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Coach K concerned about how lockout impacts Olympic team

Oct 19, 2011, 2:29 PM EDT

Krzyzewski & Kobe Bryant Getty Images

Right now, Mike Krzyzewski is thinking and talking Duke hoops. That and how to keep the pesky father of Austin Rivers (some guy everyone calls “Doc”) from butting in at team practices.

But a few weeks ago he was in Las Vegas with some fellow coaches thinking 2012 London Olympics. Coach K, head coach for Team USA, met with his staff to do a little advanced planning.

The games tip off next July 27, and the NBA lockout could throw a wrench into his plans for a roster loaded with NBA stars. Krzyzewski was on ESPN’s Mike and Mike and talked about this, as transcribed by USA Today.

“We’re obviously really concerned,” the Duke Blue Devils’ coach said… “What if there isn’t a season? What if they expand (the season past June) if they start playing?

“We begin (Olympic) practice the 4th or 5th of July. The gold medal game is Aug. 12. If the NBA has to go into July, what does that do for us? If they don’t have a season, will they play (in the Olympics)?”

“The main thing we’re worried about is just the game. NBA basketball is the highest level in the world. … The thing I would worry about is injuries … the conditioning,” Krzyzewski said. “So you worry about that, just, would anybody get hurt?

“We’re going to wait until spring to announce who the 12 players will be on the team. We have a great pool, because everyone wants to play. … We have the world championship team (from last summer), plus (New York Knicks forward) Amar’e Stoudemire and (Los Angeles Clippers forward) Blake Griffin. … It will be a good, tough decision to make.”

He is right to be concerned. But as we’ve said, the top players that are healthy will be there — these guys are international brands and they are not going to miss out on a showcase on the biggest of international stages. This is huge for them, he will have his players. Which ones are left standing is another question.

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