By John Rammas/ email@example.com
Berlin – Spain landed the top spot of EuroBasket four times since 2009. In all triumphs, Sergio Scariolo was in charge of the senior national team. The 2022 EuroBasket was different.
Scariolo, 61, elaborated on the ‘special taste’ of capturing gold in Berlin talking in the mixed zone following the gold medal game against France Sunday evening.
“Honestly, no,” the Italian mastermind confirmed being unable to predict this triumph beforehand, “You always believe you can do a good job, play good basketball, your team entering a competition and getting more positives than negatives. Honestly, I never doubted as much. But nobody could expect this outcome.”
Spain greats such as Pau and Marc Gasol retired after last summer’s Olympic Games. Sergio Rodriguez as well. Ricky Rubio and Serio Llull were forced to the injury list. Nevertheless, Spain is on top of Europe.
“We came in on the range for a run to the Quarterfinals according to the Power Rankings and finished first,” Scariolo added referring to the initial projections for La Roja, “Teams will NBA All-Stars and MVPs were left behind in this tournament. Today, there were one maybe two All-Stars.”
Spain was in Tbilisi for the duration of the preliminary round of the 2022 EuroBasket. The loss to Belgium was a bad sign but not enough to prevent the team coached by Scariolo from securing the top seed. In the knockout stage of the tournament, beating Lithuania, Finland, and Germany led to the final.
“I feel a great satisfaction for the level of our performance in the tournament and for the effort of the guys from day one,” he recapped, “In the end, basketball has been generous to those who really respected its team sport values, passing the ball, working very hard in practice, defending all opponents, helping each other, and playing for the team. It has been a triumph for basketball as a team sport. Of course, a coach can’t be unhappy with this game, regardless of everything else. We played great from start to finish.”
Players the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Luka Doncic did not even make the medal round. Spain had a system and relied on the team instead of individuals to receive the ultimate prize.
“You must take into account what you have in front of you, any given day, and do it well. Period. That’s it. Practice? Do it right. Watch a scouting video? Do it right. Watch five scouting videos? Do it right. Shootarounds of focusing on the game plan? Do it right. There aren’t any secrets. Don’t underestimate any small part of the process,” he explained, “Adding many small good things leads to success. This has been a huge success, but it usually helps you emerge as a respectable team with the players playing and working together gel to form the identity of the team.”
The former assistant of the Toronto Raptors will be switching to the club level and Virtus Segafredo Bologna prepping for the next edition of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and Italy’s domestic competitions. In international duties, Spain will be back in action seeking to clinch a berth in next summer’s FIBA World Cup in FIBA’s international windows scheduled for November and February.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL