The new director of the national team Grant Hill will have to choose the replacement of the coach, who leaves after the gold in Tokyo
Even a curmudgeon like Gregg Popovich eventually broke up. On the Tokyo Olympic podium, after leading Team USA to gold, after completing that mission by representing his country that he felt so important, he hugged his players and, with the gold medal of one of them around his neck , he called friends to show what he had done. The one inside the Saitama Super Arena will be the last image of Pop ct: his adventure at the helm of the national team ended there.
Popovich, 72, ends his adventure with 45 wins and 13 defeats, the crash of the 2019 World Cup (7th place, worst result since NBA players have played in the national team) redeemed by Olympic gold. Won not without worries (the defeats with Australia and Nigeria in the first two friendlies, the one with France in the first match at the Olympics), but still conquered by returning to Team USA the role of reference point in world basketball. In Tokyo, however, an era ended: the US national team greeted Jerry Colangelo, top manager since 2006, the man behind the rebirth of a team that had lost itself after having enchanted the world in Barcelona 1992 which gave way to Grant Hill, alongside him in Japan and now the new plenipotentiary of the national team, with an official handover that took place during the weekend of the Hall of Fame. His first task, as he confided to The Undefeated, will be to choose Popovich’s substitute on the bench.
Hill revealed that he hopes to pick the new coach before the NBA season kicks off on Oct.19. The identikit is already outlined: someone who has experience in the national team (Hill has it too, gold in Atlanta 1996, obviously as a player), who knows European basketball, who understands the challenges of being a coach, of coaching a team as a US Team that unlike the other national teams is a group that assembles from scratch every time there is a great competition to play. The next is the 2023 World Cup, organized by the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan, but Hill would like to organize a mini camp in Las Vegas in the summer of 2022. On the table of the new director of the US national team there are already several names: the first is Steve Kerr, number 2 of Pop in Tokyo. Then Lloyd Pierce (Carlisle’s new deputy in Indiana) and Jay Wright (coach of Villanova University), two other Popovich assistants in recent years. In addition to them Doc Rivers, Eric Spolestra, Nate McMillan, Monty Williams, Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy, who stood out as coach of the national team during the qualifying windows for the 2019 World Cup, those to be faced without NBA players. Hill is still thinking about it, and may be asking Pop for help. His smile after the gold, the fourth in a row for Team USA and the first of his legendary career, will remain forever in this team’s scrapbook.
September 16 – 20:47
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