Sergio Scariolo explains how the FIBA ​​Windows built the revamped Spanish national team

By John Rammas/irammas@eurohoops.web

Back in November 2021, the roster of the Spanish national team in the first FIBA ​​World Cup qualifiers video games, generally often called “Windows” was the following:

Jaime Pradilla, Xabi Lopez-Arostegui, Jaime Fernandez, Dario Brizuela, Alberto Diaz, Quino Colom, Dani Diez, Joan Sastre, Yankuba Sima, Fran Guerra, Joel Parra, Dani Perez.

Fast ahead to the Eurobasket 2022 remaining.

Pradilla, Lopez-Arostequi, Jaime Fernandez, Brizuela, Diaz, Parra, plus Sebastian Saiz, who additionally performed in the qualifiers, will stroll out of the Eurobasket with a medal. During final season, they have been neither EuroLeague nor NBA gamers, however they’re key elements of the Spanish national team.

Joust hours earlier than the remaining, Eurohoops had the pleasure to speak to Sergio Scariolo, who’s the proper man to elucidate not solely what’s the Spanish method, but in addition how the FIBA ​​Windows can be utilized for the advantage of a national team program.

And as he clearly states, he totally understands that his expertise as the head coach of the Spanish national team may be completely different from the challenges different national team applications face and that is why he prefers to remain on the Spanish details: “My ahead is that I’m not judging the general idea of the home windows. There are many various angles, there are various completely different viewpoints, all of them respectable. So I’m simply telling the details, about what we did again in 2017 as a result of we’ve got many gamers in the NBA and plenty of gamers in the EuroLeague. Immediately we received the feeling that our greatest 12-14 gamers won’t be obtainable for this competitors, for this qualification, and that at the similar time we’ve got to do one thing to organize. So what we did was convey collectively a gaggle of gamers, even when most of them weren’t even going to take part in the following coaching camp with the team that gained the bronze medal in the European championship in Istanbul”.

Spain and Scariolo didn’t hesitate to create a second team, which will likely be completely linked to the important roster: “We would convey them early throughout summer season, we had a 10-day coaching camp and a few official video games towards Israel. We created a “B-Team” the place we wished to verify about principally placing some issues first. They have been beginning to work on the ideas that he had in work already with the U20 team, which was the first team we began our – as an example – little revolution in the youth classes. Those gamers already had that have earlier than plus a gaggle of gamers who’re thought-about “middle-class”, who aren’t predictably going to take part in any NBA or EuroLeague exercise. And we put them collectively whereas we have been attempting to be very environment friendly. It was not solely basketball-related, but it surely was extra about the values ​​and the morale of the team. We mentioned to them: “Guys you will be Spain, you will be the important team, the guys who will put on the jersey which is one in every of the most admired and even envied in the world of basketball”. So that is an honor, that is a privilege itself. Basically, we made them really feel that they have been “the guys” and never promising completely something by way of what was going to occur at the finish of the summer season however attempting to make the participation in these national team video games a worth itself and it truly labored “.

That was a threat, however in Spain, issues labored to perfection from the response of the gamers to the love and appreciation proven by the followers: “All the nation received actually empathetic with this team, we beat Montenegro, we beat Slovenia. We impressed a variety of emotion, and a variety of ardour as a result of individuals appreciated the effort of those guys. The gamers understood that they did not should suppose an excessive amount of about what was going to occur afterwards. Just stayed centered on right here and now. We are carrying the jersey, we’re taking part in for the national team, we’ve got nice publicity as a result of these guys in all probability by no means dreamed about this type of publicity of their life, after which resulting from circumstances, three of them two years later ended up being world champions . It was a pleasant story due to course we gave them precedence once we had to decide on three gamers to go with the high 9 rotation guys. And that continued in the following years and we’ve got been very profitable in Windows. I feel we simply misplaced two video games, by one or two factors, as a result of these guys have been a unit and felt a part of a household. A couple of years later, most of them are right here and most of them are carrying the jersey at the important competitors due to this expertise, their team feeling, and their information of the system. Sometimes in the Windows, after two days, I step apart and take into consideration how these guys are taking part in collectively like a team. But it is after two years of apply, rather more time in comparison with the time our team of legends had. Yes, there was extra expertise, however the means these guys are taking part in, they’re sharing the ball, they’re so beneficiant, so cohesive, so prepared to provide the effort, they’re a pleasure to observe”.

