Will Coach K return to coach Team USA?

589700.jpg

Will Coach K return to coach Team USA?

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Krzyzewski said London was going to be the last time.Well, maybe not.There's still a chance Krzyzewski will return for a third stint as U.S. Olympic men's basketball coach, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.Krzyzewski said he was through with the job after leading the Americans to a second straight gold medal in London.Yet the Americans haven't hired another coach, even after USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in London his plan was to have a successor in place around the new year.Perhaps he won't need to.The 65-year-old Krzyzewski has long been committed to USA Basketball, having been on the staff of 12 U.S. teams since 1979. He said last year he thought this was "the last time," though he said he would remain close to Colangelo and the program even if he no longer wanted to coach.USA Basketball said there is no timetable for a new hire, though ESPN.com reported Wednesday that the deadline had now been pushed back to after the college season to allow Krzyzewski more time to decide.One of the people told The Associated Press that though Krzyzewski gave no indication in London he would return, there were since "rumblings" that he was open to it. Another said the delay was creating speculation that Coach K would be back.The people spoke on condition of anonymity because Krzyzewski is focused on Duke's season.Colangelo hired Krzyzewski in 2005 after the Americans managed only a bronze medal in 2004 in Athens, after an embarrassing sixth-place finish in the 2002 world basketball championship. After settling for another bronze in the 2006 worlds in Japan, the Americans have not lost again.The Americans had used only NBA coaches since professionals were allowed to be used starting with the 1992 Barcelona Games, but the Hall of Fame Duke coach proved a perfect fit when Colangelo went back to the college route.The players who won gold in 2008 committed to return shortly after the Beijing Games, and Colangelo secured Krzyzewski's commitment after they shared a bottle of wine and a pizza in the spring of 2009.Colangelo has not spoken to anyone else about the job. Michigan State's Tom Izzo is considered the top candidate if the Americans stick with a college coach, with Boston's Doc Rivers, Philadelphia's Doug Collins and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich the leading choices if they return to the pro ranks.The Americans have time, since they automatically qualified for the 2014 World Cup of Basketball by winning the Olympic title. Should they win that, they would be entered into the field for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero.

Kimbrel ninth-inning meltdown doesn’t alarm Farrell

red_sox_craig_kimbrel_042516.jpg

Kimbrel ninth-inning meltdown doesn’t alarm Farrell

NEW YORK -- John Farrell isn't necessarily alarmed by Craig Kimbrel's poor outing Wednesday night, viewing it as an aberration. But just the same, he'd like to get his closer into a game on the final weekend to flush the bad taste of Wednesday's ninth.

Until the clincher, Kimbrel had allowed just two hits in the previous 23 at-bats (.087) since Sept. 4. And since being re-instated from the DL on Aug. 1, Kimbrel was 13-for-13 in save opportunities with 32 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched and a .113 batting average against.

Kimbrel was brought into the game in the bottom of the ninth and allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner before issuing three straight walks, the last of which forced in a run.

He threw 28 pitches and didn't record an out before being lifted in favor of Joe Kelly, who allowed Mark Teixeira's walk-off grand slam in a 5-3 Yankees victory.

"He was erratic, there's no doubt,” said Farrell. "The command was not there. The power was there, obviously, but the command was not. It turned into a situation where he gets to [almost] 30 pitches. Could we have let him go further, or could the decision have been made to leave him in the game? Sure

"But [Wednesday] night was more of an aberration. Certainly, since he's come off the DL, he's been stingy in those situations. That was a one-time outing last night [given the unusual circumstances].”

Farrell said it's "important” to get all of the Red Sox relievers into games before the season ends Sunday.

"How often, how high stress...the games will dictate that,'' Farrell said. "But yeah, it will be important to Craig back on the mound before we end, regardless of whether it's a save situation.”

 

 

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

bruins_austin_czarnik_082916.jpg

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston.