February 12, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) Jerry Colangelo has some gifts to deliver during All-Star weekend, planning to present championship rings to members of last summer's U.S. team that won the gold medal at the Basketball World Cup.

With the senior level in good shape, Colangelo has time to turn his attention toward young players.

USA Basketball is giving youth coaches and accredited organizations the opportunity to become officially licensed by the organization, and has completed a guidebook establishing national standards for all facets of the game for young players.

''We took stock of where youth basketball was in the country and we thought this was would be a terrific undertaking for USA Basketball,'' Colangelo said, ''because we have a strong platform and a strong brand and could bring some organization to the picture, raise the bar so that literally by having the stamp of approval of USA Basketball, you have to abide by rules, regulations, be accredited.''

Echoing a criticism made by Kobe Bryant earlier this season, Colangelo said he believes some of the game's fundamentals and nuances aren't being taught properly at the youth level. He said the plans announced Thursday would be a great resource for coaches, players and their families.

''So this is a big undertaking but I believe the timing is perfect to take this on,'' USA Basketball's chairman said. ''It's ambitious, but as we tested the marketplace there's almost kind of a cry out there for someone to do it and we made that decision to take it on.''

Coaches will have to complete a USA Basketball online course to become accredited, and an organization would be required to have all coaches and administrators obtain a USA Basketball coaching license. USA Basketball worked with the NBA to train and license all the instructors who would be working at the 100 NBA Cares clinics in New York scheduled for Friday.

Information about the programs and the guidebook are available online at usab.site-ym.com.

''I feel very bullish about the ability to get something done, make a difference, and that's what this is about,'' Colangelo said.

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