The 2012 Olympics are officially in the books, and with them, Coach K’s tenure as USA Men’s Basketball head coach. With another four years between now and the next “Dream Team,” it might be time to start a little campaign of our own to get Coach Cal in his place.
Just this morning, USA Today wondered out loud who would be the best fit to fill that vacancy, and asked readers to vote on their pick. The options are John Calipari, Doug Collins, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino, Gregg Popovich, and Doc Rivers. Yes, Rick Pitino. No, I’m not making that up.
Doc Rivers is in the lead, but with a whopping 27 total votes as of 8:23 this morning, the current standings are not even close to conclusive. The standings are likely to change by the time this is posted. That said, Cal is currently behind Rivers, Collins, and Poppovich. Nobody is behind Pitino.
There’s really no reason for us not to want Cal in that spot, provided that he wants it himself. Coach K has shown that, when you’re able to help the team come together and win, the amount of positive attention paid to the coach and his school is enormous. Coach K has done a great job over the summer, and the players in the league clearly respect him and value his company. You know who’s paying attention to that? Recruits. High school talent Robert Hubbs recently commented to Zagsblog that he was impressed with the Duke coach’s ability to recruit while leading Team USA to a gold medal. As great as coaching the Dominican team has been for Cal, especially when it comes to great young players like Karl Towns, Jr., imagine the impact that coaching Team USA would have on recruiting. It’d be like a second NBA Draft, but way better, so far as Kentucky exposure goes.
Not to mention that if the NBA goes through with the threatened “23-and-under” rule for the Olympics (which Kobe says is “stupid”), there will be a lot of young NBA talent led by former Wildcats like Anthony Davis and MKG. While the rule is a bad idea in a competitive sense, it would make Cal an even more logical option. Better if it didn’t happen, but it’s a silver lining.
While there’s nothing wrong with Rivers, Izzo, Collins, or Poppovich, think about how great Calipari would be as Team USA coach. He’s got that “it” factor that would help get the world’s most talented players to listen to him instead of playing five one-man games. Plus it would be a tremendous boon for the University to have Cal at the helm of the men’s team. And think about how much it would mean to Cal personally. I’m just guessing, but you have to think it’d be a pretty big deal. In fact, it might be fair to think he retired from the Dominican team just so that he would be available should Team USA come calling.
It’s very unlikely that Colangelo will be paying attention to the USA Today poll when it comes time to making a replacement selection. However, on the off chance that he does, wouldn’t it be nice to see Cal blowing everyone out of the water? Again, the poll is here. We have four years to get this done, but today’s as good a time to start as any. Coach Cal’s 2016 Team USA campaign begins now.
Oh, and Coach K, congratulations on your Team USA success. But did Duke win?