Jerry Colangelo doesn’t expect more withdrawals, still awaits LeBron James’ decision

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Following a raft of withdrawals from his potential men’s Olympic roster, USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo thinks he’s seen the end of it. And even with all the players pulling out, he’s not concerned about a drop off in performance in Rio.

“To the best of my knowledge, as of this moment, we don’t expect any additional attrition due to injuries,” Colangelo told ESPN Radio’s Andy Katz and Rick Klein on Tuesday. “We have been in touch with most all of the players who still remain on our list of candidates. We’re moving quickly toward the selection process and we will name our team no later than June 27th.”

Concern arose last week as four players pulled their names out of consideration for various reasons, bringing the total to eight. James Harden, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, John Wall, Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin have said they will not compete in Rio

But Team USA is “blessed” with a deep roster, Colangelo said, one that is able to take some hits and remain the gold-medal favorite.

“There should be turnover each time, because that’s what keeps the system purring, if you will,” he said. “The depth that I refer to, we’re blessed with a lot of great players. If you look at our depth chart, you could take a number of hits, as we’re doing right now – and hopefully we’ve seen the end of it. And if that’s true, we’re going to be just fine.”

His stance may change should LeBron James take his name off the roster. The two-time Olympic gold medalist is 31 years old playing in his sixth consecutive NBA Finals, which pushes an already-long season into June. But Colangelo is preparing for life with or without James.

“LeBron, we were advised some time ago that he wouldn’t make his final decision until post playoffs. So honestly, what we’re doing right now is kind of composing a couple of rosters – one with LeBron, one without LeBron. And again, we won’t know until the finals are over,” Colangelo said.

James’ Cleveland Cavaliers extended the 2016 NBA Finals by winning Game 5 Monday night. James scored 41 points. Game 6 is Thursday.

The radio hosts also asked Colangelo about the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil. From the information he’s been given, he said he’s not concerned about his well-being or that of his high-priced players. Not one NBA player has cited Zika as a reason for withdrawal.

“All systems go,” Colangelo said in regard to the virus.

MORE: James Harden is 8th U.S. basketball withdrawal; who remains?

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here with redactions.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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