Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — Count Sacramento Kings swingman Francisco Garcia among those who’d like Kentucky coach John Calipari to lead the Dominican national team at next summer’s Olympic qualifying event.
“He’d be more than welcome, you know, he’s a good coach, great coach,” Garcia said after scoring 8 points and grabbing 5 rebounds as the Kings downed the Knicks, 93-83, Friday night at MSG.
The Dominican team could feature as many as four NBA players in Garcia, Al Horford, Charlie Villanueva andTrevor Ariza.
“Ooh, the sky’s the limit for us if everybody plays,” Garcia said. “I’m sure me, Al and Charlie [are] playing this summer for sure. We gotta get Trevor. Trevor Ariza told me he might play this summer, too. So we’ll see.”
Louisville coach Rick Pitino has already signed on to coach Puerto Rico in next summer’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Argentina. The top two teams qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
“It’s gonna be a crazy rivalry if [Calipari] goes to the Dominican and Coach Pitino is in Puerto Rico,” Garcia said. “I know they want to go against each other because of the great memories they have.”
The Puerto Rican team will likely feature Carlos Arroyo of the Miami Heat and J.J. Berea of the Dallas Mavericks.
Calipari recently said he hadn’t been contacted directly by Dominican officials, but that doesn’t mean his representatives haven’t considered it.
“The issue is a verbal commitment [was made] to [former NBA] Coach [Eric] Musselman, who is a very good guy and is well liked in the DR,” said a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
“But everyone know that Cal can take this team to the next level and get all four [NBA] guys to commit with the help of Uncle Wes [William Wesley].”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.