The reactions - at least the public reactions - to the disappointing US performance in the FIBA World Cup are coming in now and the most critical one is from Jerry Colangelo and he’s not happy.
He’s not upset with the guys who honored their commitment. It’s the guys who didn’t:
You can’t help but notice and remember who you thought you were going to war with and who didn’t show up,” Colangelo told ESPN. “I’m a firm believer that you deal with the cards you’re dealt. All we could have done, and we did it, is get the commitments from a lot of players. So with that kind of a hand you feel reasonably confident that you’re going to be able to put a very good representative team on the court ... No one would have anticipated the pullouts that we had...Going forward for USA Basketball, we’re going to need the cooperation of teams, agents, and then there has to be communication with players one-on-one to solidify those commitments. I am going to be anxious to see how many players reach out early to indicate that they wish and want and desire to play.
”But I’ll make this statement: It’s as much about maybe who we don’t want as much as who we want.”
So basically some of the guys who pulled out probably shouldn’t expect to be invited to training camp next time around.
This year’s team? They’ll get invites. And not simply because they honored their commitments because that’s huge. The other key thing is they’re the core now. They have knowledge of the rules, opponents and how to compete together. If you add a few key pieces, specifically big men and some potent scorers, which could be one and the same, it’s a very different team.
Having a core though is a really big deal though and even though they didn’t medal, this year’s team answered the call. So expect them to be called again.
Check out what Gregg Popovich said about his team.
“I think it’s a disrespectful notion to [talk about who didn’t go]. ”That ‘well, hey, you guys didn’t have this guy or that guy!’ That’s disrespectful to France or whoever else is in the tournament. France beat us. It doesn’t matter who was on the team. I couldn’t be more proud of these 12 guys who sacrificed their summer to come here having never played together before, and they put themselves in the arena and competed and they deserve credit for that. Just like France deserves credit for winning. It’s not about ‘well, the United States didn’t have their other guys.’ There’s no such thing as other guys. These are the guys that were here, and they did a great job, and I’m very proud of them.”