He’s a basketball Hall of Famer, he’s won more than 900 games, he’s the assistant coach for Team USA and he’s a friend of the program. Ladies and gentlemen, he’s Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.
And no, he doesn’t really miss having a summer.
“Honestly, we’re together (with Team USA for) one month, and it really is (like) my vacation,” the 69-year-old Boeheim said on The Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. “The only thing I worry about is if it takes away from my family or if it takes away from Syracuse basketball. But it’s really a learning experience for me – even at my advanced age – to work with such great players and coaches. Having Coach (Tom) Thibodeau here and Coach (Monty) Williams from New Orleans, two new guys to work with and learn from – I got to be honest: I think it’s helped me and helped Syracuse basketball for me to be involved in this. I’ll do it as long as I can.”
Boeheim, of course, is an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski, who has been the head coach of USA Basketball since 2006. Boeheim was on staff when the U.S. won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012.
“It’s just been great,” he said. “I’m proud to do it. You’re serving your country and you’re coaching the best basketball players in the world. That’s been fun.”
The 2014 roster includes Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Paul George and Derrick Rose, among others.
“They work hard, they show up, they’re ready to play,” Boeheim said. “It’s fun working with it.”
Boeheim recently commented that he’s been particularly impressed with Rose, who is coming off yet another knee injury. Rose started in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, leading the U.S. to a gold medal.
“To me, he looks the same or better right now,” Boeheim said. “In fact, I think he’s improved his shooting because obviously he’s had a lot of time to work on his shooting in the gym. But I don’t think he’s lost a step. I think obviously there will be a little rust in game situations, but I think he’s smart and Chicago’s smart for having him here because he can get that rust off. He doesn’t have to play 40 minutes a game. He might play 20 minutes a game here. He can get in shape, get his rust off his game and be ready to go when he comes back with Chicago.”
“I’m really upset at players or owners that don’t want their players to play because they’ll get hurt,” Boeheim continued. “The guys who play for USA basketball, if you look carefully at their development, they get better. They come back and have great years. I just think it’s smart for Derrick Rose to be here.”
As for Boeheim, any time spent around Krzyzewski is time well spent. The two are respected colleagues, but now that Syracuse is in the ACC, they’re also rivals. Krzyzewski, 67, said earlier this week that he doesn’t see an end to his college coaching career, prompting a cackle from Boeheim.
“Well, he’s younger than I am, so he’s probably got an extra year or two,” Boeheim said. “I don’t see the end. I’m smart enough to know – I may not be real smart, but I’m smart enough to know – that (the end is) not a long ways away. But I enjoy what I’m doing. The great thing about my job, every day you come in, it’s a new day. You got to start over and you got to do something good. And you better be good or you won’t be back. So it’s kind of a rebirth every year with a new team, a new outlook, adjustments you have to make. I don’t see the end. I think Coach Krzyzewski will coach a long time, in my opinion. I think it’s what he does. It’s what he loves doing. That’s why he’s here in the summertime. He loves coaching and he’s very good at it.”