By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
Apart from thousands of fans, the Final Four has, naturally, also attracted many basketball legends that were present in Berlin to watch the tournament up close. Among them was Jacques Monclar, one of the most iconic personalities, both as a player and a coach, in the history of French basketball.
Eurohoops had the pleasure of discussing certain topics of interest with Jacques Monclar who told us that: “It’s always great to be in the Final Four. The ultimate moment of the season for everybody. All basketball lovers are happy to be here. And in such beautiful arena”.
No French team has made it to a Final Four since Villeurbanne in 1997. A long period of drought for the country’s basketball scene. “A little bit more money for our teams and maybe a different basketball philosophy and style. That’s what we need”, says Jacques Monclar “We make many turnovers, we do not have enough strength in the paint. We have a very nice domestic league, but that’s different from Euroleague We have a lot of athleticism and play fast paced basketball but we need a lot more for making it high in Euroleague”.
Perhaps an emphasis on the strengths of the fundamentals is also needed? “You are totally right. And for that maybe we need coaches like Bogdan Tanjevic, Bozidar Maljkovic, Dusko Ivanovic and some others. We need more foreign coaches on board”.
Jacques Monclar has been a vehement supporter of Euroleague in the “conflict” versus FIBA. “To me, Euroleague is the best in terms of basketball and that’s what I care about. Because I’m thinking that our kids, our young players leave France very early. Without a competitive international league for them to play… they are going to leave even earlier. And that is the main danger for me. I don’t want to see such a thing happening”.
At the same time, he admits that the whole adversity is certainly not a pretty situation. “The whole thing makes me sad to be honest. When two great organizations and two great institutions can’t go along it hurts all basketball lovers”. But there is a specific thing towards which Jacques Moclar expresses his total disagreement: “The one thing I don’t understand and the one thing I don’t take is the national team sessions in November. We had a good calendar. Euroleague, national leagues, the end of NBA and then the national teams tournaments. That was perfect! Why changing it?”.
France is going to play in the Olympic Qualifiers with a lot of “gaps” in its roster. So far it is know that Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Ian Mahinmi, Rudy Gobert will not be available to Vincent Collet. “Boris Diaw too perhaps.” says Jacques Monclar. “The players want to play! But they are free agents and they are supposed to sign their new contracts in 5-10 to July. And this is not a FIBA decision. It’s an IOC (International Olympic Committee) decision. One that creates a bad situation. France is a country that constantly gives good players to the NBA. And then what? What comes after? A situation that is painful for us? That hurts us? Why? It would be bad for the Olympic tournament if France is not there”.”