DURHAM — Fresh off his fourth national championship at Duke, Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski does not plan on taking a break anytime soon.
On July 18, Krzyzewski will head to Las Vegas for a weeklong USA Basketball training camp. Rising senior guard Nolan Smith and rising senior forward Kyle Singler will be among the 15 to 20 college players invited to work out with the 20 or more NBA players vying for spots on the U.S. men's national team, Krzyzewski said Monday in his annual summer news conference.
While the list of collegiate players participating in Las Vegas is still being put together, Krzyzewski said he expects North Carolina's Tyler Zeller, a rising junior forward, to be invited. The college players are picked by a committee, but Krzyzewski had one request.
"I just ask them to try and get older guys so they will be physically mature," Krzyzewski said.
This is the first time USA Basketball has attempted to integrate college players into the training of the national team. But for Krzyzewski, it's a positive change.
"It's part of our plan for USA Basketball to integrate all aspects of United States basketball," said Krzyzewski, who is the head coach of the U.S. national team and led it to the gold medal at the Bejing Olympics in 2008.
The college players won't scrimmage against the pros but will interact with the NBA players in a controlled setting, Krzyzewski said. They will also help prepare the pros for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul, which is Aug. 28-Sept. 12.
The college players will arrive a day early to run through plays that Argentina, Spain and Greece use in order to give the national team a sneak peek of what it may see later in the summer. Villanova coach Jay Wright and Washington coach Lorenzo Romar will be at the training camp working with the college players.
It will be a good experience for whoever gets picked, Krzyzewski said, but that is hardly the only group benefiting from the summer training.
"I will coach this summer more than anybody in the United States, our whole staff will," Krzyzewski said. "As long as I take my breaks and stay fresh, I think that is a good thing."
Undrafted, not unwanted
When former Duke guard Jon Scheyer and center Brian Zoubek did not hear their names called in the NBA Draft last Thursday, Krzyzewski was not surprised, but he was not disappointed, either.
"In the second round, it's better not to be drafted," said Krzyzewski, who thought Zoubek had a shot at getting picked in the second round. "As soon as the draft is over, if you are good enough, you will be invited by five or six teams, and you will have a chance to choose who you will play summer league ball with."
According to Krzyzewski, both Scheyer and Zoubek have already made that choice, though he did not want to say which teams they will be playing with this summer. He also thinks the NBA is a very realistic future.
"I think both of them can be pros," Krzyzewski said. "I would be a little bit surprised if both of them are not on an NBA roster playing next season."
'Don't like to watch'
Rising sophomore guard Andre Dawkins prefers to avert his eyes whenever last season's NCAA championship game against Butler is on TV.
"I really don't like to watch it, especially the end, because I feel like that shot is going to go in," said Dawkins, referring to the last-second halfcourt heave by Butler's Gordon Hayward. "I try to stay away from it."
Dawkins, who skipped his senior year of high school to enroll early at Duke, averaged 4.4 points in about 12 minutes of action per game for the Blue Devils. He said he felt like his decision worked out.
"Not everyone is going to come in and win a national championship in their first year," he said. "For my situation, I think it worked out fine."
Dawkins spent the first part of the summer at home in Virginia lifting and playing pickup. He also spent a week working out with teammate Nolan Smith.
Dawkins said he has focused on improving his ball handling and conditioning. He said he has tried to move on from the national championship and focus on the upcoming season. But at times, that is hard to do.
"It is definitely pretty cool having people come up to you and say congratulations," Dawkins said. "It is cool to be able to say we won the national championship."
Before Krzyzewski concluded his news conference, he wanted to bring up something that was bothering him: the NCAA's formula for calculating academic progress rates.
"I would say it is not a good formula," Krzyzewski said of the system that tracks the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. "It is better than the one we had, but still not the best."
Krzyzewski does not understand why a school should be penalized if someone transfers or leaves early to go pro. As long as the athlete was in good academic standing before he left, there should not be a problem, Krzyzewski said.
"If a kid goes early, what control do you have over them?" Krzyzewski said. "You should go back to the semester preceding when you did have control."
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