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 won his first NBA championship with the Miami Heat on Thursday night.
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.