By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Sergio Scariolo won his fourth Eurobasket gold, surpassing legendary Dusan Ivkovic, tying iconic USSR coach Stepan Spandaryan and after this tournament, only the notorious Alexander Gomelsky, also a former coach of the USSR, has more than him with six.
That’s why the first answer from the Italian coach of the Spanish national team in the press conference was expected: “It’s easy to say we are extremely happy. We were at 8th place in the power rankings and we managed to climb over great teams, especially this last one, full of NBA and EuroLeague players. It’s been amazing to see now the final rankings and be above all those great teams. We said in the start, that we should put a guy at least at the Top15. That’s why I am happy and as a basketball coach, I am very happy because we played great basketball”.
Scariolo elaborated on this: “Right now, let me be just a basketball coach and be happy because we played great basketball. Despite our limitations we played at a fast tempo, we had many assists, and we had the ability to overcome hard times not with individual moves, but through the team. It’s normal to make adjustments and most of those turned us into a very efficient team”.
Coach Scariolo also talked about how he prepared this version of the team, a concept that he had already analyzed on Eurohoops: “This is a special taste, different. I would say there’s a lot of work behind, first of all, the clubs and the youth programs. And then in the youth programs in the federation and then what we did to prepare this specific generation to prepare actually for the FIBA Windows. We had back them 12-14 players in the EuroLeague and in the NBA. And we had the vision to create a fully different team. Even during the day-by-day work, we had the feeling that progress was moving forward. We couldn’t expect something like this, but the overall work was going in the right direction. The way to compete as a team has to be there. That’s not negotiable”.
In the past, Scariolo has compared the Spanish national team to a Ferrari. This year, he was asked to give a similar analogy and while he didn’t mention a specific car, he said the following: “It’s different for sure. Driving a Ferrari is tough because you have to be careful about the details in a machine that is delicate. This time around, I got to be more rude, even aggressive at times, because I felt that this was the way to drive it. And when I understood that the players were not offended to drive hard, then I gave it more push and did things that back then, I wouldn’t even dare to do”.