Bob McKillop's international advantage

Updated: July 2, 2013, 12:33 PM ET
By Fran Fraschilla

Davidson's Bob McKillop will coach the United States men's basketball team in the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, this week. He's no stranger to international competition. In fact, he is as well known in basketball circles around the world as he is in this country.

After getting the opportunity to coach a couple of Italian players at Long Island Lutheran High School in the early 1980s, McKillop built an international basketball network based on his willingness to share his knowledge with coaches at clinics around the globe.

McKillop became the coach at Davidson in 1989 and has since built the Wildcats into a mid-major power. No team since in college basketball has taken more advantage of international players than Davidson. In many ways, it was born out of necessity.

The pool of student-athletes in the United States who could meet the academic requirements of a school like Davidson, wanted to be a part of a fledgling basketball program and were available to McKillop was small. But since many international players didn't know the difference on the basketball court between the rebuilding Wildcats and a national power like Duke or Kentucky and were capable of handling Davidson's academic requirements, McKillop found a recruiting niche.

Before Stephen Curry arrived in 2006 and turned Davidson into a household name, McKillop's chief source of basketball talent came from places like the Czech Republic, England, Croatia, Canada, Germany, Nigeria and elsewhere around the globe. Those players put the school on the map.

As McKillop gets ready to take his team to Russia, his feel for international basketball with regard to styles of play and the rules will certainly be an advantage that many American coaches don't enjoy.

I caught up with McKillop and discussed, among other things, how he has benefited from international basketball.

Fraschilla: You're as known in Europe by basketball coaches almost as well as you are in the United States. How did your interest in international basketball start?