USA Basketball bounced back from their loss to France with a 54-point blowout win over Iran earlier this week but heavy skepticism about the team’s chances at winning gold continues to hand over this team. Jerry Colangelo still has faith in his club despite all the obstacles, including COVID-related issues.
“I believe we’re going to win,” said Colangelo, who will retire as USA Basketball’s managing director after this year’s Olympics.
“It’s challenging when you can’t even go out the door, except to practice or to a game. It’s really hard. If all things were equal, we all had the same time to practice, we all had our rosters set… I don’t think we’d be having this discussion. I don’t. But that’s not the case. So we are going to do everything we can to overcome it now, and I believe we will.”
Team USA plays the third and final game of their group play on Saturday morning against the Czech Republic at 8:00 am EST.
Team USA vs. Odds
- Spread: USA -23.5 (-115)
- Total: 183.5 (-115)
- Moneyline: Czech Republic +1200
- Odds via PointsBet
What Happened With Kevin Love?
When it was announced that Kevin Love was on the initial roster, the news was met with ire by many, given how Love had meandered through the past two seasons in Cleveland. USA Basketball Managing Director Jerry Colangelo explained how the decision to invite Love came about as well what the team’s expectations were for the Cavs big man.
“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play,” Colangelo said. “He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. And on the basis of that, we’re looking at someone with international experience who at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball. You know, being like a 12th man on a roster.”
Love opted to withdrew his name from competition before the team departed for Japan, citing ongoing calf issues.
“Well, it didn’t work out,” Colangelo continued. “He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out. So you move on. Call it a mistake. Call it giving someone an opportunity. Someone who had equity with us.”
Should Trae Young Have Been on This Year’s Team?
Colangelo addressed not selecting Trae Young for the team despite the point guard’s clear interest in representing the country.
“I’m happy that he wants to play for USA Basketball,” Colangelo said. “He’s done really well in the NBA. But predicated on what we felt we needed, he didn’t fit the bill this time around. He’s a young player, he has a future with USA Basketball, but it was the opinion of our staff that it wasn’t now. It’s for others to make the declaration you made a mistake’.”