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Monday, November 28, 2005
D'Antoni, Boeheim, McMillan to assist on U.S. team

Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, Syracuse University's Jim Boeheim and Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan were named Monday as assistants to head coach Mike Krzyzewski for the U.S. basketball team.

The mix of NBA and college coaches form the staff of the first true U.S. national team to compete in next year's world championships and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"This staff encompasses all the areas that need to be addressed," Krzyzewski said in a statement. "We have NBA experience. We have international experience. We have backgrounds to teach different styles of basketball, including zone offense and defense."

Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball managing director and chairman of the Phoenix Suns, made the announcement at a news conference.

He cited D'Antoni's international experience as a player and coach in Italy for 20 years, Boeheim's familiarity with the zone offenses and defenses common in the international game and McMillan's toughness as a defensive player and coach.

After disappointing showings in the world championships and the Athens Olympics, USA Basketball re-formed its organization and named Colangelo as the sole leader charged with returning U.S. supremacy to what he calls "our game."

He is forming the first true U.S. national team to compete in both major international competitions. The coaches and players will not be paid and must make a three-year commitment.

A permanent training site will be selected soon, Colangelo said. The camp will be held next summer with some 20 players selected to compete for spots on the team that will compete in the world championships in Japan.

"The camp will begin approximately July 18 and we're not finished until Sept. 4," Colangelo said. "That's going to be a grind."

The U.S. team will play exhibition games in China and South Korea before going to Japan, Colangelo said, and will practice at U.S. military bases in the Far East.

D'Antoni marveled at how his career has gone since he was promoted from assistant coach to head coach of the Suns 1½ years ago. He was named NBA coach of the year after directing Phoenix to 62 victories last season.

D'Antoni said the international game "probably is closer to the college game than the pro game. That's why I think coach K will do such a great job."

Boeheim is in his 30th season as Syracuse coach with a career record of 707-243. His Orangemen won the 2003 national championship. This is the eighth time Boeheim has served on a USA Basketball coaching staff.

"There is no greater honor a basketball coach can have than to coach for your country," Boeheim said in a statement released by USA Basketball. "I believe the whole country will unite behind this effort to win back the gold medal."

McMillan coached the Seattle SuperSonics for five seasons before moving to the Trail Blazers this fall. He led the Sonics to a surprising 52-30 record in 2004-05, sixth-best in the NBA. He played all 12 of NBA seasons with Seattle.

"I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked to be a member of the coaching staff" of the U.S. team, McMillan said. "I am so honored to have been asked. This is the greatest achievement of my basketball career."