USA Basketball gave Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel a nifty way to get away from it all. He’s coaching U.S. under-18 national team that will play in the FIBA Americas U18 Championships for Men starting this weekend in San Antonio.
The team is headlined by Kyrie Irving, the Gatorade National Player of the Year. Irving will play point guard next season at Duke, giving he and Capel, himself a former Blue Devil point guard, a lot to talk about. For Capel, the whole experience is a change of subject after months of being at the center of an imploding basketball program now under NCAA investigation.
“This is great,” Capel told the San Antonio Express-News’ Jerry Briggs. “It’s always great to be able to coach during the summer.”
Who knows whether Capel needed rejuvenating. He’s kept a low-profile in recent months. But Team USA guard Austin Rivers, himself the son of a high-energy coach, has noticed during practices that Capel is “really into it.”
“I expected nothing less from him. He goes hard,” said Rivers, son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “You can tell he loves the game. You can tell he knows exactly what he’s talking about.”
Here’s the Team USA roster: Vander Blue (James Madison Memorial H.S. / Madison, Wis.); Trevor Cooney (Sanford H.S. / Wilmington, Del.); Abdul Gaddy (Washington / Tacoma, Wash.); Joshua Hairston (Montrose Christian School (Md.) / Fredericksburg, Va.); Kyrie Irving (St. Patrick’s H.S. / Elizabeth, N.J.); Quincy Miller (Quality Education Academy / Winston-Salem, N.C.); Tony Mitchell (L.G. Pinkston H.S. / Dallas, Texas); LeBryan Nash (Lincoln H.S. / Dallas, Texas); Jereme Richmond (Waukegan H.S. / Waukegan, Ill.); Austin Rivers (Winter Park H.S. / Winter Park, Fla.); Amir Williams (Detroit Country Day / Detroit, Mich.); and Patric Young (Providence School / Jacksonville, Fla.).
“I like the make-up of our team,” Capel told the Express-News. “We have really good talent. We have versatility. We have guys who can really defend. We have good athleticism, guys who can score. I’m excited about coaching this group. I’m excited about seeing what we can become over these next few days.”
Capel’s Team USA opens at 7 p.m. Saturday against the U.S. Virgin Islands. Here’s the team’s schedule.
And here’s the entire San Antonio News-Express article.