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May 23, 2013

Jerry Colangelo

Mike Krzyzewski

CRAIG MILLER:  Thank you to everybody for joining us this morning.  It's an exciting time with USA basketball and making this announcement on our Men's National Team.  To outline the teleconference, we'll ask for general comments from Jerry Colangelo, who is the Chairman of USA Basketball, and has been the managing director of the USA Basketball Men's National Team since 2005.  During Jerry's tenure over those years, USA teams have compiled an incredible 62‑1 record, won a pair of Olympic titles, won a World Championship title.  Obviously he's done so with Coach Krzyzewski at his side.
So we'll start with some comments from Jerry, and then we'll ask for Coach to give some general comments and talk about the decision process he went through to return and then we'll get into questions.  So at this point, Jerry, if you wouldn't mind just go through the process that you got Coach Krzyzewski to re‑sign up?
JERRY COLANGELO:  Well, let me first of all say good morning, and thanks for joining in on the conference call.  You know, I found it hard to look into the future and not have Coach "K" at my side as it relates to USA Basketball.  Despite his position when the London Olympics ended, I never lost hope, if you will, and belief that time would heal and that there was a great chance he would come back; therefore, I never moved forward with any conversations.
There are a lot of great coaches in the NBA and a few in particular who were probably the individuals who would have been considered most because I believed always that Coach "K" was coming back, So I couldn't be more thrilled that he is.
It's about continuity.  It's about having a successful program, and when it's going as smoothly as it is, you keep it going as long as you can.
CRAIG MILLER:  Thank you, Jerry.
Coach, would you care to comment?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, good morning.  I just want to thank Jerry for affording me the opportunity to coach the Men's National Team again for these next four years.  I've said this before, it's the ultimate honor that a coach can have and our country.  Really, for a player, it's the ultimate honor for a player to represent his country.
Once the Olympics were over in London, really, that is the end of a four‑year cycle and all players leave the pool of players, and I felt it was time to take a step back and allow USA Basketball to look at its future for the next four years.  Obviously, for me, I had a great seven‑year run, and doing that, Jerry started conversations about my involvement with USA Basketball not just as a coach but in some other capacity, and it lent itself to where it really led to really the best place would be if you continued to coach.
After discussing it with my wife and my family and the people here at Duke, my staff, it became clear that this is what I wanted to do and this is what was appropriate.  I'm very excited and honored about this opportunity.
CRAIG MILLER:  Thank you, Coach.

Q.  What was the time line when you thought this really needed to be done?  Secondly, what are the plans in sort of the off‑year this summer?  And thirdly, Coach, if you could put into perspective how much, if at all, this process has really even lengthened your overall coaching career?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I'll let Jerry take the first two, and I'll take the last one.
JERRY COLANGELO:  I'm going to ask you to repeat the first part of that, because I had trouble hearing the first part.

Q.  First part was when was a deadline, for lack of a better term, about when you really needed to get a decision from coach?  What are the plans this summer and this off year?
JERRY COLANGELO:  Well, a lot of plans were in place.  Infrastructure is obviously very much in place, and therefore, in terms of time limits, as long as we had our staff in place before the camp this July, we were going to be okay.
Again, in my mind, as far as Coach "K" is concerned, I wanted him to get through his season.  I've always respected his collegiate season.  So my goal has always been right after the Final Four and sometime before June 1st would be the appropriate time to really come to a final decision.  Obviously, we met that timeframe.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  As far as my coaching, just my career, USA Basketball has helped energize even more and I've learned so much over these seven years, it's made me better, wanting to coach even more.  Instead of reducing shelf life, so to speak, I think it's added to it, and I believe that it will do that over these next four years also.

Q.  You were talking earlier during the news conference about the fact that the world continues to get better.  Have you enjoyed the challenge of trying to coach against the world's best players and coaches, which has maybe helped increase your success and made you a better coach?  Have you enjoyed that part of the experience as much as coaching the guys you coached?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, well, there is no question about it.  There are so many amazing coaches throughout the world, and they see the game sometimes in a different way and still very effective way.  If you can implement some of the things they do or try to defend or attack the things they do, it makes you better.  There is no question about it.

Q.  Regarding Vegas and the mini camp, how many players can we expect?  And I understand there will be a game on the 25th at the Thomas & Mack.  Can you confirm those things?
JERRY COLANGELO:  That's correct.  There will be a game on the 25th.  We're expecting about 24 of the outstanding young players who are future representatives of our USA teams and we're in a pretty good position.  All of our youth teams are defending gold medalists, 16, 17, 18, 19 and so forth.  And the system is pretty full and they all want to play, so there is no shortage of people who want to represent USA Basketball.
So we're going through that list.  Invitations are being sent out, and I'm sure it will be fully loaded for the camp in July.

