Coach K has had to deal with various injury woes and withdrawals this summer…
Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski has revealed that he was left surprised by Kevin Durant’s late decision to withdraw from camp due to mental and physical fatigue.
The reigning NBA MVP was expected to play a significant role in the FIBA World Cup in Spain this summer, and his leadership skills as well as his ability on the court will be missed.
However, Coach K insists that he was surprised by the decision as Durant had begun training and was a key component of the team’s play, and he concedes that it will be an adjustment to work without him for the remainder of their preparations.
“It’s one of those things; you don’t replace Kevin Durant,” Krzyzewski said, ESPN reports.
“You look different. And so we have today and [Friday] to look different before we play a really good team. That’s of concern for me because we were pretty far along. We had our best camp ever in Vegas since I’ve coached [Team USA]. Those guys were terrific. We had more in [game plan-wise], but we had more in to play a certain way. And then Kevin deciding not to play … it’s concerning.
“But hopefully we’ll be good enough on Saturday, and then we use New York and Gran Canaria to get better and get better during pool play.”
Team USA have had to deal with a number of obstacles in the past month, with various players suffering injuries and withdrawing from the roster to play in Spain when the tournament gets underway on August 30.
Paul George suffered a broken leg after a freak collision with the basket stanchion in an exhibition match earlier this month, while the of likes Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and LeMarcus Aldridge have all opted against playing this summer.
Nevertheless, Coach K and Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo remain optimistic about their chances and believe that they still have a strong enough roster to compete and win the tournament.
Point guard Derrick Rose has been singled out in particular to have a stand-out tournament, and the Bulls star will be thrilled to continue preparations in camp in Chicago this week.