By Cesare Milanti / info@Eurohoops.net
MALAGA, Spain – Before playing the final of the 2023 Basketball Champions League, Telekom Baskets Bonn and Hapoel Jerusalem head coach Tuomas Iisalo and Aleksandar Dzikic took part in the official press conference, as well as Karsten Tadda and Or Cornelius.
“I don’t really think about myself as a young coach. In Germany, we have a lot of up-and-comers. It’s not really a theme. Overall, I think our team is special because nobody is really interested in themselves or in their achievement. We enjoy working together and competing together every day. Hopefully, we can do it tomorrow as well”, Tuomas Iisalo said. “He’s a very high-level coach, I’ve been a fan of his work for years. Their team plays with a lot of intensity and physicality, it’s a trademark of a well-coached team. It’s a tight unit similar to us, we know what we are going to face”, the Finnish head coach commented on his experienced colleague.
“Most of what I saw in a moment as biggest failures were the biggest steps in improvement. They forced me to revalue a lot, and the pain and suffering they caused have been the biggest driver so far in my professional development. In that regard, I see it as a huge thing. We are going into the last game of the competition, you can talk after the game we learned a lot. But it also becomes finding a way to win. I see both sides, like in most complex issues”, Telekom Baskets Bonn’s head coach said about Giannis’ quote about failure.
“I see it as an enormous success. What we’ve been able to create in Bonn is something unique, and something I feel very proud to be a part of. That’s pretty much it. It’s gonna be very challenging for us. There will be mistakes, it’s not a typical game. We’ve been working the whole season on getting the basis on a very high level”, he added.
The battle of the underdogs
After all, as coach Djikic explained, both teams no matter the result can consider their season a success.
“Bonn keeps on surprising everybody from October, so maybe it’s time to take them seriously. It’s going a tough battle, and we are not expecting anything else. We are not the favorites, at all. The results this season says a lot about my colleague. What I really appreciate is the way he selected the team and the type of basketball they play. They found the right type of coach and the right way. They obviously did a great job this year. It’s funny to say that now Bonn is serious, they were the whole year. I’m doing that for a year. I refuse to be judged based on my last performance”, Hapoel Jerusalem’s head coach commented.
“The whole process was moving these guys out of their comfort zone. We pushed them so hard, some of them changed the way they played. Some of them accepted new roles. They’re very aggressive, they attack the rim, and they are a long, mobile, defensive, and aggressive team. So I guess it’s a compliment”, Aleksandar Dzikic added. “One-year deal is a season, not a project. A one-year deal kills basketball. A project is Tenerife: you pick a player and a coach, and you support them. In bad times, you support and defend your decision. I don’t feel I’m part of a project”, he also said.
“I know what we can do, what we achieved the whole season. The coach prepared us very well. We worked hard the whole year, and I’m always confident in my team and my guys. Same for tomorrow. Strasbourg was a tough series, we are gonna show our identity tomorrow as well. It will be the biggest game I’ve ever played”, Bonn’s Karsten Tadda said.
“I think we have the best crowd in this league, they follow us wherever we go. There’s something special this year. I hope everything is going to be okay in our country. No matter the situation we have, we represent Israel. Hope we’ll do well”, Hapoel’s Or Cornelius added.
PHOTO CREDIT: Basketball Champions League