USA Basketball embracing Thibodeau and Rose


Jun 10

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USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo suggested Monday the way is being cleared for Derrick Rose to return to USA Basketball for the 2014 basketball World Cup in Spain and the 2016 Olympics in South America.

“Had he not been injured, he would have very likely been a member of the roster for the (2012) Olympics,” Colangelo said on a conference call to announce the additions of Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and Pelicans coach Monty Williams as assistants to head coach Mike Krzyzewski for USA Basketball.

Krzyzewski in something of a surprise returned to lead the USA men’s basketball team for the next series of international games through 2016. The 2012 Olympics was supposed to have been Krzyzewski’s final run after coaching the teams from 2006-2012. Speculation was Doc Rivers, Doug Collins or Gregg Popovich could replace him. It’s likely now Krzyzewski would leave after the 2016 games, which could open the door for Thibodeau to replace him. That’s all speculation and there has been no talk about a successor to the legendary Duke coach.

But in discussing adding Thibodeau and Williams to replace Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan as assistants, Colangelo emphasized the belief that defense and rebounding are the principal elements in putting together a winning international formula.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim also will return given his familiarity with zone play, which is emphasized in international basketball.

“Rebounding and defense is what wins,” said Colangelo when asked about the team and coaching selections. “We have more than enough people who can score the ball. That’s never been an issue.

“Tom Thibodeau has done an incredible job,” acknowledged Colangelo. “Nobody likes to play the Chicago Bulls… the built in toughness, hard play, digging in. Overall, the better we can become on the defensive end… (and) if you can rebound the ball you have a good chance to be successful.”

Thibodeau’s Bulls teams have been celebrated for their top defense and rebounding. Williams also is regarded as a top defensive coach.

Derrick Rose

Colangelo puts much into loyalty to USA Basketball. Rose played for the gold medal winning 2010 World Championships team and, as Colangelo noted, was likely to play in 2012 before he suffered his ACL injury in April.

So it seemed clear Colangelo would like Rose back for international competition, and as soon as possible, especially with Thibodeau being added to the staff. The USA team will have a Las Vegas camp for younger prospects starting July 22. Rose is beyond that group, but Colangelo said they might invite Rose to be back and get a feel being around the group.

“Obviously, what we need to do is find out how far and how quickly he can come back (from his knee surgery),” Colangelo said. “That’s the important thing.

“We’ll monitor Derrick in the course of the upcoming season,” said Colangelo. “If he’s fully healthy (as expected), we’ll want to bring him in next summer to take a hard look and maybe even play in 2014 (in Spain), which might be in his best interests.

“He helped us considerably in 2010 when we won in Istanbul,” added Colangelo. “If I’m not mistaken he went on to be (NBA) MVP after that summer.”

Rose also played for USA Basketball teams in 2007 and 2009, which gives him further currency with the program.

Generally, players from previous teams have priority about returns. Colangelo estimated regarding the 2012 Olympic team that perhaps half the players expressed an interest in returning to play in 2014. That team was comprised of Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Love, Deron Willliams, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, James Harden, Andre Iguodala, Tyson Chandler and Anthony Davis.

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