February 20, 2017

Hoops Across The Ocean

USA Basketball Men's National Team Visits Maspalomas Beach

Every so often, red, white and blue has to trump Tar Heel blue. So for the next two weeks, I’m going to be rooting for a Dukie. Actually three Dukies.

Painful but patriotic.

The USA (with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and former Dukies Kyrie Irving and Mason Plumlee) opens play in the World Championships on Saturday. I guess they’re calling it the World Cup now. I’ve always known it as the World Championships.

The name really doesn’t matter. It’s a great opportunity for a lot of good young NBA players to take center stage. There are a few ways of moving up the ladder of prominence and success in the NBA. Making an All-Star team. Making the playoffs and helping your team win a playoff series. Being on a Championship team. That’s how you establish your credentials.

I love the fact that Derrick Rose is back on the court. He and Steph Curry are legitimate stars. Anthony Davis isn’t far behind. He’s going to be the next great player – a Tim Duncan-type big man who’s consistent for the next 10 years.

I’ve been told that this is the youngest U.S. team since the 1992 Olympics. I think they’re going to be challenged once they get past group play. Don’t get me wrong. They’re the best team, but the single-elimination format makes it tougher to be successful.

Losing Kevin Durant and Paul George shook them up a little bit, but it looks like they’ve started to figure out the lineup combinations. In the same sense, there are probably a few more countries that now believe they have a chance to win the gold medal.

That’s always good for international basketball.

– Coach Karl