The nation’s best basketball players — give or take a few superstars — will practice at the U.S. Military Academy in August, just weeks before heading to Spain to defend their world title.
It’ll be unfamiliar territory for the players. But the coach knows his way around.
Mike Krzyzewski, a 1969 West Point alum who spent five years as the Black Knights head coach before leaving for greener — and bluer — pastures in 1980, will lead Team USA to his alma mater for an Aug. 18 workout as part of the NBA’s Hoops for Troops program. The league announced a number of military outreach efforts last week involving NBA, WNBA and Team USA players; the U.S. women’s team, for example, will work out at the Naval Academy for nearly a week in early September.
Kevin Durant and Kevin Love lead a long list of NBA superstars who committed to play in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which begins begins Aug. 30 in Spain. Other top-tier members of the 28-man Team USA roster, which was released in January, may skip the event, resting up for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Among those likely not heading to West Point or anywhere else with the 2014 club: Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Still, Durant and Co. should be favored by a few dozen when the team kicks off the tournament against Finland.
The military outreach program dates back to 2012, when troop-Team USA interactions included a speech to the team by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Krzyzewski took over Team USA in 2005. He ranks first all-time in wins in top-tier college basketball; his coach while a player at Army, Bobby Knight, ranks third.