2016 Olympic Team: Major changes likely with coach, personnel
It certainly looks as though the men's basketball team in the 2016 Olympics will have some major changes. Who will be the new coach? How about the players? We take a shot at both with our options to succeed Coach K and a full 13-man roster.
I had Adrian Wojnarowski on my SiriusXM radio show last night and the Yahoo! Sports NBA writer said he believes Olympic basketball will go to 23-and-under beginning in 2016. The NBA owners want it.
"I have little doubt in my mind it's going to happen," Wojnarowski said.
Wojnarowski made a case for Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers to take the reigns from Mike Krzyzewski and while that would be a home run choice due to Rivers' versatility (he possess the rare ability to manage egos and connect with young players), a valid argument can also be made to replace Coach K with another college guy.
To me, a couple of options stand out: Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan.
Izzo hasn't been ultra-involved in USA Basketball in a few years, but was an assistant coach for the Goodwill Games in 2001 and also the head coach of the 2003 Pan-Am Games. He's obviously a proven X's and O's guy, commands respect and could also deal with the egos involved. Donovan just got done coaching the U-18 team to the gold medal at the 2012 FIBA Americas Championship in June. Both Izzo and Donovan would walk to Rio de Janeiro for an opportunity to coach in the Olympics.
Coach K is 65 years old and while he has certainly made it clear that the plan is for this to be his final Olympic go-around as the head coach, he and Jerry Colangelo haven't completely closed the door on him returning in 2016. Krzyzewski has already said he'll stick around in some capacity regardless whether he continues to coach the team, but you have to wonder if going to the U-23 model would alter K's decision. He could certainly have more influence in recruiting circles with being able to have a major say in what young kids wind up playing for the Olympic Team.
Come to Duke and you'll have the inside track to representing your country in 2016. Not a bad sales pitch -- and one that could keep Duke fighting for national titles as Coach K's career winds down.
While we're discussing the future of the Olympic Men's Basketball team, here's a quick look at what the squad could look like in 2016 (with birthdays in parentheses). Obviously, LeBron James and Kevin Durant wouldn't be eligible. Neither would guys like Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes or Austin Rivers -- as all will have turned 24 by the time the Olympics begin in Brazil.
SF - Jabari Parker (3-15-95), Simeon High (Illinois)
PF - Cody Zeller (11-5-92), Indiana
C - Anthony Davis (3-11-93), New Orleans Hornets (NBA)
PG - Trey Burke (11-12-92), Michigan
SG - Shabazz Muhammad (11-13-93), UCLA
SG - Bradley Beal (6-28-93), Washington Wizards (NBA)
PG - Kyle Anderson (9-20-93), UCLA
PG - Andrew Harrison (10-20-94), Travis High (Texas)
SF - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (9-26-93), Charlotte Bobcats (NBA)
SF - Adonis Thomas (3-25-93), Memphis
BF - James Michael McAdoo (1-4-93), North Carolina
PF - Aaron Gordon (9-6-95), Archbishop Mitty High (Calif.)
C - Nerlens Noel (4-10-94), Kentucky
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