By Sam Rubenstein

I just read some of the Mike Krzyzewski quotes about what he expects from Team USA. Thanks coach, I needed a good laugh. Here are my favorite ones, which you can find in USA Today:

Coach Klass“It’s a 40-minute game, and we may need a guy who is going to play five minutes. And he will play those five minutes like they are the most important five minutes in his life.”

and

“I think it would be good for every player on the team to look at himself as a role player. We’re not the Lakers, the Cavs or the Heat. This is the United States basketball team. Guys have to share the ball and responsibilities with everybody else on the basketball team.”

Okay. I’ve picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard. It’s clear that Coach K has been working so hard at Duke and been so busy recruiting the top people who can also play basketball, that he’s never seen an NBA game. The most important five minutes of his life? These players can buy and sell you and your fancy GMC truck and American Express Card. No more “If you don’t run into that wall I’m taking back your scholarship.” Sure, an NBA superstar might find himself diving for a loose ball, jumping into the crowd and lying on his back, really just waiting for the cherry picker dunk play to develop. But let’s just say they don’t play with the life or death intensity of Wojo. Of course, the Leader of Men has a solution for this problem. The USA Today article highlights the strengths of Team USA’s players. For example, Elton Brand’s are “Inside game, rebounding.” LeBron’s are “Versatility, scoring.” These are important things to have on your basketball team.

The listed strenghts of Future U.S. President Shane Battier are “Defense, hustle, adaptability.” Um… pardon me? What the f–k is adaptability? Defense and hustle are great, although the whole point of Coach K’s quotes are to ensure that every player on the team will hustle and play defense. If everyone in the NBA did that, then there would be nothing special about Battier the basketball player. I’m sorry Shane. Please do not sick your secret service goon squad on me. You’re still a great person. But adaptability? Is he a shapeshifter or chameleon of some sort? Is he like Mystique, and can transform himself into Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard? Can he convert software from Mac to PC? Yeah, adaptability. Just send out the gold medals today.

In the second quote, Coach K goes on to insult the Lakers, Cavs, and Heat. His point is that all three of those teams became too reliant on one superstar to lead them, but still, Miami did win the championship and the role players had something to do with that. The Lakers and Cavs were both totally dependent on one megastar, and that was ultimately their downfall. It was kind of strange to see him taking pointed shots at Kobe and LeBron’s teams, considering those two are both on the roster. I enjoyed that quote very much.
Team USA has the most talent in the world, but so has Duke in a whole bunch of their Final Four flops. I like the new approach to the roster, giving lowly role players a chance to shine – although the only guys on the roster that come close to that distinction are Battier, Ridnour, Bowen, the crying white rookies, and Brad Miller. Even with Gilbert Arenas pledging to buy into the new system, I am skeptical. The best chance for America is to let our superfreak athletes play their free-flowing game.

USA! USA!