As we approach the 2008 Summer Olympics next month, I realized how much more excited I am this time around to watch the basketball competition than in previous olympics. I watched the '92 olympics in Barcelona when Magic, Jordan and Barkley demolished everyone in their path. But it's a different anticipation this time around. It's knowing that the competition around the world has caught up to the US and that 4 or 5 teams have a legitimate shot at the gold medal, and that everyone has taken it seriously again, which is the way it is supposed to be.

Like many of you, I watched ESPN's Road to Redemption series. Episode 2 aired the other night and I took the following clip taking about the players implementing Coach K's system and adapting to the offense, take a look,

It reminded me of what most coaches go through in high school. You don't get a lot of time to work with your players (due to other sports, gym schedules, etc..) and so you're trying to install the offense as expeditiously as possible in a way that your players can grasp without overwhelming them. That's the toughest part, the time crunch. If we all had 365 days access to our players, we would be the best team, but it's getting your system in, in the time that you have which will determine success or failure.

The other thing that struck me was how serious everyone has been. I remember in the lead up to the 2004 Olympics, Team USA played a couple of exhibition games and off they went to Greece. This time around, there's a greater sense of purpose, togetherness, and focus on the process that you didn't see in 2004. That's not to say that the players on Team USA in 2004 did not want to win as badly as these players, but that in 2004, they didn't feel that they needed to put in the work and preparation in advance, that they could show up and rely on their superior athleticism in-game to win (which obviously didn't work).

If you're a big Coach K fan like I am or thinking of that perfect gift for a coaching friend, then you can't go wrong with Mike Krzyzewski's 6-pack DVD Set. As always, please check out the X's and O's Basketball forum to talk hoops and exchange notes and ideas.