The truth is that no one anticipated that issues will go so effectively, not even Scariolo himself: “In the starting truthfully, at first began, we have been actually afraid as a result of we have been the general team possibly together with France which was going to lose extra gamers from not being obtainable throughout the Windows. So the worry makes you, I do not wish to say smarter, however extra alert, attempting to anticipate all the pieces. But then, when it began in my first Windows, we have been joyful. Sometimes they advised me from the federation: “You know this EuroLeague or NBA participant could also be obtainable for this particular sport”. But I advised them, go away me alone, these guys are taking part in in the EuroLeague and the NBA, do not combine it up, I’m proud of the gamers I’ve. And these guys deserve this opportunity, at the least in Windows. We might lose a sport however the final aim is that we received to compete on the flooring and that is what we’re undertaking each time. In the long-term, the aim was to have them prepared, even when most of them do not play in the Euroleague. Still, they have been able to kind a unit with a particular feeling of “what’s my position in the team”. They suppose they might be a team participant and they are going to be obtainable to do it”.

So who’re the gamers, who’re actually the prime examples of how the home windows may help, and even how they’ll actually assist a profitable national team program throughout the home windows? “I received to provide you a couple of names right here. The first title we received, in the starting, is Quino Colom who’s not right here truly. He was the actual soul of this team from the very starting. Surprisingly lately we had sort of an issue, behind our legends, in the level guards and he stepped up and he was at all times obtainable. He was the first chief of that team again then in 2017 after which as you may see right here, we’re the solely team that has three Millennials in the rotation. There is not any different team by which three Millennials are literally having taking part in time in the Eurobasket. Usman Garuba is a special factor as a result of he was busy with the NBA and Real Madrid, however Joel Parra and Jaime Pradilla made an unbelievable adjustment. In one yr, and even much less, they jumped from the U20 to the important team via the home windows. It was an ideal expertise for them and people are typical examples of men who have been working in our youth program. That’s the advantage of beginning deep from the youth system”.

Meanwhile, Sergio Scariolo was an assistant in the Toronto Raptors, making a particular association to journey again to Europe and coach throughout the Windows, whereas he’s now a EuroLeague head coach, on the bench of Virtus Bologna.

So he completely understands that the system and the calendar have their flaws: “Windows aren’t good from any standpoint and I’ve to inform you the reality, ‘trigger I’m additionally the coach of Virtus Bologna. So, I’m not that joyful to see my gamers leaving. Not as a result of I do not like them to take part of their national groups, on the opposite, however due to the threat of accidents. We had a few accidents throughout the home windows and I perceive the golf equipment. What’s the answer? We have to take a seat at the similar desk and harmonize the schedule. Even from the followers’ perspective. Just take a look at the pleasant video games in August, we had 15,000 individuals in Madrid, in Athens much more, for 2 prep video games between Spain and Greece. They have been warm-up video games, not even Windows. There are a number of angles, however we do not have to suppose that all the pieces is ideal with the home windows. We received to discover a strategy to take the items a part of the factor and to merge it with the membership exercise”.

Still, on a private degree as the head coach of the Spanish national team, “Project Windows” has been an enormous success for coach Scariolo and he is aware of it.

“Honestly, it is simple for me now, having a team that performs collectively for a very long time and has roles. That’s how you may have an identification as a team. The tough factor to do was to win with a roster filled with stars on their groups, nice personalities, that did not have a variety of time taking part in collectively and needed to co-exist in the national team possibly play for 10 minutes every sport, coming off the bench, altering their position. That was actually, actually powerful. Honestly, I really feel proud as a result of I began this program a couple of years in the past and at the similar time I’ve been egocentric as a head coach for the senior national team as a result of now I get to learn from it and I can take pleasure in the fruits of these seeds “.

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