Despite talk to the contrary since the 2012 Summer Games came to a close with another Gold Medal earned for USA Basketball, Mike Krzyzewski is apparently thinking about returning in 2016.
According to this CBSSports.com report Krzyzewski is thinking about going back on his earlier statements that he would not return to coach USA Basketball in Rio de Janeiro. The 66 year- old coach has an impressive 62-1 record as the head coach of team USA and has led the program to two straight gold medals following a fall from grace for the country that invented the game.
After the second medal, Krzyzewski said he was going to hang up his USA coaching duties and focus his efforts on his full-time job at Duke, something that many Duke fans were hoping for.
The move to coach USA Basketball was not a popular one among Duke fans and more than a couple sports analysts who felt that the time Krzyzewski was spending away from Duke was causing a decline in the program. The Blue Devils 2010 National Title appeared to silence those critics but they still all were quietly rejoicing.
It is hard to argue that coaching the Olympic team hurt Duke. The Blue Devils won a championship and continued to win close to 30 games a year during the period he was coaching Team USA. Duke lost some recruiting battles but they won some too and most recently the 2013 class brought in a nice haul and 2014 appears to be shaping up to be one of the better ones in recent memory if a few pieces fall in place.
Unlike those who felt the time away from Duke would cause more harm than good, the results of Duke’s success seem to indicate the positives of coaching the NBA’s best have greatly outweighed any negatives.
Krzyzewski has been a big draw for players like Kobe Bryant and Lebron James and while Bryant isn’t likely going to be playing in 2016, James will still be in his prime and more of the leagues premier stars will likely follow him especially if Krzyzewski is at the helm.
That is a fact that isn’t lost on many of the young players who see those players thrive in Krzyzewski’s system and see how well receive he is by the biggest stars in the game. And in an age when image is truly everything, no 66-year-old coach has expanded and kept his brand going as much as Coach K.
Another tour of duty as the Olympic Coach would likely have many of the same positives for Krzyzewski and the Duke program. Krzyzewski has lauded what coaching NBA players has done for him in terms of Xs and Os much more than what it has done for his public image. Duke has benefited from his experiences and will likely to continue to benefit.
So is it a good thing that Krzyzewski will be back on the sidelines coaching the Olympic team in Rio? Most definitely, regardless of what the critics say.
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