketball officials have been impressed with his defensive ability in the low post.

“He’s capable of being a great defensive player because he has the energy, the toughness, the foot speed, strength and quickness,” Kzyzewski said. “Defense should be one of his strengths.”

Faried will report to Chicago next week as the national team resumes training for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. The United States plays an exhibition game against Brazil at the United Center on Aug. 16.

USA Basketball officials must pare the roster to 12 players before Team USA’s first World Cup game Aug. 30 in Spain.