If Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau wasn't already regarded as one of the best coaches in the game, then his inclusion to the coaching staff of USA Basketball probably cements it.
Thibodeau, along with New Orleans Hornets head coach Monty Williams, was named an assistant coach for Team USA on Monday, with his duties beginning this summer, as he will be in Las Vegas for the national team's July mini-camp, in which Bulls reserve Taj Gibson will participate.
"It's truly an honor. I've been talking to Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski, two Hall of Fame guys, and to have the opportunity to represent our country in the Olympics in 2016, I'm thrilled. Very excited about it, looking forward to working with all the great coaches, Derrick [Rose] and the rest of the great players," Thibodeau said Monday, after the Bulls' groundbreaking ceremony for their new practice facility, adjacent to the United Center.
"I've thought it through and I think I can handle it. Looking forward to it. I had the opportunity with Derrick (Rose), when I was first hired, to go out and observe, and I thought it was very beneficial to (him). I liked how everything was organized, so I'm very excited about it," continued the coach, referencing Rose's expected participation in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, something both coach and player will be able to preview when the Bulls play the Washington Wizards there in an October preseason matchup. "I just want to fit in and help any way I can. It's a great team and a great honor to be joining them, so whatever they ask me to do, that's what I'll do. Again, just to be around and have that experience, I'm looking forward to it."
Krzyzewski, the legendary Duke coach who recently agreed to return for another stint as head coach of the national team, praised Thibodeau, unsurprisingly focusing on his defensive acumen.
"To have Tom Thibodeau join us, I think his reputation speaks for itself. He was a great assistant who has become an outstanding pro coach, and nobody wants to play the Bulls," the Chicago native said in a USA Basketball press release. "The toughness that they show, their togetherness, their competitiveness, and the preparation that is there, that is shown by he and his staff. I think he is one of the best defensive coaches, his defensive game plans are incredible,and so I’m really looking forward to working with him."
Thibodeau and Williams will replace former NBA head coach Nate McMillan and Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni on the staff, while Syracuse's Jim Boeheim will return.