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.
John Calipari and Rick Pitino matching coaching wits in the FIBA Tournament of the Americas with a spot in the 2012 Olympics on the line would have been some good entertainment.
Instead, we may have to settle for Calipari against Dave Odom.
Odom, the former Wake Forest and South Carolina coach, is now the leader to replace Pitino as the coach of the Puerto Rican National team, according to a well-placed source.
“He is the frontrunner,” the source said.
Pitino had signed on to coach the Puerto Rican team, but bowed out due to a schedule conflict.
Both Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim called the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation to endorse Odom, who is currently in Puerto Rico.
“I think this is a great opportunity and if I am given the opportunity, it would be a great challenge for me,” Odom, 68, told primerahora.com.
“I know many of the players from Puerto Rico, including Renaldo Balkman, who went to South Carolina, and Angel Vassallo; My son went to Virginia Tech. And David Huertas. I went against him when we played Mississippi.”
Lakers assistant Jim Cleamons and Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank are also in the mix for the job, the source said.
Carlos Beltran, head of the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation (not the Mets outfielder), said he hopes to have someone in place by June.
Calipari announced he will coach the Dominican Republic, and will host a training camp at Kentucky in early August.
The FIBA Tournament of the Americas runs Aug. 30-Sept. 11.
**Calipari to coach the DR
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.