Monday, September 13, 2010

Kevin Durant and Team USA: Peak Performance Case Study

"I'm not nearly the player that I want to be.  I've got so much more work to do."  

-Kevin Durant, MVP of the FIBA World Championships, after the final game in which he scored 28 points and led Team USA to victory over Turkey, 81-64. 

His final three performances were excellent, including 33, 38 and 28 against Russia, Lithuania and Turkey, respectively.

Failure Is Not An Option

"Our only option was to come out here and get a gold, and it feels really good to bring this back home to the States," Durant said.

Insurmountable Challenge

"Most people didn't think we could win,"  Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

"I think that was extra motivation," Durant said.  "It was exciting to come out here and win and also to prove people wrong."  

Invaluable Experience

"We're proud of both.  Both guys will benefit from the experience and mental endurance required to help win an event of this level.  This kind of international experience holds value in terms of the opportunity to compete under difference and unique circumstances while still remaining committed to the core principle of team."  

--Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti, discussing Team USA teammates Durant and Russell Westbrook, who are also teammates with the Thunder. 

The System

"We're going to have a blended roster of players (in 2012). ... There could even be some others. Who knows.  That's all part of having a fluid system.  We've used 30 different players on the men's national roster since the world championship in 2006.  That's a sign of a strong program. That's the kind of program we should have.  Our program is in very good shape, and the pipeline is full.  Players want to represent their country."

--Team USA Chairman, Jerry Colangelo, who is given much credit for the recent success of Team USA.  

"It's the leadership," said Colangelo. "It's the infrastructure that he and I spoke about way back when, when he [Coach Krzyzewski] and I talked about him being the guy I wanted to coach the team. We had to put infrastructure in place and it's there and it's played out every day. With the staff, with the preparation, with the film sessions, with the scouting, with the motivation that is part of this whole thing, the communication. It's the way it should be. It's a real program."

For more on performance psychology, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.  

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