Krzyzewski expects LeBron to play in Olympics

Mike Krzyzewski expects LeBron James to play for the U.S.

Olympic team.

Again balancing coaching duties between the U.S. and Duke,

Krzyzewski also confirmed Thursday that guard Andre Dawkins would

redshirt this season for the Blue Devils.

Speaking less than two weeks before the candidates for the

Olympic team begin practice in Las Vegas, Krzyzewski said he’s deep

into his preparations. While it’s not certain yet who will be going

to London, he said matter-of-factly that ”I know LeBron will

play.”

”I’m proud of LeBron and where he’s at right now, and I do

think that when you’re that great a player, that great a talent,

that you learn openly,” Krzyzewski added. ”You don’t go learn in

private. You’re out there while you’re learning, and while you’re

learning, you’re going to be criticized for the things that you’re

in the process of learning. … There’s some things you cannot

learn unless you’re in that moment. Like, you can’t rehearse

it.

”You can’t feel it until you’re in the moment of a finals, a

gold medal game, a seventh game, a national championship. He’s been

in two of those moments, and I think he’s shown in this series that

he’s learned from those moments.”

James was part of the Krzyzewski-led team that won Olympic gold

at the Beijing Games four years ago, and he presently has the Miami

Heat in the NBA Finals.

Injuries have thinned the pool of players from which Krzyzewski

and USA Basketball will select the U.S. roster.

With Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups and LaMarcus

Aldridge among those hurt, the Americans had to obtain permission

from the U.S. Olympic Committee to add James Harden and Kentucky

All-American Anthony Davis to the pool long after the original

deadline so they would have 18 players.

The combination of the condensed NBA season, late playoffs and

an earlier Olympics has eliminated the buffer between the events

and means ”you’re going to have a mentally different team and a

physically different team,” Krzyzewski said.

”We don’t even know who the guys on the team are yet because we

have to wait until we get them in Vegas to see where they are

physically, family and contractually. Those three things, that I’ve

learned over the last seven years, can cause a change just like

that,” he added, snapping his fingers. ”And then you have to be

prepared for it.”

Krzyzewski had previously said a decision on Dawkins likely

wouldn’t come until the fall. Dawkins’ father has said his son is

still dealing with his sister’s death in 2009 in a car wreck while

traveling to one of his games.

When Krzyzewski ran down the list of his rising seniors

Thursday, he didn’t mention Dawkins. Asked about the omission,

Krzyzewski responded: ”Because we’re redshirting him.”

”That’s what we said, and we’re going to do that,” he added.

”I’d rather not talk too much. It’s time for him to step away, and

it’s the right thing. That’s the right thing.”