Kokoskov: “My players made me proud and better as coach”

2017-09-18T00:34:31+00:00 2017-09-18T01:23:30+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

18/Sep/17 00:34


Slovenia is the new EuroBasket champion and the architect of the triumph, head coach Igor Kokoskov described the team’s road to winning the first continental trophy in history.

By Eurohoops team/ info@eurohoops.net

After receiving a champagne shower by Luka Doncic, Igor Kokoskov began the post-game press conference of the EuroBasket Final by expressing (or at least try to) his emotions following Slovenia’s unprecedented success.

“An unbelievable day for Slovenian basketball. I’m really proud of the guys. Proud of the team,” said Kokoskov. “I’m happy that we had huge support from the fans. People were coming in thousands in the last couple of days.

We knew we had to try and focus on the court and just there. Mentally it wasn’t easy. It was emotional. Lots of things were going on off the court. Things off the court with family and friends.

The preparation wasn’t easy for us. The main thing was focusing on the game. And keep your mind on the game. Focus on the little things. Basically, the thing was to do the same. We didn’t have to change anything. The importance of the game shouldn’t change our approach or preparation. We shouldn’t come out of character and individually and as a team. Stick with our plan and stay with our philosophy. We are an up-tempo team. We play with hard and we defend. In this level, we knew that playing hard wasn’t enough. We had to be able to sustain 40 minutes.

I never promised a gold medal. I promised that we’ll work hard.

I’m happy for the guys. All the glory goes to the players. This is their team. I was just there making decisions for them. Huge support from the Federation, from Radoslav Nesterovic. Our president Everyone in the staff. Everyone believed. They were talking about having a chance. I never had doubt. But I never promised. This makes this win and success even better.

I know that Quin Snyder (Utah Jazz head coach) is watching this. He’s my dear friend, my boss, head coach of Utah Jazz. He told me to prepare for this conference. You got to say something deep and smart. I got nothing to say like that. We’re going to celebrate tonight. These guys made the Slovenian nation proud and made me proud. They made me proud and better as coach.”

I also want to thank my coaching staff. A lot of times we weren’t on the same page. But we came to a successful game plan. Brilliant minds all of them. I want to use this opportunity to say thank you.”

Regarding the future of the Slovenian national team and the World Cup qualifiers, Kokoskov added:“We just enjoy the moment. The most important thing is for players to be available. Obviously, NBA players won’t be. I don’t know what is going to happen with EuroLeague players. This team isn’t based on the coach. I was part of the team. In the future, it is important who is going to be on the roster, who is playing in this team and other national teams. So the answer is I don’t know.”

(Photo credit: FIBA.basketball)