Sasa Obradovic (agency: Beo Basket ) had very successful coaching stints in Germany and Ukraine. After leading Rhein Energy Koeln to Bundesliga Champions title in 2006 he took German Cup the next season. With BC Kyiv Serbian tactician has made an impressive run in the 2008-09 EuroChallenge. Ukrainian club that didnt have any foreigner was very close to reach Final Four of the tournament. This season, as a BC Donetsk head coach, Obradovic has won 5 from 6 Eurocup regular season Group A games. At the same time his squad looks like a team that has a real chance to capture Ukrainian Superleague trophy this time.
Sasa, lets start with congratulations. Donetsk is the only Ukrainian club that goes on competing in Eurocup. More than that, your team booked the place in Eurocup LAST-16 beforehand.
Its really a great success for us, because the group wasnt so easy. Achievements of Cibona are well-known. And the fact that they defeated KRKA, Hemofarm, Union Olimpija and Red Star in current Adriatic League season just confirms its high class. Hapoel Jerusalem is the club with good financial support and roster, the club that had an aim to reach LAST-16. And its not a secret how hard it is to play in Israel. I am must pay contribute to my team for that character that they showed in Jerusalem. Its pity that we lost first game in France against BCM Gravelines with such a big score. That time we still didnt find our rhythm, Darnell Jackson just arrived and Ramel Curry was injured. And Gravelines showed unbelievable game on the level of Euroleague team. And after this I am really glad that it is Donetsk team that managed to beat pirates in Eurocup regular season.
Today Donetsk is doing well, but start of the season one can hardly call successful. Lost games against Goverla, Nikolaev and Ferro, as well as unconvincing games against Dnipro and Dnipro-Azot sparked a lot of rumors: staring from speculations about changes in roster and finishing coachs resignation
I really esteem trust relations between me and clubs management. In the beginning of the season I was told: Your work will be valued in May, and after bad start again: We dont change our mind, nobody wants to change the coach. Same judiciousness was with possible changes in roster. Believe me, a lot of times I was a witness when rushed decision was making only worse. It is easy answer: if we dont have result right here right now, we have to find the guilty one and say him good-buy. No way! You have to read the situation, analyze it what provoked such course of events. Believe me, with that number of injures that we faced in the beginning of the season to start championship on high level was absolutely impossible. You have to remember that national championship consists of three rounds so we have time catch-up and we already proved that. And now just imagine if after bad start we said good-buy to Vule Avdalovic for instance, because he didnt find his game from the very beginning and was criticized a lot. And now Vule is one of the key players brain and engine of the team.
After all, the only player with whom the Club part ways was DeMarcus Nelson. Officially it was made to give more game time to Alexander Lypovyy. In fact his game time didnt grow too much.
Leaving of DeMarcus Nelson could not automatically increase Lypovyy minutes on court. But Oleksandr received a good chance to prove himself. In my team everyone receives the time he really deserves. Nobody will get time artificially. Now Lypovyy receives about 15 minutes in the game in average. But Im sure, that desire he shows at our practices will help him prove that he is ready to play more. Nelsons disadvantage was absence of stable shot. In Ukrainian championship where teams mostly play zone its the biggest problem. Thats why I understood that some day we would say good-buy to Demarcus. So, whats the point to wait? Its better to give an opportunity to Lypovyy to prove himself and not to spoil the season for Nelson, especially that his former club Cholet was interested in him coming back.
In home Eurocup game against Hapoel Lypovyy showed a very good game, but in re-game in Jerusalem you didnt give him a minute. Why?
Usually I use Sasha to play against point guards in defense and to play like a shooting guard in offense. In Kiev game Lypa mostly played against Darryl Strawberry who played a role of playmaker. Second guard in that game was not tall Yuval Naimy who Avdalovic and Curry could cope with. But in Jerusalem game Naimy was injured and second guards were taller and stronger Brian Randle and Dan Grunfeld who automatically would have an advantage playing against Vule or Ramel. Thats why I didnt risk to play Lypovyy in that game, I used Pustozvonov and Gliebov on position two instead.
You are one of the most emotional coaches in Superleague. Is it easy to get on well with your team leaders, who probably didnt use to face such way of communication with coach?
