SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Steve Kerr saw everything Gregg Popovich went through as a coach of the United States Men’s National Team, saw exactly how difficult it was last summer for the Americans to come out of the Tokyo Olympics with another gold.
And when he last left the ground in Tokyo, he was exhausted.
READ MORE: The fate of Elizabeth Holmes in the hands of the jury; Deliberations begin in Theranos fraud case
“It wasn’t easy,” Kerr said.
It wasn’t, and it was just further proof that the days of American pebbles to gold are over. He still decided to take the job.
Kerr was officially announced as the next US men’s team coach on Monday in San Francisco, a not-so-well-kept secret in recent weeks that the Golden State coach would replace Popovich and lead the Americans – if they qualify. – in the 2023 Basketball World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympics. Kerr’s assistant coaches will be Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams and Gonzaga coach Mark Few .
Williams previously served as an assistant under former US coach Mike Krzyzewski. Spoelstra and Few were involved in the training of the US selection team, which was reunited to train against the Olympic team, last summer.
“Coaching the United States Men’s National Team comes with a lot of responsibility – one that requires a group effort with a team of coaches committed to the team, to the goal and to each other – and I couldn’t ask for a better high-character group. people to help me lead our national team, ”Kerr said. “Our goal, of course, is to win and make our country proud. We will work hard to do so.
Kerr would be the 16th different coach to take the American men to the Olympics. Of the previous 15, 13 emerged with gold. His hiring for the job marks Grant Hill’s first major decision in his role as general manager of the Men’s National Team, the post he holds after Jerry Colangelo helped the Americans win the last four Olympic gold medals. in this role.
READ MORE: Pedestrian killed in accident involving 2 vehicles in San José
Kerr has three NBA titles as a coach of the Warriors, won five more as a player, was on the staff who won gold at the Tokyo Games and won a senior level gold for USA Basketball as a player in the 1986 World Cup.
“His keen sense of basketball, his ability to connect with people, I think his understanding and respect for the international game, as well as other factors, certainly played a part in this process,” Hill said. in an interview with The Associated Press about the selection. to treat. “As I was talking to people and thinking, he was the perfect person. His wealth of experiences, including that on the international scene, I think he really set him apart.
There are a lot of parallels between Popovich and Kerr, a lot of connecting links. They are close friends, Kerr played for Popovich in San Antonio – and both accept the Olympic post after missing out on Olympic candidacies as players. Popovich tried to make the 1972 US Olympic team; Kerr was a finalist for the 1988 Olympic team.
“I just did everything he told me,” Popovich said with a smile earlier this month, discussing what it was like to have Kerr on his Olympic team.
The Americans are currently in the process of qualifying for the 2023 World Cup – which will end in the Philippines, home of Spoelstra’s mother. A good finish at the World Cup would be the easiest way to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris; just being the reigning gold medalist and world number one in the program doesn’t get Americans into the games by default.
Hill said he and Kerr have already had conversations about how to approach the next two and a half years in terms of rostering, putting their own personal touch to the program, and maintaining the best of what has worked in the United States in the past.
“I don’t think you wanted to deviate entirely from what worked,” Hill said. “But I also think there is an opportunity to hit the reset button on some things and look for opportunities to improve the experience and ultimately the goal for everyone involved. Look at this staff and they’ve all been in USA Basketball. Monty Williams was with Coach K.’s last quad. Erik Spoelstra and Mark Few were part of this former select team. So, this is something that can be seen as a continuation.
NO MORE NEWS: Man killed in suspected hit-and-run accident in Antioch
© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.