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U.S. expects tough road en route to worlds in Turkey
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo agreed to the beefed-up exhibition schedule without regard to whether he’d have his superstars.
“When the possibility of games came up, in the past we might have said we’d rather not play against one team or another team until tournament time,” he said. “This time around, I said let’s play, let’s play them, because all it can do is help us get ready.”
Though Pau Gasol is resting this summer, Spain returns many other players from its 2006 world championship team. Greece, which beat the Americans in the semifinals of that tournament, also is a veteran group.
That raises the possibility the Americans could have at least one loss by the time they reach Istanbul. Along the way, they’ll be learning about more than foreign players.
“The people officiating the game can sometimes get nervous, get into what the crowd is doing because they’re human beings,” Krzyzewski said. “How do you adjust to that?”
Krzyzewski always plays a difficult nonconference schedule at Duke. He thinks the tour would have benefited the Americans no matter who was suiting up, but particularly with the roster in place.
“You need to find even more things with a younger group,” he said. “That doesn’t mean you find out negative. You could find out ‘Holy mackerel, these guys love it.’ I’m really looking for that.”
By Emily Miller
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