Getty Images

Steve Kerr among U.S. men’s basketball assistant coaches for Tokyo 2020

1 Comment

Steve KerrNate McMillan and Jay Wright will be Gregg Popovich‘s assistant coaches with the U.S. men’s basketball team for its Tokyo 2020 Olympic run.

Kerr, who coached the Golden State Warriors to three of the last four NBA titles, was cut from 1988 Olympic consideration when the tryout pool was cut to 21 players, the last team before the NBA began participating in the Olympics. Kerr had just finished his career at the University of Arizona and was about to start a 15-season NBA career that would include five titles (the last two playing for Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs).

He was also on the 1986 World Championship-winning team in Madrid, the last American men’s senior team composed strictly of amateur players to capture a gold medal.

McMillan, the Indiana Pacers head coach, was an assistant on Mike Krzyzewski‘s staff at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Wright, who coached Villanova to two of the last three NCAA titles, coached Team USA at the 2005 World University Games and 2007 Pan American Games.

The U.S. men’s basketball team, which has won 25 straight Olympic games and the last three gold medals. Its first opportunity to qualify for Tokyo 2020 at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, though it still must qualify for that world tournament.

The 2016 Olympic assistants for Krzyzewski were Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Tom Thibodeau and former New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Who is the world’s best female basketball player?

Hirscher leads by 0.56 seconds after first run in World Champs slalom

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marcel Hirscher swept into the finish area and wagged his finger triumphantly in front of the camera.

The message was clear: The ski king is back.

The Austrian produced an emphatic response to relinquishing his giant slalom title two days earlier at the world championships by taking a 0.56-second lead after the first run of the slalom on Sunday.

Only Alexis Pinturault of France was within a second of Hirscher, who was on course to win a record-tying seventh career gold medal at the worlds.

Marco Schwarz of Austria was in third place, 1.22 seconds off the lead.

Hirscher, the seven-time overall World Cup champion, showed no ill-effects from the cold that has been affecting him this week. After the giant slalom on Friday, he said he would be going straight back to bed to rest up for the slalom.

He looked in good working order on Sunday.

As the third skier on the course, Hirscher took 1.70 seconds off No. 2 starter Henrik Kristoffersen, who beat Hirscher to GS gold on Friday, and more than two seconds off Clement Noel, who came to the worlds in form after wins in Wengen and Kitzbuehel.

Save for Hirscher crashing, only Pinturault looks capable to denying the Austrian a third slalom gold at the worlds — something only the great Ingemar Stenmark has achieved. Pinturault was only 0.06 seconds behind Hirscher at the third checkpoint but he went wide at the first turn on the final descent and lost half a second.

“I’m still in the fight,” Pinturault said, “and still have a chance in the second leg. That’s the essential (thing).”

Daniel Yule of Switzerland was 0.28 behind Hirscher at the last split before falling at the start to the final descent.

Hirscher also won the slalom at the 2013 and 2017 worlds. A seventh career gold at the worlds would tie the men’s record held by compatriot Toni Sailer from the late 1950s.

Austria, a storied Alpine skiing nation, needs Hirscher to deliver in the final event to avoid finishing the world championships without a gold medal for the first time since Crans Montana, Switzerland, in 1987. The women’s team has already finished with no medals and that hasn’t happened since Schladming, Austria, in 1982.

Watch an encore presentation of the first run on NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET. The second and deciding run can be seen live starting at 8:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold.

Mikaela Shiffrin proving she’s in league of her own

Leave a comment

There are ski racers, and then there is Mikaela Shiffrin.

NBC Sports essayist Tim Layden calls Shiffrin the “rarest creature,” a prodigy who continues to get better with age.

Shiffrin’s stardom took off with her heart-stopping slalom gold medal in the 2014 Olympics. It looked like she would ascend to an even higher level four years later in PyeongChang when she claimed a gold medal in the giant slalom, but then she lost a battle with her nerves and failed to win a medal in the slalom. She did capture a silver in the combined event.

That Olympic disappointment has fueled her historic World Cup season. She became the youngest skier to pass the 50 win mark. She broke the women’s career record for slalom victories, and she became the first skier ever to win four-straight world championship titles in a single event.

A true prodigy indeed.