Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Irving backs off Coach K 2016 comments

source: gmanetwork.com

CLEVELAND - Kyrie Irving has not changed his mind about not playing for Australia at the 2012 London Olympics even though the 2016 US Olympic squad he hopes to join might not have Mike Krzyzewski as coach.

Irving clarified on Tuesday (Monday, PHL time) comments he made a day earlier that touched off a storm around USA Basketball, which made it clear that there have been no talks about who will guide US NBA stars at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The Cleveland Cavaliers point guard, who has dual citizenship with Australia and the United States, said Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) he would not play for Australia, the 19-year-old star hoping to join the US program for a chance at the 2016 Games.

"I kind of disappointed my Aussie fans," Irving told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "It's all about the future. It's always been a dream of mine to play in the Olympics. It's a good feeling to know I'm going to play for my country."

Irving said he spoke several times about the subject with Krzyzewski and "found out Coach K would be coaching in 2016". That sparked denials by USA Basketball, whose chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN no discussions have been held on 2016.

That left Irving, a former college player under Krzyzewski, to explain himself in more detail on Tuesday.

"I spoke to Coach K. He did tell me he was coaching, but I prematurely spoke on that," Irving said. "But I know he's going to be part of USA Basketball. That's the most important thing. That's what made my decision easier.

"He's going to be part of the USA staff anyway whether he's coaching or not. That way it's easy for me." - AFP