This is the second time you’ve coached at the Olympics and gone for the gold. How tough is it to win the gold twice?
I think whenever you try to repeat something it’s tough. But we have really talented players on this team. We have a lot of guys back from the last Olympic team, and we have some new guys who are really good, such as Russell Westbrook.
It’s always difficult to win the Olympics, because you don’t have a series of games against one team as you do with the NBA. You get to the medal round, and you are one and done. Win or lose, you can go home afterwards. We feel that we have the most talented team, but it’s still tough to win that one game.
You and Coach K are leading this team together again. What’s it like coaching with the guy that you’re going to be competing against when SU goes to the ACC?
Everyone brings something different to the table. Coach K has been in the top programs in the country for more than 20 years now, so you know when you play against him in the ACC you’ll be up against great players and a great coach.
Coach K is one of the best—if not the best—coach out there. He listens to everybody’s opinion, and what we do in the end is what Coach K thinks is best.
This Olympic experience, and the seven years that Coach K and I have worked together, has helped the college program. We are constantly learning and getting better. We’re coaching the best of the best and always picking up new things, strategies, and fundamentals. Assistant SU basketball coach Mike Hopkins is here with us this time, and the total experience has been great for SU to teach us new things so we can improve our program at the college level.
What are you picking up about the game from coaching guys like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Paul?
You’re learning things all the time from your own players, and from other coaches. Things are constantly changing. If you’re not moving forward, you’re sliding backwards. So you’re always trying to learn new things, from strategy to the fundamentals to everything. Everyone should be learning, no matter how long you’ve been doing something. The things that we’ve learned here help make the SU program better, too.