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September 22, 2017

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Coach K’s return to Team USA won’t be a surprise

One of the worst summer secrets will be confirmed Tuesday when the coaching staff for the U.S. national basketball team will be revealed at the Wynn.

If it isn’t Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who guided the squad to gold at the Olympics in Beijing last summer, maybe it will be Jerry Colangelo himself.

Colangelo, the chairman of USA Basketball, laughed Monday afternoon from Chicago. Colangelo will fly to Las Vegas on Tuesday morning.

“All leads point to him, I guess,” Colangelo said. “Everybody is speculating. That’s OK … I have to save something for tomorrow. On an official basis, you can speculate all you want.

“I have to save something for tomorrow. Tomorrow is when I’m going to make an announcement, then I’m going to blow your socks off.”

Two weeks ago, The Boston Globe cited two sources that said Krzyzewski will return as Team USA’s coach.

New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, Portland coach Nate McMillan and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim are expected to return as Krzyzewski’s assistant coaches.

The announcement will kick off Team USA’s return to its summer headquarters in Las Vegas. Two dozen players will meet Wednesday, work out Thursday and Friday, and they will scrimmage Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

But this won't be like the past few summers. Elite players, like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, finally have a summer off. This squad will feature players who, in all likelihood, will be battling for only a few spots that figure to be available on the senior national team next summer.

Toronto Raptors coach Jay Triano will run the workouts.

Go here for a rundown of the players who will participate in the workouts this week and information on tickets, which cost $10-$75, for Saturday’s scrimmage.

Colangelo cited the success of the men’s U16, U19 and men’s and women’s World University Games teams, as examples of the national pride that Krzyzewski’s efforts have achieved.

The U19 men won the U19 World Championship, beating Greece, in New Zealand. The U16 men won the FIBA Americas U19 title, defeating Argentina on its own court.

The men’s World University team won the bronze, beating Israel in Serbia. The women’s World University team beat Russia for gold in Serbia.

“Those teams went 28-1, with three gold medals,” Colangelo said. “All these young people are interested in representing our country now. We changed the culture we wanted to change.

“When we started this whole process in 2005, it was all about putting the infrastructure in place, putting the right people in place and building the program and trying to create a pipeline.”

Look for Krzyzewski, the architect of that pipeline, on that podium Tuesday at the Wynn.

“Mike and I have a great relationship, and I have great respect for him as a person, as a leader and as a coach in his commitment and passion to this country and this game, and USA Basketball,” Colangelo said. “I can’t say enough about that.”

“It would make sense to keep that infrastructure in place, if you could.”

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