There was a time when Coach Mike Krzyzewski was juggling both winning championships with Team USA at the Olympics and World Cups as well as with Duke in the NCAA. While Coach K may have retired from the former, he and Duke have left an indelible mark on the national team. With Gregg Popovich, widely considered the most successful professional coach in the game today, now at the helm, it’s a different team in Shanghai, where Team USA will play its first games in the FIBA World Cup as part of Group E. However, Duke and Coach K are still very much present within the organization.
Jayson Tatum and Mason Plumlee are both on the team after Kyrie Irving, JJ Redick, and Zion Williamson among others denied the offer to join (alongside many of the NBA’s most prominent stars). Additionally, Marvin Bagley III was elevated to the senior team after a day of training camp on Friday, so he will also join the official team.
Coach K made a visit to Las Vegas, where training camp is being held, this past week, which Tatum made note of via Instagram. Tatum said that his former college coach gave him advice, but wouldn’t reveal what was said. “The more experience, the more time I get with Coach– I only got a year with him. I’m always thankful to have him when he comes around.” Jayson spent his freshman year at Duke before departing to become the 3rd selection in the 2017 NBA Draft to the Celtics.
Bleed blue. While most of the NBA’s All-Stars decided not to join Team USA in China, hopefully the young roster can pull out a win in the championship on September 15. World Cup Play starts August 31.