cloudy.png
Tuesday December 10th, 2019 4:05PM

Special guest: Krzyzewski stops by USA Basketball practice

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Gregg Popovich somehow only met Mike Krzyzewski for the first time about four years ago, when the two coaching greats saw their paths finally cross when they were together at a USA Basketball event.

They're a whole lot closer now.

USA Basketball's coaching past was alongside its present Wednesday, when Krzyzewski — who led the national team to an 88-1 record over his 12 years at the helm — was alongside Popovich for Day 3 of the team's training camp in advance of the FIBA World Cup. And Popovich made no effort to hide how happy he was to have his predecessor in the gym to watch practice and some scrimmages.

"We were anxious to get Coach K in town to spend a couple days," Popovich said. "I've already talked to him, as you might imagine, gotten advice. But to have him here, seeing the scrimmage, now we can all go back and talk about what we think needs to happen. Having him here with that added experience is invaluable."

Popovich wasn't the only one in the gym feeling a boost from Krzyzewski's presence on Wednesday. Among the others: USA Basketball forwards Mason Plumlee and Jayson Tatum, both of whom said they relished the chance to spend some extra time with their coach from Duke.

"It was great, man," Plumlee said. "I try to see Coach once or twice a summer, so for him to come out here ... he didn't come for me, but it was great to see him."

Tatum chatted with Krzyzewski for a few minutes after practice, and said he got some advice.

"Confidential," Tatum said. "But it was good advice."

Krzyzewski won five gold medals in his tenure as national team coach — including three at the Olympics and two from the world championships, now known as the World Cup — started Wednesday in a morning meeting with Popovich and other coaches. He walked into practice at UNLV alongside Popovich and was expected to take part in more meetings before departing later this week.

"He's really the only guy that Pop can relate to in trying to bring this together so fast," Plumlee said.

Krzyzewski, who politely declined an interview request through USA Basketball, first met Popovich around the time that the longtime San Antonio Spurs coach was accepting an invitation to replace the Duke coach at the helm of the U.S. program. They were brought together in Las Vegas by USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo during preparations for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Colangelo wanted to hire Krzyzewski's replacement long before Rio, just to eliminate incessant speculation during the Olympic cycle about who would take over the program.

He wasn't aware at the time that the coaches had never gotten acquainted.

"Once they got to know each other, they were like bonded immediately," Colangelo said. "Pop was in all the meetings and the practices after they met. I wanted him to get his feet wet just to see how we had done things under Mike. And I think it was a great way to get him started. But I thought that was amazing, that they had never met each other."

Krzyzewski and Popovich are loaded with similarities: Both went to service academies, both played for Bob Knight (Krzyzewski played for Knight at Army, and Knight was Popovich's coach at the 1972 U.S. Olympic trials, a few years before Popovich got his first head coaching job at Division III Pomona-Pitzer). Both have five championships from their 'real' jobs — Krzyzewski at Duke, Popovich in San Antonio. They are both considered basketball royalty, the top of the top of their profession.

All that only adds to the oddity that they didn't know each other until a few years ago.

"I'm a Division III guy at heart and that's where I spent most of my time until I somehow woke up in San Antonio and never left," Popovich said. "We never played Duke when I was at Pomona-Pitzer."

NOTES: USA Basketball said Boston's Marcus Smart is out with a left calf injury, and he will be re-evaluated when the team gets to Los Angeles for the second part of training camp next week. ... In two 10-minute scrimmage periods Wednesday between the national team candidates and the select team — the younger NBA players brought into practice to compete against the varsity — there was no winner. Both periods ended in a tie, with Milwaukee's Khris Middleton making three free throws with 0.7 seconds left in the first one to save his team. ... Camp continues with Day 4 on Thursday, followed by an open scrimmage Friday night.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
O'Rourke skips Iowa, stays in El Paso after mass shooting
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is canceling a series of campaign stops in Iowa and will remain in El Paso, Texas, through the weekend as his hometown continues to cope with a mass shooting that killed 22 people
7:02PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Oprah Winfrey praises her late friend and idol Toni Morrison
Oprah Winfrey praised her late friend and idol, Toni Morrison, hailing the best-selling author's "confidence and self-assuredness and nobility."
6:55PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Gurriel 8 RBIs, Cole wins 10th in row, Astros rout Rockies
Yuli Gurriel drove in a team record-tying eight runs, Gerrit Cole won his 10th straight decision and the Houston Astros routed the Colorado Rockies 14-3 for their sixth victory in a row
6:47PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Braves hit 4 homers in 11-7 win to take series from Twins
Albies, Acuña, Freeman give Twins more trouble at the top as Braves take series with 11-7 win
6:16PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Biles on USA Gymnastics' failures: 'You couldn't protect us'
Olympic champion Simone Biles remains angry at the way USA Gymnastics and other organizations botched the investigation into former national team doctor Larry Nassar
5:43PM ( 1 hour ago )
Defending Rogers Cup champ Halep edges qualifier Brady
Wimbledon champion Simona Halep of Romania beat American qualifier Jennifer Brady 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the second round of the Rogers Cup
5:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Redskins to offer gambling-focused preseason telecast
Washington Redskins to become first NFL team to have gambling-focused telecast of their games, offering cash prizes to viewers who correctly predict in-game outcomes during preseason
9:32PM ( 21 hours ago )
Collier's 22 points, 11 boards, 5 assists lead Lynx by Dream
Napheesa Collier stars as Minnesota Lynx beat Atlanta Dream 85-69
9:12PM ( 22 hours ago )
For Popovich, finding a team quickly will be a challenge
For USA Basketball coach Gregg Popovich, the first challenge will be to find the right players who fit together
6:35PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
AP source: Warriors, Green agree on 4-year, $100M extension
Person with knowledge of situation tells AP that Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors agree on $100 million, four-year extension
3:01PM ( 4 days ago )
Saints' Brees describes "kinship" with Pelicans' Williamson
Saints quarterback Drew Brees doesn't see himself and Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson as an odd couple from different generations and different sports
7:05PM ( 6 days ago )
Garber's 20 years as MLS commissioner time of huge growth
Don Garber's 20th anniversary as Major League Soccer's commissioner is Sunday, and the league's challenge these days is growth and not survival, an upward trajectory that will be boosted when the U.S. co-hosts the World Cup in 2026
5:11PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
O'Rourke skips Iowa, stays in El Paso after mass shooting
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is canceling a series of campaign stops in Iowa and will remain in El Paso, Texas, through the weekend as his hometown continues to cope with a mass shooting that killed 22 people
7:02PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Oprah Winfrey praises her late friend and idol Toni Morrison
Oprah Winfrey praised her late friend and idol, Toni Morrison, hailing the best-selling author's "confidence and self-assuredness and nobility."
6:55PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Gurriel 8 RBIs, Cole wins 10th in row, Astros rout Rockies
Yuli Gurriel drove in a team record-tying eight runs, Gerrit Cole won his 10th straight decision and the Houston Astros routed the Colorado Rockies 14-3 for their sixth victory in a row
6:47PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Medicare to cover breakthrough gene therapy for some cancers
Medicare to cover CAR-T therapy for some blood cancers, increasing access to breakthrough treatment
6:44PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Texas governor says 'no red flags' in El Paso suspect's past
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he's not aware of any 'red flags' in the suspected El Paso gunman's past and made no mention of taking major gun-control measures
6:43PM ( 28 minutes ago )