Q.  Jim Boeheim has said that he would be amenable to returning to the USA staff if you would come back.  In fact, he said the only way he would come back to the USA staff was if you were the USA head coach.  Have you talked to Jim, and do you plan on adding him to the staff for 2016?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I talk to Jim all the time.  We're very, very close friends.  Our families are close, and he's also part of our conference now, so he's there on conference meetings.  You know, Jim has headed the selection committee for our younger teams for over a decade, so he's been a mainstay for USA Basketball.
Jerry's not ready to announce the staff yet, but certainly Jim would be somebody that I would love to have on the staff if that all works out.

Q.  In 2009 when you came back the players had already said they'd stay in the program so you were kind of the last guy to re‑sign almost and this time you're the first.  Have you heard from players yet, and do you want to get an idea who is willing to come back with you?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  No, I've heard from some of the players.  I haven't asked any player are you committed yet or whatever.  I think that is a process that Jerry and all of us will need to go through, but, yeah, I've heard from a lot of the players or have seen tweets, gotten messages, calls, and have seen some public statements by players, all of them very positive and some of them saying they'd like to play, and we'll iron all of that out.
But there will be a good momentum here now going forward to try to reestablish the pool of players that we need to have to compete in these competitions.

Q.  Would you like to see guys play next summer come this summer, or are you okay if it's just the young guys who maybe aren't ready yet?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, I think we have a pretty good idea of talent.  A lot of the guys have played for us before.  That's not really the purpose of this summer.  This summer is to see new people.  We would hope that a lot of our players who have played before would still be there so that we can renew relationships and for them to feel part of the USA Basketball family.
I know Jerry will extend invitations to a great deal‑‑ a great number of players to see if they'll be there.  We'll get a chance to talk to them and socialize and get ourselves prepared for the following summer in Madrid.
JERRY COLANGELO:  Let me add to that as it relates to next summer.  A number of players have already indicated on a personal basis without even being asked that they wish to participate next summer in the World Cup and some of those were members of the Olympic team in London.  But the reality is we will have continued turnover each competition, and that is the way it should be, so that the players have the opportunity to look towards the opportunity to represent.
So I think the roster next summer will have some of the young guys who are going to be working out this summer and some of the carryovers, and that's usually the way it plays out.

Q.  This is a two‑parter.  The first part is from the outside it looked like Jerry always had a little bit of a game plan.  He mentioned reaching out to other coaches.  Were you aware of his game plan was to give you some time to reconsider and then hopefully get you back in the fold?  The second part of it if you don't mind elaborating a little bit more on maybe the timeline of your decision to go from adamantly stating that you weren't going to come back to slowly getting in the state of mind where you were interested and ultimately wanted to come back?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, thank you.  The first part is I don't know necessarily if Jerry had a game plan.  I think he had a vision going for these next four years that he'd want as much continuity as possible.  We never really talked about it during the season because‑‑ and if he wanted to go in another direction, then that would be fine.  But that's his decision.
Once our season was over, we talked about being part of USA Basketball.  Basically he said the best way for you to be part of USA Basketball is to coach again.  And I said, well, I'll discuss this with my family, my wife, especially, the people at Duke, and everything started ramping up a little bit after our season, but especially in the last few weeks where I actually had personal meetings with a couple of people from USA Basketball during the Final Four and then with Jerry.
With Jerry, we've had a number of conversations on the phone, but we met in person in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago earlier this month.  That's where it really got serious.
For me, I'm honored to have had this decision making process.  For Jerry to give me time and effort, and for him to give USA Basketball time to see what would be the best.  So hopefully this will turn out to be the best.

Q.  Of course the opportunity to represent your country is an honor that anyone would cherish.  Putting that aside for a moment, what, from your perspective, are some of the real advantages that the players get participating in team USA both on and off the court?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I think if I was a player, ultimately to have the USA jersey on and play for your country, and if you're fortunate enough to win a gold medal at the Olympics or World Championships, I mean, those are amazing things that can happen.  But the other thing is just a feeling that you get about representation, about service, about talents, about learning more about the game, about becoming a team member outside of your own team where you have to take on a different role.  You learn so many things, and our guys have.  They've been really open to all of that.
I think to a man, any of the guys that have played for us will tell you that they're better off, just like I'm telling you that I'm better off for coaching this team, they were better off for playing on that team.  It's a unique experience.  Friendships and a brotherhood that is developed that lasts forever.  I mean, most people don't have that.  Even people who play professionally, sometimes it seems they're never able to develop that, but the last three teams we've had, we've had that.

