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Sources say USA Basketball eyeing move to Tempe, Ariz., where project planned

By: matt steiner matt.steiner@gazette.com
June 11, 2013 Updated: June 11, 2013 at 7:40 pm
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Rumors about a possible move by USA Basketball began circulating again Tuesday after The Arizona Republic reported on its website that the national governing body plans to move its headquarters to Tempe, Ariz.

The Republic cited "multiple sources" and said USA Basketball "is expected to announce a plan soon to be part of a 10-acre project" next to the Arizona State y campus.

USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller did not give any validity to Tuesday's rumors. Miller said he could not comment on the report.

The Arizona Board of Regents is expected to address the project in its meetings Wednesday and Thursday. The board's agenda said the university is requesting approval of a lease option agreement with USA Place, LLC to develop an area adjacent to the campus that would include a 300-room hotel and 30,000 square-foot conference center.

According to the Republic's report, Arizona State officials said no agreements had been made and any rumors are "speculative."

The desire for USA Basketball to move into a larger facility jumped back into the spotlight May 23 at a press conference announcing that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski would be the coach of the men's national team through 2016.

Krzyzewski said the organization wanted to become a "grass-roots" leader, reaching beyond the national teams and developing the sport for all ages.

"I think in the near future you're going to hear announcements about moving USA Basketball and it's going to be a big complex in another part of the country," Krzyzewski said.

USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley said May 23 several cities around the country have expressed interest in welcoming the organization. He said many have offered the possibility of building a large, multifaceted facility.

USA Basketball came close to leaving for the Phoenix area a couple of years ago.

Glendale, Ariz., and the organization, based in Colorado Springs since January 1979, reached an agreement in 2008 to build a headquarters as part of a $53.8 million, 75-acre complex that would have included a training center, offices, three-star hotel, sports medicine clinic and fitness center.

A stumbling economy kept developers from securing financing although USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, former owner of the NBA's Phoenix Suns, was a vocal advocate. The agreement collapsed in October 2010.

The organization that became USA Basketball has worked out of a 18,000 square-foot building on Mark Dabling Boulevard since 1993. It shares the nine gymnasiums at the 35-acre U.S. Olympic Training Center with 13 sports.

Thanks to the U.S. Olympic Committee's move to Colorado Springs in 1978, 22 national governing bodies for individual Olympic sports are based in the area, including about 50 other organizations, such as the Mountain West Conference, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

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Gazette reporter Joe Paisley contributed to this report.

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