Grant Hill discusses criteria for next Team USA coach, “someone the players respect”
Grant Hill became the man in charge of USA Basketball right after the Tokyo Olympics, but there is no relaxation in the new job.
Thanks to the postponement of the Olympics to 2021, we are only two years away from the next World Cup and the first qualifying matches will take place from November 22 to 30 of this year.
“It’s fast, in two years we will be playing the World Cup championships in Indonesia,” Hill told NBC Sports this week. “There is a coaching staff that needs to be put together, and possibly a roster on the road, so you don’t have that normal prep and prep time like you would every four years.”
Steve Kerr would lead this coaching team (Hill spoke to NBC Sports prior to this report, and he declined to discuss the names). The Warriors coach was Gregg Popovich’s assistant in Tokyo and fits the mold of what Hill has said he’s looking for in America’s next coach.
“Someone the players respect, someone who understands the international game, understands how to deal with personalities, who obviously has a keen sense of basketball in terms of coaching,” said Hill. “There are a lot of hats to wear for this particular person…
“There are a number of worthy and competent coaches out there who I imagine are interested in it as well. But it’s tricky. You want to find the right personalities, the right balance of experiences within your staff, and find the right leader who you believe in and who can follow this program and continue to have the kind of success that we have had …
“And someone who understands the international game, and who understands that there is a big difference between the NBA game and the international game. There are people that I am working on, I hope that in the next few months, we can at least have a coach and staff announced.
It can happen sooner than that; Hill had previously said he hoped to have a new coach appointed by the start of the season. Hill wants to put in a staff, then find the coach and the G-League players who will have to represent the USA in the World Cup qualifiers, since the NBA players will not be in the middle of the season and unable to play. . That’s what happened at the last World Cup, when Jeff Van Gundy led a collection of G-Leaguer to qualify the United States.
Hill takes on a role where there is real work to be done and ridiculously high expectations for the team.
“This is not a ceremonial position by any stretch of the imagination,” Hill said.
That said, Hill knows what he was getting into. Hill was a gold medalist for Team United States at the 1996 Olympics and played for the United States in tournaments below the Senior National Team as he became a player. Hill is also not a guy stuck in the past.
“I think I also have a unique perspective, I was a former player,” Hill said. “I competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta on this gold medal team. Obviously my role as vice president, as the owner of the Atlanta Hawks. Broadcaster of the game. I think my perspective and my set of experiences will help me as we go along.
“Since I retired in 2013, like everything in life, the league has changed. The players today are different, they’ve had a different set of experiences, and so understand that and apply it as we go along, and in some areas find how we can improve the experience and give ourselves the best chances of success are the things I’m everywhere I’m excited for.
The job of leading the USA Basketball men’s team is a challenge that really gets Hill excited.
He just can’t seem to get comfortable with the job.