USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo admitted he had considered backup plans if Mike Krzyzewski’s health kept him from coaching Team USA in 2016 Olympics.
Colangelo clearly meant it as a best-safe-than-sorry plan, but some took it as evidence Krzyzewski wouldn’t make it to Rio.
In a statement, Colangelo said: “I’d like to clarify comments I made last weekend in Toronto. I fully expect Coach K to lead the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team in Rio. I was aware that [Krzyzewski] planned to have knee replacement surgery immediately after Duke’s season was completed, but at no time have Coach and I ever discussed him not coaching the USA national team this summer.
“I remain 100 percent convinced that there is no better coach to lead the U.S. as it looks to successfully defend its Olympic gold medal in Rio and represent the United States in a manner all Americans will be proud of.”
Said Krzyzewski: “Immediately after the Duke basketball season is completed, I will undergo replacement surgery on my left knee. Our medical team here at Duke and I expect a full recovery following the rehabilitation process and I have every intention of coaching the United States national team in Rio at the 2016 Olympics.”
Of course, Krzyzewski should coach Team USA if he can. And of course, Colangelo should have a backup plan just in case. That’s only prudent.
The problem here wasn’t what Colangelo said. It’s how it was received by some.
Krzyzewski might not coach in Rio. There’s a long way between now and then, and so much can happen.
But it’s highly probable he will, and that’s more important – though less interesting – than replacement speculation.