Published On: Mon, Aug 22nd, 2016

Team USA's Colangelo: 'Other teams better get their act together and compete'

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Team USA made light work of Serbia on Sunday, winning 96-66 to claim gold in the Rio Olympics. Of course, managing director Jerry Colangelo is proud of his guys, but he’s not particularly impressed with their competition.

“I’m all for raising the bar for global basketball,” he told Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports. “The more interest in basketball on all levels, I’m for. I’m a lifer in the game. I love the game. Basketball is the No. 2 sport in the world, (but) we just need to see these other countries get their acts together and become more competitive. I’d love to see that. Everyone would love to see that.

“I’m not going to be making excuses for anyone about our (dominance). Someone said to me (after the game), one of the officials said to me, ‘You know next time you play, you ought to play with four.’ And I said, ‘No, maybe the other teams better get their act together and compete.'”

The former NBA executive and team owner took the helm of USA Basketball in 2005, when he hired Mike Krzyzewski. Under the duo, the national program boasts a 59-1 record, and has taken home gold in the past three Summer Games.

There’s no question the Americans have dominated hoops on a global scale, and Colangelo wants to see their opponents continue to improve for the sake of upping the sport’s growth and appeal.

“We’ve been helping in basketball around the world for 50 years,” he said. “We’ve taught the world the game. We’ve taught their coaches, players – look at the number of (international) players in the NBA, look at the number of international players in college today, in the states. So we’re all for that. I want to see the level raised.”

An argument could be made that the level of international play has risen, with the U.S. notching narrow victories over Spain, France, and Serbia (in the group phase) in Rio. The reason for that could be stronger opponents, but then again this isn’t the most dominant incarnation of Team USA. Far from it. The roster isn’t as stacked as it normally is after several stars – including LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, and James Harden – opted out.

Still, even without those players, the Americans won their eight contests by an average margin of 22.5 points. While that’s less than their victories in 2012 (32) and 2008 (28), they have gold medals to show for their efforts, and at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters?



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