Monday, September 13, 2010
Team USA captures gold
By Dick Vitale ESPN.com
Led by Kevin Durant, Team USA beat Turkey to win gold at the FIBA worlds for the first time since 1994.
USA basketball stood tall in the finals of the World Basketball Championships. Coach K and company got the gold medal; the first time America has celebrated that success since 1994.
Think about that! It was a combination of brilliant coaching by Mike Krzyzewski and the incredible play of Kevin Durant, leading USA to the winner's circle.
Coach K, did a phenomenal job of getting his players to perform with a sense of pride. He and Jerry Colangelo have done a remarkable job restoring spirit to those wearing the red, white and blue in international competitions.
This was a young, talented USA team that won it all in Turkey. They beat a Turkish team that came into the championship with an unblemished record, a home crowd rooting them on, and veterans like Hedo Turkoglu.
There was Durant, Derrick Rose and several stars of tomorrow. Coach K blended in veterans like Chauncey Billups and Lamar Odom for leadership and experience. The group meshed well.
Let me say this about Durant. I feel there is only one player in the NBA that I would even consider trading for the former Texas Longhorn, and that is King James, baby! The upside potential of Durant is incredible. His future is unlimited; he is a scoring machine who can beat you inside or outside. Durant also has a terrific attitude to go with his multi-dimensional skills.
Look at Coach K's resume on the international level. Gold medals in the Olympics and now the World Championships. He took advantage of the strengths of his club, and that game plan worked. He made sure they offset any liability due to a lack of interior presence and great size.
USA won the gold by utilizing its quickness and a pressure defense that led to many transition baskets.
Today in the world of sports, when you look at great leaders, Coach K has to be right on top of the list. That's right, think about all the coaches and managers in sports, glance at their resumes, and go to Durham, North Carolina to pick the creme de la creme.
I know, I can hear the fans and critics saying that I love Duke. No my friends, I look at this objectively and being fair. Championships at Duke and international success spells W-I-N-N-E-R! Coach K is the best of a group that includes a number of true superstars. You can certainly make a case for Phil Jackson and his title runs with the Bulls and Lakers.
You can consider Nick Saban down at Alabama, Joe Torre with his success with the Yankees and now competing with the Dodgers. Bobby Cox has had so many great years with the Braves. Ron Gardenhire is an unsung star with the Twins. You look at the NFL and see the championship rings on Bill Belichick's fingers.
Well, I feel the best of the best is Krzyzewski. I will respect the views of others.
Congrats to USA basketball on bringing home the gold. Coach K and Colangelo got the job done, solid gold in every way!