Discover more from Fieldhouse Files with Scott Agness
'A monumental task': Rick Carlisle congratulates Jim Boylen, Team USA after qualifying for the 2023 World Cup
Carlisle on Boylen's contributions to the Pacers this season: "He brings a different perspective. And he’s been terrific for us."
Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle arrived to the interview room at Gainbridge Fieldhouse and before he addressed their 142-138 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics on Thursday, he had something else on his mind.
Carlisle opened by congratulating USA Basketball, and head coach Jim Boylen, on their 88-77 win over Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay to officially qualify for the FIBA World Cup.
“It’s been a long, arduous task,” he said. “They’ve been working these USA windows with players from everything from G League to guys that are [playing in Europe], guys that may not have been playing at certain points in time, etc.
“Jim is one of our coaching consultants this year. He’s done a great job for us. And that has been a monumental task to do that so congratulations to him.”
Carlisle is not exaggerating here. Because the qualifying periods overlapped with the NBA schedule, Team USA had to pivot and get players on board from a variety of sources.
They used 52 players total on six different rosters for six windows of games.
That’s a significant challenge, both because of the lack of roster continuity and other countries getting significantly better. The FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup, set for Aug. 25-Sept. 10, 2023, will be held in The Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.
Veteran Langston Galloway led Team USA 21 points on Thursday, his eighth straight game in double figures. He was in training camp with the Pacers to be considered for the final roster spot, which was filled by James Johnson.
The other players with ties to the organization that contributed: Justin Anderson and David Stockton of the Mad Ants, Jordan Bell and Brian Bowen II.
It was also good to hear Carlisle bring up Boylen, the former Pacers assistant coach (2011-13), who has been with the team since the start of this season. He was at training camp every day, seen sitting over the corner and observing, and he attends practices whenever he’s in town.
Yet it was the first time that the organization confirmed Boylen was a consultant for the team. There was no announcement, he’s not listed on the team directory and he parks in the visitors lot just like local reporters.
Boylen has worked in the NBA for the majority of his professional career, first for the Houston Rockets in 1992. He's also served as a head coach twice before, for the University of Utah (2007-11) and the Chicago Bulls (2018-20).
He also brings championship experience, part of three NBA title teams: Rockets (1994, 1995) and Spurs (2014).
The Michigan native has a home on the north side of Indianapolis so this, along with his role as head coach of the qualifying team for USA Basketball, works well for him.
“He’s a guy that I have great respect for,” Carlisle said. “He loves the game, he works at the game. He’s been part of staffs. He’s been a head coach on two Chicago teams that were top defensive teams. He was with three others that were championship teams. So he brings a different perspective. And he’s been terrific for us.
“I just think the work that he’s done with USA Basketball has just been phenomenal. It’s been a great service to our country, just in terms of our international play. You can’t get to the Olympics until you’ve qualified for the World Cup. It’s not automatic anymore. If you win the gold medal, you don’t automatically qualify for the Olympics unless you’re the home country.”
Steve Kerr of the Warriors has succeeded Gregg Popovich as head coach of the National Team through 2024.
Pacers lead assistant Lloyd Pierce was an assistant on Popovich’s Team USA staff that won gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
And Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton desires to be part of that group, saying at All-Star weekend he hopes to be on the roster that competes in the 2024 Paris Olympics.