Adrian Wojnarowski criticizes Coach Krzyzewski and USA Basketball


On Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski, leading NBA beat writer for Yahoo Sports and one of the most well-respected reporters in the NBA universe, wrote a highly critical article of USA Basketball and its role in assisting Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Titled “NBA needs to pull stars from USA Basketball, which is showcasing only Duke’s coach,”the article focuses on how the FIBA World Cup is “beneath the threshold of worthiness” for many NBA stars like James Harden, Anthony Davis and others. Woj argues that “those most stridently touting the irreplaceable value of USA Basketball are those profiting the greatest from it.” Namely, he argues that USA Basketball head coach and Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is gaining unfairly from his experiences. I encourage everyone to read the article, but I also included some key points below.

"As much as ever, USA Basketball has been co-opted into a Krzyzewski leverage play for the Duke Blue Devils. If that doesn’t rile Kentucky’s John Calipari, wait until the Duke coach is credited for DeMarcus Cousins’ maturity with the Sacramento Kings this season.The end’s coming for USA Basketball’s grip on the game in the States, but once change goes into effect come the 2018 World Cup, it won’t matter much to Krzyzewski anymore. He still has two full summers of USA Basketball access left to him, and that’ll make it a full decade of control. As one Duke alumnus would tell you: There is a USA Basketball storefront selling patriotism and duty with a backroom reality that peddles the Blue Devils and Nike swooshes.…Krzyzewski never violated an NCAA rule when he climbed aboard a flight, flew cross-country and addressed the 2013 under-19 USA Basketball national team at its Colorado Springs training camp. He addressed players in a group, and talked to them individually, sources told Yahoo Sports. For the record, Krzyzewski is USA Basketball’s senior national coach and the visit gave him an opportunity to personally welcome those young men into the program’s feeder system.Well, the trip did something else, too: It gave the Duke coach unfiltered access to two of the best high school players in the nation. Florida’s Billy Donovan was the under-19 head coach. Virginia’s Tony Bennett and VCU’s Shaka Smart were his assistants. They probably didn’t need Krzyzewski’s voice, but he probably didn’t ask their permission, either.The roster of college stars happened to include two 17-year-old prep phenoms: Chicago’s Jahlil Okafor and Houston’s Justise Winslow. When Krzyzewski makes his triumphant return this week, two freshmen stars will be awaiting him on Duke’s campus: Okafor and Winslow.Within the college recruiting game, no one ever considered it a coincidence when one of those younger USA Basketball national teams would detour through Vegas to watch Krzyzewski and his Duke assistants on the training camp floor with the biggest basketball stars in the world.Without the access of USA Basketball, there’s a strong belief within the basketball community that Krzyzewski would’ve never landed Jabari Parker. Only, he had it, used it and signed him. He’s on a tremendous run, and let’s face it: Krzyzewski is so untouchable, he could keep Mason Plumlee on this World Cup roster without much of an uproar."

Woj makes lots of good points in the article, and I agree with most of them. I still enjoy watching the stars of the NBA play in international competitions, but I agree that Coach Krzyzewski receives an unfair advantage as coach in recruiting. I would like to potentially see the coach of USA Basketball be a full time coach solely for coaching Team USA, because any coach, NBA or college, with unfiltered access to American players gets an unfair advantage in the recruiting or free agency game.

I’m interested to hear your opinions about this situation. Is Coach K receiving an unfair advantage on other college coaches as USA Basketball head coach? Let us know in the comments below.