Coach K: Las Vegas great for Team USA


Coach K --the one and only Mike Krzyzewski -- says Las Vegas has made the national basketball team a stronger unit, since the team has trained here for four years.

"It has helped us recruit for the national team," he says.

"When we made the decision to do this (here), that was one of the best decisions we made."

Coach K says players love it here, and they can bring their families. But Vegas' allure goes far beyond that, he says.

He stresses that Vegas knows "how to handle big events" and big players.

"We train hard. We're well taken care of. We actually have privacy, which you wouldn't think in Vegas," he says.

"The guys feel safe here," Coach K says. "They feel like this is the best place to train."

He was at the Wynn last weekend for Andre Agassi's fundraiser for education.

Coach K also said it would be "fantastic" and "electric" if Vegas got its own NBA team.

"I do think you'd have to have an amazing arena. But getting people to come to games would become part of the scene real quick," he says.

Vegas has a basketball "jones," he said, as evidenced by the success of the UNLV Rebels, NBA Summer League, and the AAU tournament that brings many hundreds of high school teams to Vegas, along with college scouts.

"Vegas has turned into the basketball capital for summer basketball, whether it be the NBA League, and certainly the AAU (and) USA basketball," he says.

Coach K and his wife come to Vegas three or four times a year, as "very close friends with the Wynn family."

But of course, he's never been here for March Madness.

"I try not to be," he says with a grin. "I try to be coaching."

He never did March Madness as a kid, either.

"No. I've heard about it," he says. "Even if I was here, I couldn't be in the places most people are," because it would be inappropriate.

By the way, pro ball is here Wednesday: The visiting Lakers take on the Kings at the Thomas & Mack Center.

NEW MRAZ AND MATCHBOX MUSIC

At Agassi's event, Rob Thomas said he'll be writing new songs with Matchbox Twenty next month.

And Jason Mraz said he's going back to a London studio Wednesday for a few weeks.

"We've got most of the album cut," Mraz says. "I ran into Phil Ramone a couple of weeks ago, and he said, 'You can make a record in nine days.' Ever since then, I've been thinking along those terms. We've got enough material. Just go in there and cut it."

SIGHTINGS

Eva Longoria Parker's figure has been reproduced in wax (wearing a red, one-shoulder Carolina Herrera dress) for Madame Tussauds museum at The Venetian. She'll unveil it Wednesday night at her club Eve. Wax Eva wears a copy of her wedding ring, which has two rows of 80 diamonds separated by a row of 27 diamonds. Last night, Eva was out of town while club Eve was slated to host a World Hunger Relief fundraiser with Ali Landry, Tiffani Thiessen, Karina Smirnoff, Joely Fisher, Deion Sanders, Shar Jackson, Larry Birkhead and Jen Bunney. ... Mike Tyson caught Wayne Brady's show at Planet Hollywood on Saturday night. ... Porn crossover star Sasha Grey took a handful of friends to dinner at Nove on Saturday for pizza, salad, vodka, cannoli and cheesecake, then she led them up to the Playboy Club, where she DJ'd for 15 minutes. ... Travie McCoy sang "Billionaire" at club Moon on Saturday, and drank champagne with eight friends. ... UFC honcho and local Dana White partied at Moon with four friends Saturday.

Doug Elfman's column appears Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. E-mail him at delfman@ reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

 

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