Paul George “more than excited” for Gregg Popovich to succeed Coach K as USA Basketball coach

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will succeed Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski as the head coach of Team USA beginning in 2017. The announcement was made Friday afternoon after conversations over the last few days about who should take over.

George Hill played and learned from Popovich from 2008-11.

Coach K has directed Team USA since 2005 and will seek his third straight Olympic Gold Medal next year in Rio. Then, he’s done.

Popovich, a Hall of Fame coach who will coach the team from 2017-2020, was born in East Chicago, Indiana and he attended Merrillville High School. Pop, 66, then attended Air Force — and that’s also where he began his legendary coaching career as an assistant from 1973-79.

[Popovich on his special relationship with George Hill]

“I’m extremely humbled and honored to have the opportunity to represent our country as the coach of the USA National Team,” said Popovich, who has guided the Spurs to five NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014).

George looks forward to learning under coach Popovich.

“What the program has accomplished over the last decade under the leadership of Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski is truly impressive. I will do my utmost to maintain the high standards of success, class and character established by Jerry, Coach K and the many players who have sacrificed their time on behalf of USA Basketball.”

USA’s National Team owns a 63-game winning streak, dating back to 2006.

“More than excited to have the opportunity to play under him and learn under him,” Pacers forward Paul George told VigilantSports.com on Friday. Managing Director Jerry Colangelo has guaranteed George, who fractured his left leg 14 months ago during a USA Basketball scrimmage, a spot in the 2016 Olympics.

George did not participate in training camp in August, but he did make an appearance to show his commitment and to talk with both Colangelo and Krzyzewski.

After Popovich, Celtics’ Brad Stevens, who’s from Zionsville, Indiana, and the Warriors’ Steve Kerr make a lot of sense.

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