Five years ago, USA Basketball hit rock bottom with a bronze medal showing at the 2004 Olympics. Hired in 2005, and given full power to make whatever changes he deemed necessary, Jerry Colangelo implemented a new infrastructure. He hired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to be the team’s head coach, and required that players make a three-year commitment to the program. Led by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade, the United States captured gold in the 2008 games. Now, young elite players like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose are clamoring to be a part of USA Basketball. Colangelo spoke with FanHouse’s Chris Tomasson about the selection process for the 2010 World Championships in Turkey:
There are 12 holdovers from last summer’s Olympics along with the 22 invitees to Las Vegas in July. But point guard Jason Kidd, 36, has said his USA Basketball run concluded in Beijing.
“I would say that is probably true,” Colangelo said of Kidd having retired from international competition, although he said he would speak to him as a courtesy.
Colangelo will talk this fall to all the Olympic holdovers. He spoke to seven — James, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Deron Williams — at last February’s NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix.
“All of them said yes (about playing in Turkey),” said Colangelo, who in July got a commitment from Mike Krzyzewski about returning as coach at least through the 2012 Olympics in London. “But I will want another discussion with them to see where they stand.”
After coming up with a 25-man roster, Colangelo said there could be some additions and deletions by next spring. Then, between 14 and 16 players from that roster will be chosen for a training camp next July in Las Vegas.