Thursday, May 23, 2024

Gonzaga’s Mark Few set to ‘coach the best players in the game’ with USA basketball in 2024 Olympic Games

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Gonzaga men’s basketball head coach Mark Few is headed with Team USA to Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The two-time Naismith Coach of the Year will help prepare some of the most talented players in the world as an assistant on a coaching staff that features Team USA head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors, Tyronn Lue of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra. The four basketball savants have experience working together as staff from last summer’s 2023 FIBA World Cup, which ended in a disappointing fourth-place finish for Team USA. Inexperience and defensive letdowns from a rather inexperienced roster resulted in a second straight appearance in the World Cup without a medal to show for, though the Americans are still in a position to bring home its fifth consecutive gold medal in the Olympics behind its star-studded roster.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry headline what some have dubbed the “Redeem Team 2.0,” which features 12 NBA All-Stars, four NBA MVPs and six NBA champions. In addition to a combined 10 Olympic gold medals and three FIBA World Cup titles, the team headed to Paris boasts plenty of experience on the world stage.

“He’s going to get to coach the best players in the game today,” said Gonzaga assistant coach Brian Michaelson on an episode of Gonzaga Nation. “Future hall-of-famers, some guys you could argue might be up there with the greatest players of all time. To be the only college coach associated with any US Olympic team is really special.”

Few’s experience with USA basketball goes back nearly a decade. He guided mostly college players to a bronze medal finish as the head coach in the 2015 Pan American Games. He helped prepare the 2019 World Cup team and the 2021 Olympic team that won gold in an assistant coach role with the 2018 USA National Team minicamp and the 2019 USA Men’s Select Team. But with respect to those teams, none compare to the firepower that the USA will send to Paris.

The rest of the Team USA roster includes:

* Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
* Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
* Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
* Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
* Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)
* Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
* Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers)
* Jrue Holiday (Boston Celtics)
* Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers)
* Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)

With some of the best talent in the NBA assembled, the gold medal appears to be Team USA’s to lose. Per covers.com, the U.S. is the overwhelming favorite heading to Paris at -500 betting odds on Draftkings Sportsbook. Serbia (+750), Canada (+800) and France (+900) have the next-best odds, while the reigning World Cup champion Germany sits at +1,600 odds to win the gold.

There’s a chance Gonzaga will be represented throughout the men’s basketball event. Former All-American and NBA veteran Kelly Olynyk could represent his home Canada in the national team’s first appearance in the Olympics since 2000. Olynyk was instrumental in Canada’s bronze medal finish at the World Cup, averaging 10.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists in eight games. Other Zags who might team up with Olynyk include Kevin Pangos and Andrew Nembhard, though the roster has not been announced yet.

All-NBA talent Domantas Sabonis, who sat out the World Cup due to thumb surgery, is nothing short of a lock to represent Lithuania for the second time in the Olympics. Sabonis played in six games and averaged 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in Lithuania’s seventh-place finish in the 2016 Rio games.

Few and Team USA head down to Las Vegas on July 6 to begin training camp, with the first game against Serbia three weeks later on July 28.

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