Coach K on Olympic team: “I know LeBron will play”

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Mike Krzyzewski has some tough decisions to make about the upcoming Team USA squad for the London Olympics — do you bring in a second true center behind Tyson Chandler or do you go “small” with Kevin Love in that role?

But there are some easy decisions, too.

“I know LeBron will play,” Krzyzewski told the Associated Press.

So Coach K isn’t going to cut to LeBron James, the best player on the planet. That’s some smart coaching.

Krzyzewski actually praised LeBron and his growth.

“I’m proud of LeBron and where he’s at right now, and I do think that when you’re that great a player, that great a talent, that you learn openly,” Krzyzewski added. “You don’t go learn in private. You’re out there while you’re learning, and while you’re learning, you’re going to be criticized for the things that you’re in the process of learning. … There’s some things you cannot learn unless you’re in that moment. Like, you can’t rehearse it.

“You can’t feel it until you’re in the moment of a finals, a gold medal game, a seventh game, a national championship. He’s been in two of those moments, and I think he’s shown in this series that he’s learned from those moments.”

While LeBron almost certainly plays, it would be a surprise if Dwyane Wade does. He is clearly bothered by his left knee and with a very short turnaround until the opening of USA Basketball Camp (July 6 in Las Vegas) he’s not going to have time to get it right.

As for the rest of the team, you can bet Kevin Durant will turn around from the finals and be there, as likely will Chris Bosh and maybe James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Coach K isn’t setting anything in stone.

“We don’t even know who the guys on the team are yet because we have to wait until we get them in Vegas to see where they are physically, family and contractually. Those three things, that I’ve learned over the last seven years, can cause a change just like that,” he added, snapping his fingers. “And then you have to be prepared for it.”