Yesterday, news broke that Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was in discussions to return as the USA Olympic men’s basketball coach through the Rio 2016 Olympics.
On a smaller scale, earlier last week the Providence Journal reported that Providence head coach Ed Cooley will join Marquette head coachBuzz Williams and Tim Ryan, head coachfrom the College of Central Florida, as court coaches for the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s Under-19 World Championship team training camp.
While Cooley won’t be working with Coach K, but rather Florida head coach Billy Donovan during the June 14-19 training camp held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, it’s clear he’s looked up to coaches like Krzyzewski and others, and had a burning desire to get involved with the program.
Cooley told Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal: “I feel honored and blessed just to be involved. It’s a chance to see some of our best young players and learn from some great coaches.”
Cooley is right on the mark because in some respects the USA Basketball’s World Championship teams are as much of an opportunity for the game’s brightest stars to grow as players as it is for up-and-coming coaches in the college game to expand their coaching abilities. Of course, Cooley is an established coach having nearly 20 years of experience under his belt–seven as a head coach with stops at Fairfield and now Providence–but working alongside Williams and Donovan can only benefit.
To go along with the three court coaches, Donovan’s two assistant coaches include Virginia’s Tony Bennett and Virginia Commonwealth’s Shaka Smart. Pretty good company Cooley finds himself in.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.