With a couple of Mike Krzyzewski’s former Team USA Basketball assistants choosing to focus on their respective NBA coaching careers – Mike D’Antoni is holding the Lakers together with Scotch tape while Nate McMillan is hunting for a job – Coach K had to dig into his rolodex for a new staff.
And apparently he’s elected to focus on defense for the lead up to the Rio Games: He’ll bring in Bulls helmer Tom Thibodeau and Pelican’s head coach Monty Williams to his bench that still includes Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, who’s returning for his third Olympic cycle under Krzyzewski.
Their three-year coaching commitment starts with a July mini-camp in Vegas, where they’ll have a chance to work with “rising NBA stars” including, we assume, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, and maybe even DeMarcus Cousins, who USA Basketball CEO Jerry Colangelo said had a “some growing up to do” before he’d make an Olympics roster.
Team USA’s first real commitment is the 2014 FIFA World Cup of Basketball in Spain, home of the back-to-back Olympic silver medalists and Team USA’s top rival. If the U.S. wins there, they’d lock up their spot for the Rio Games. If not, they’d be forced to qualify through a tournament during the summer of 2015.
The long, long wait is over.
Team USA ended their 42-year Olympic medal drought in cross-country skiing Wednesday and they made American cross-country history in the process.
Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first American cross-country skiers to capture a gold medal by winning the women’s team sprint at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea. Sweden captured silver and Norway took home bronze.
Diggins and Randall are the first American women to win an Olympic medal and join Bill Koch as the only American cross-country skiers to earn an Olympic medal.
The Americans advanced to the finals courtesy of their first place finish in the semifinals, beating Sweden and OAR in the process.
Diggins out-sprinted both the gold and silver medalists of the individual sprint (Stina Nilsson and Maiken Falla, respectively) in the final stretch to take the gold.
Gold: Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins (USA)
Silver: Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson (SWE)
Bronze: Marit Bjoergen and Maiken Falla (NOR)
Click here for a full recap of Team USA’s historic run
Petr Loukal scored the lone shootout goal as the Czech Republic defeated the United States and advance to the medal round.
Jan Kolar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation, while Pavel Francouz made 18 saves and stopped all five shootout attempts.
Ryan Donato scored his tournament-leading fifth goal, and Jim Slater added a shorthanded goal as the Olympics come to an end for the United States.