As he watched Team USA roll to another gold medal in men's basketball at the Olympics, UConn coach Kevin Ollie gave some thought to the scene, having just entered the USA Basketball ranks this year.
"I'd like to be a part of it," Ollie said, at his charity golf tournament last week. "I don't know about coaching it — there's a lot of different things that would have to happen. But to be a part of it, to be on the bench for it, that's a goal of mine."
Team USA, coached by Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, 69, with assistants Jim Boeheim, 71, Tom Thibodeau, 58, and Monty Williams, 44, a newcomer to the staff, won its third consecutive gold at Rio.
Ollie, 43, joined Maryland's Mark Turgeon as assistants under Texas' Shaka Smart on USA Basketball's Under-18 team, which captured gold at the FIBA Americas championships this summer in Chile, so he is in the pipeline. And it tends to operate as a pipeline. Krzyzewski first got involved in USA Basketball in 1979, and became head coach in 2005.
"If it happens where I could be a coach, great," Ollie said. "That's a great honor, just to be a part of it this past year with 18-and-under, it's something I'd love to do if I get called upon. If I could just be a part of USA Basketball [at the Olympics], it would mean a lot to me."
As he puts in more years as a head coach in college, where he is 97-44, including a national championship and a 15-4 record in postseason tournaments, he is likely to become a strong candidate. His combination of NBA credibility, with 13 years in the league as a player, and his accomplishments as a college head coach would be a tough resume to top, a great fit for USA Basketball.
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Makai Ashton-Langford, a 6-foot-1 point guard, has moved up his UConn visit a week and is now expected on campus Labor Day weekend.
Ashton-Langford, from Worcester, will be playing at Brewster Academy this season, taking a similar route as Jalen Adams. He recently cut his list down to UConn and Providence, paring off Louisville when it got a point guard commitment. … There has been speculation that Hamidou Diallo, a five-star 6-5 combo guard at Putnam Science, where he is playing as a postgrad, could go straight from prep school to the NBA draft. Diallo, who is close with UConn freshman Mamadou Diarra, has been to UConn for many games, but he has a long list of schools after him, including Kentucky. Though he recently acknowledged the prep-to-pros route is possible, he told SNY.tv he is not thinking that way right now. "I'm honestly just thinking about college right now," he said. "I want to go to college for sure." Diallo was expected to participate with a team from Queens, N.Y., in the HoopWave Bball Classic in Hartford on Saturday, but after playing Friday, he passed on the event. … The UConn players are arriving on campus this weekend, with the first team meeting to be held Sunday night.
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