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Gregg Popovich still proud of his players despite Team USA’s loss to France in FIBA World Cup

Gregg Popovich, Team USA

Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich was not in a jovial mood in the postgame presser following his team’s shock defeat to France in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup.

Coach Pop did not hold back when faced with the idea of Team USA not being at full strength due to all the withdrawals from superstar-caliber players in the build-up to the tournament:

“I think it’s a disrespectful notion,” Popovich said following a question to USA guard Donovan Mitchell on if he wanted to see some other NBA players at his side, via Aris Barkas of Eurohoops. “To even bring up something like that up: ‘Hey if you guys had this guy and had that guy’. That’s disrespectful to France or whoever else is in the tournament. France beat us. It doesn’t matter who is on the team.”

We see no lies here, with the 70-year-old tenured coach explaining why this line of thinking is inappropriate on so many levels.

Popovich then went on to sing the praises of his players, saying how he remains proud of their effort despite Team USA’s unceremonious exit from the tournament:

“I couldn’t have been more proud of these 12 guys who sacrificed their summer to come here,” he added. “Having never played together before. They put themselves in the arena and competed and they deserve credit for that. Just like France deserves credit for winning. It’s not about ‘well, the USA didn’t have their other guys’. There’s no such thing as ‘other guys’. These are the guys who are here. They did a great job and I’m very proud of them.”

Kudos to Pop for saying all the right things here. Then again, this is the great Gregg Popovich we’re talking about here, so we ought to expect nothing less.