Unfrozen Caveman Krzyzewski
Team USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is on a public relations offensive to deflect responsibility for his team’s loss to Greece in the FIBA World Championships. He is arguing, in essence, that his team lost because it simply didn’t have the time it needed to fully comprehend international basketball. (“We’re in the process of learning the international game,” Krzyzewski repeatedly asserted in various forms on ESPN’s ‘Pardon the Interruption’.)
His lame canard brings to mind the old Saturday Night Live character “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer”? Remember him? He was a caveman trial lawyer (played by the incomparable Phil Hartman) who would speak with perfect elocution, would dress in $5,000 suits, would brag about his upper middle class lifestyle, and then would ask the jury to sympathize with him because he was “just a caveman” and therefore confused or frightened by our world. It was brilliant satire. Coach K must have been a fan, because he’s trying to reprise the character as the ‘Unfrozen Caveman Basketball Coach’.
He wants us to believe his vastly more talented squad of cagers lost to the vastly hairier squad of Grecians because international basketball is so radically different from the American version that it (what?) confused them. (“I’m just a caaaaveman, my primitive mind can’t understand your wider lanes”). Sure, Mike. This despite America winning nearly every international basketball competition, with a very few notable exceptions, since basketball became an Olympic sport. Now you want us to believe America is failing because of some steep learning curve we need to climb. Uh, huh.
Why is Krzyzewski trying to sell this load of crap? Because he has no choice. Either he admits he messed up by failing to prepare his team to defense the simple screen-and-roll plays the Greeks were burning them with over-and-over-and-over again, or he levels the blame on the players. Neither of those options would be particularly beneficial to his future standing in the basketball world, so he’s left to blame the game itself. That won’t fly.