After beginning training camp with a couple of five-minute scrimmages that were open to the media, U.S. Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski has pulled the curtain shut.
The last four days have featured games divided into four 10-minute quarters between Team USA and the select team, which consists of younger NBA players. Media has not been allowed to watch.
Although statistics have not been made available, the message from those who are Coach K-approved is that there has been one player who has consistently excelled – 20-year old Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a member of the select team.
That’s not to say the Olympians have not had many moments. Any team with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams is going to put on a show. And then there is Blake Griffin, a.k.a. Human Highlight Film 2.0, who has put on a private dunking exhibition for those allowed in the gym.
But Irving, who had 11 points in a 14-11 select team victory on the first day of camp, has been consistently excellent, and although the next Olympics in Brazil is four years away, it may not be too early to predict that he has locked up a position on the team.
“Kyrie Irving is a player that literally you could move from one court to the other court,” Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said, referring to shooting drills that have the Olympic team and the select team on adjacent courts.
“He’s that far advanced in terms of his talent, it appears. He’s made a good showing here. He had a terrific rookie season in the NBA and certainly he will be one of the leading candidates going forward.”
(To see the original column that appeared on Sheridanhoops.com, click here.)