Jerry Colangelo

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Jerry Colangelo: I will remember who did not show up for World Cup

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DONGGUAN, China (AP) — USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said Thursday that when the time comes to start assembling the Tokyo Olympic roster, he won’t forget those who backed out of commitments to play in the World Cup this summer.

Of the 35 players originally selected for the U.S. player pool, only four are in China for the World Cup. The U.S. lost to France in the quarterfinals, ending a streak of seven major international tournaments — four Olympics and three World Cups — where the Americans captured a medal, the last five of them being gold.

“I can only say, you can’t help but notice and remember who you thought you were going to war with and who didn’t show up,” Colangelo said. “I’m a firm believer that you deal with the cards you’re dealt. All we could have done, and we did it, is get the commitments from a lot of players. So with that kind of a hand you feel reasonably confident that you’re going to be able to put a very good representative team on the court.

“No one would have anticipated the pull-outs that we had.”

The U.S. lost again to Serbia on Thursday, and will finish no better than seventh — the worst finish ever by an American men’s team in a major tournament. The previous worst was sixth at the 2002 World Championship, and the U.S. coaches with this World Cup team insist that in terms of return on effort invested this group deserved better.

Many players cited schedule concerns as a reason to not play this summer, while others are dealing with injuries and some are acclimating in advance of joining new teams when training camps start in less than three weeks. The new international schedule is a challenge as well, with the World Cup and the Olympics in consecutive offseasons for the first time since 1967 and 1968.

More than 50 players were part of the U.S. World Cup plan at one point or another. Of those, 12 went to China, two got cut after the first week of training camp — and the other three dozen or so dropped out on their own.

“We just have to get our act together for the Olympics,” Colangelo said.

MORE: Every U.S. loss since the Dream Team

The U.S. will go to Tokyo seeking a fourth consecutive gold medal, and getting stars to play on the Olympic team is rarely a problem. The World Cup team wasn’t exactly loaded with superstars — only two of the 12 U.S. players on the World Cup roster were All-Stars this past season (Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton), while nine of the 12 players on the 2016 Olympic team were coming off All-Star appearances.

“The players did everything they can do,” Colangelo said. “They are a good group of guys. But we went in with higher expectations in terms of roster, and it didn’t kind of happen the way we were hopeful and anticipating and expecting. That, to me, was a big disappointment.”

Colangelo also expressed disappointment for U.S. coach Gregg Popovich, who will also lead the Tokyo-bound team next summer. Popovich missed out on making the 1972 Olympic team as a player and was an assistant coach on the 2002 World Championship and 2004 Olympic teams that failed to win gold medals.

“I told Pop I felt really bad for him because I wanted him to have a chance to win a gold medal after his experience with USA Basketball in the past,” Colangelo said. “But it wasn’t meant to be in this competition.”

So now, his eyes are turning to Tokyo.

It won’t take long for the recruiting process to start, either.

“Going forward for USA Basketball, we’re going to need the cooperation of teams, agents and then there has to be communication with players 1-on-1 to solidify those commitments,” Colangelo said. “I am going to be anxious to see how many players reach out early to indicate that they wish and want and desire to play.

“But I’ll make this statement: It’s as much about maybe who we don’t want as much as who we want.”

MORE: FIBA World Cup schedule, results

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USA Basketball elects retired Army general to succeed Jerry Colangelo

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Retired Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been elected chairman of USA Basketball.

Dempsey replaces Jerry Colangelo, who held the position for two terms but will now focus on his role as managing director of the U.S. men’s national team.

Dempsey was elected Monday during a meeting of USA Basketball’s board of directors. His term is 2017-2020.

He retired last year after 41 years in the military, the last four as the senior officer in the Armed Forces and the military adviser to the secretary of defense and the president. He was appointed special adviser to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in January.

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Jerry Colangelo to leave USA Basketball chairman role

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Jerry Colangelo won’t seek a third term as chairman of USA Basketball, instead focusing on his role as managing director of the men’s national team program.

Colangelo said Thursday that he will concentrate on the transition from coach Mike Krzyzewski to Gregg Popovich and building the player pool for the competition cycle through the 2020 Olympics.

He is the only person to serve two terms as chairman. USA Basketball’s board of directors will elect a new chairman at its annual meeting on Nov. 14.

“Given the coaching change and the challenge of assembling a group of players for (the International Basketball Federation’s) new competition schedule, this is a good time to devote my full attention to the men’s national team,” Colangelo said in a news release.

Under changes made by basketball’s governing body, the Americans will have to qualify for the 2019 Basketball World Cup in China over a two-year cycle during 2017-18. The World Cup will then serve as the qualifier for the Tokyo Games.

The Americans won gold again in men’s and women’s basketball in Rio de Janeiro and are 267-6 since Colangelo began overseeing the organization in 2009. The U.S. is also ranked No. 1 in the world at the boys and girls levels.

Colangelo began his role as national team director in 2005 and was elected to his first term as chairman after the American men won the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. The men have won 53 straight games in major international competitions.

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