The United States U19 men’s basketball team lost to Canada in the semifinals at the FIBA World Cup in Egypt on Saturday and then bounced back to win the bronze medal Sunday.
The result was disappointing to many who expected gold with a talented roster and Kentucky’s John Calipari as the head coach.
Harold Rayford, the coach at Tennessee Prep (Memphis), took his displeasure a step further on social media, nominating himself to be the U19 coach in the future. Rayford has been the coach there for three seasons.
So we asked him to make his case as to why he should be the coach.
Here is his response:
I have watched the U19 team the whole way through. I truly believe that the USA should have won the gold medal. With all the talent — athleticism, length, natural ability — a structure should have been in place to showcase the sport which we have birth[ed]. I see that other countries have adapted our styles and that is cool, but we should have that toughness that we once had in previous years. Toughness is what allowed Canada to win the gold medal. Our guys played OK, but not to the level where they have to see that this a business.
I teach, and I teach toughness and the everyday fight for success. I come from that environment in New York, where you need that to survive whether that’s on the court or in everyday life. How does the team develop team toughness? Through the coach and/or the leader.
The USA has gone away from toughness. Coach Bobby Knight was tough. Today we have Coach K, who came from that Bobby Knight coaching tree. Coach Nolan Richardson was tough coach. Who are the tough coaches now? Gregg Popovich, Tom Thibodeau, Frank Martin.
A tough coach turns nothing into something. A tough coach turns cream into butter I respect all coaches and their journey to how and they became head coaches. My story to get where I am is tough. I remember reading this article about toughness by Jay Bilas. No one has given me anything. I had to work for it every day.