USA Basketball announced that Grant Hill will be taking over the Jerry Colangelo as the head of USA Basketball.
The assumption is USA Basketball will continue to cruise in major competitions and the ones they don’t perform well (like the FIBA World Cup) will be nothing more than a blip on the radar.
That assumption couldn’t be more wrong. Colangelo’s challenge was getting NBA players to, once again, buy into the USA Basketball concept. Once that happened, Team USA would start to win like they did in the past even when people didn’t think they won by enough.
The challenge for Hill has nothing to do with buy-in. It has to do with competition. When you look at the post-LeBron James generation on an International stage, will Team USA field the best team in the world? No longer is having NBA players enough. Every major International team has several NBA players on them. The NBA isn’t enough.
Every aspect of basketball has gotten more international. FIBA U-Tournaments (age based tourneys) are still dominated by USA Basketball but once kids get to college age, the competition has balanced out especially with more international players playing college basketball. The difference between USA Basketball and the FIBA community is as slim as it’s been since the mid-1980s.
Not only will Hill need to convince the next-gen NBA players but he’ll have to select the right coach and, if he gets both right, there’s still no guarantee that USA Basketball will be on the gold medal stand.