Q.  Can you share what those conversations were like?  If there was any back and forth with your family about making this decision?  And a quick follow‑up for Jerry.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, the main thing with my family is time with the family and would I still be excited?  Is this what I want to do and it's not just a call of duty to do?  They're all behind me, but they just want to make sure that I'm doing it because I want to do it.
I mean, they love my friendship and relationship with Jerry and the USA Basketball team, the team of people behind the team.  And they know that I love being with those people and that we're a pretty good unit, so they're 100% behind me.

Q.  The fact that there is now consistency at the coaching level with Mike and now Billy doing U‑18 and U‑19, these are the kinds of things that a lot of the other countries have had for years; what has it meant to USA Basketball to now get the consistency in coaching all the way down?
JERRY COLANGELO:  Well, if you remember back in '05 when I was asked to take over USA Basketball, we had a lot to do.  We needed to change a culture; we needed to get the respect back from the world basketball community.  We did all of those things.
But best practices is I looked at some of the countries that had done a terrific job in building their own infrastructure, and continuity was the big thing in coaching and players who played together for years.  So we have a different format in our country.  We have an academic program here where they have a club program in the other countries.  It's easier to keep players together in the other countries because there aren't as many, if you will.
So we have a hybrid, if you will, but we've developed our own infrastructure, and we do have continuity and it starts with the 16‑year‑olds.  We've got it pretty much well‑tuned right now.  As long as we can keep that going with the continuity and with the infrastructure, USA Basketball should have a bright future.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about the idea of your going back and forth between the two teams and the great success you've had early on during your first several years doing both, Duke did not have its best stretch.  But then since then, championships, Elite 8 this year, a lot of success, was any part of that learning to go back and forth between the two, juggling both?  Was there any experience to be gained on how to do that as well as you are now?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  You know, I don't think it had a bearing on the fact that those first few years.  It wasn't like time away or whatever.  I do think being with USA Basketball gave me some different ideas in how to put a team together and that that's helped.
But we have put really good teams together in the '90s and early 2000s that have won National Championships.  I just think we weren't, you know, for a few years we were just okay at Duke, and it had no bearing at all on my involvement.  But I would say some of the stuff that's happened lately, USA Basketball has definitely helped me.  I know I'm a better coach.  You just learn more, I've learned so much more, so I think it's helped me a lot.

Q.  When you think about putting a roster together, how much do you consider what the opponent's rosters are going to look like, what their strengths and weaknesses may be?  Do you just worry about your own team without so much regard to potential match‑ups, et cetera, with other teams?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I just think you put the most talented and best team, and it won't be the 12 most talented players, necessarily on any of the teams.  But I think you try to get the best players available, and whatever that core group is, the six, eight, nine, whatever they are, and then what you do, you complement them with anywhere from two to four other guys on the team so that they can play against any opponent.  But more complementary to your own team based on those seven or eight or nine that you try to build the team around.
Basically, you can't play 12 guys in a game, and you're going to have that core group of 7, 8 or 9, and you're going to need guys who are specialists, guys who, obviously, in case there is injury, who can fill in.  And all the guys over these last three teams have been more than willing to do that.

Q.  My question is about the turnover you might have in this next four years?  Some of those stars that you had on the other gold medal teams are getting a little older.  Even Lebron said I don't know what I'll be doing in 2016.  So do you feel there will be some changeover, and do you welcome that?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, there will be changeover.  If you look at the last four years when we won in '08, the team when we won the World Championships in Istanbul, did not have any members of that Olympic team on it.  And we had six guys on the team who were 21 years of age, and we were able to really do an outstanding job there.  Then the Olympic team was made up of five members of '08, five of '10, and then two new members.  So like Jerry said, there is constant turnover.  One is health, their family situations, and then the time commitment that is there, so that's why we have a pool of players.  And the development of a new pool is really the most important thing right now I think we'll come up with a good group, a really good group.

Q.  Before you closed on the video conference, you dropped quite a quote in talking about the future of the ACC, about being the best conference ever.  I wondered if that's something that you look forward to, the nightly grind that you'll have in the league?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I think it will be great, just from a basketball guy, a lifer, to have so many brands and basketball brands in this conference and the level of coaching and accomplishment that this conference will have, I think it will be great for the game.  I'm really excited about it.  At the end of the day our sport is only judged by if you win the National Championship.  I think when you're in the best league, I truly believe you have a greater chance of doing it because you play more games at that championship level than the other guy.
As long as you don't get hurt, the experience of doing that has got to help you.
CRAIG MILLER:  Thank you for participating.

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