While searching for the players for my team, I made an accent not just on the players skills, but also on their human qualities. I do agree that Sasa Obradovic (agency: Beo Basket ) is not an easy coach; basis of my philosophy is every-day work on the highest possible level. I demand of the players to fight till the end. Thats why selecting players for the team I pay attention to the character of the player, I try to understand does he have a core that will give him enough strength to stand the pressure. Believe me, this summer there were a lot of famous names who wanted to come to Donetsk, but I refused them because of the fact I wasnt sure that they would be ready for that kind of pressure, that they had spirit of the fighters and character of the winners. Now we are almost in the middle of the season and I can say without any doubts that I made no mistakes in my choice. We have true fighters in BC Donetsk. It can be either Curry or Kovalenko, all of them do their best both at practice and in game.
You used to say a lot of times that for you most important thing in game is defense. Will you agree that well-known phrase Offense wins games and defense wins titles is now getting out of date? It was offense that brought Eurobasket title to Spain national team and even Gravelines is known as typical fast-break team
Modern basketball is universal, and I really doubt that you will disagree that offense starts with good rebound and rebound is a result of good defense. I accept that maybe last year my teams offense was not like somebody wanted to see it. This summer while building new season roster I kept that in mind and now we are one of the most scoring teams in Superleague.
Can you say that you are satisfied with the roster you have today? Or you still dont refuse the idea to have six foreign players in your team?
You will never find a coach who would mind to have one more player in roster. Me and teams management constantly keep under control players market and we will make a decision to take one more foreigner only in case of top level player appear on market.
Kaspars Berzins (ex BK Ogre) agreed terms with Lokomotiv - 2 hours ago
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Lokomotiv Kuban (VTB) strengthened their roster with addition of 32-year old Latvian international power forward Kaspars Berzins (213-104kg-85). He started the season at BK Ogre in Latvian LBL league. In two games he recorded 11.0ppg, 5.5rpg and 1.5bpg this season. The most of last season Berzins spent at Zenit where in 26 VTB United League games he averaged 10.8ppg, 5.5rpg and 1.2apg. He helped them to make it to the semifinals. Berzins also played earlier that season for BC Nizhny Novgo... [read more]
Lokomotiv Kuban (VTB) strengthened their roster with addition of 32-year old Latvian international power forward Kaspars Berzins (213-104kg-85). He started the season at BK Ogre in Latvian LBL league. In two games he recorded 11.0ppg, 5.5rpg and 1.5bpg this season. The most of last season Berzins spent at Zenit where in 26 VTB United League games he averaged 10.8ppg, 5.5rpg and 1.2apg. He helped them to make it to the semifinals. Berzins also played earlier that season for BC Nizhny Novgorod. In 12 Eurocup games he had 9.6ppg and 5.5rpg. He also played 13 games in VTB United League where he got 10.2ppg, 5.2rpg and 1.4apg. Among other achievements Berzins won Latvian League championship title in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013. He was selected to Latvian League All-Star Game back in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Berzins has been also a member of Latvian international program for some years. He has regularly played for Latvian senior team since 2005 and previously for U20 National Team between 2003 and 2005. Berzins also represented Latvia at the European Championships two years ago. His stats at that event were 9 games: 8.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 59.5%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 81.0%. Berzins is a very experienced player. He has played also professionally in Italy, Spain (Unicaja Malaga, Caceres Basket and Blusens Monbus) and Russia (Krasnie Krilya). The scouts decsribe him following way:
He is a very smooth athlete. He's one of those guys who seem to move from A to B with little or no effort required. He plays a slashing style on the offensive end, but also has range on the jumper at the three-point line.
The kind of European inside player, who knos how to came out and hit a shot from the distance, even behind the 3 pts arch; also a good rebounder and yat a solid post player, but his future is at 4 position.
FC Bayern Muenchen (BBL) signed 27-year old German international center Maik Zirbes (208-115kg-90, agency: BeoBasket). He started the season at Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv in Israeli Winner League. In 9 games he had 8.3ppg, 4.4rpg and 1.0spg this season. Zirbes helped them to make it to the cup final. He also played 15 games in Euroleague where he recorded 8.1ppg and 3.0rpg. The last season Zirbes played at Crvena Zvezda in Serbian KLS. The team played in three different competitions (!!!) that... [read more]
FC Bayern Muenchen (BBL) signed 27-year old German international center Maik Zirbes (208-115kg-90, agency: BeoBasket). He started the season at Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv in Israeli Winner League. In 9 games he had 8.3ppg, 4.4rpg and 1.0spg this season. Zirbes helped them to make it to the cup final. He also played 15 games in Euroleague where he recorded 8.1ppg and 3.0rpg. The last season Zirbes played at Crvena Zvezda in Serbian KLS. The team played in three different competitions (!!!) that year, and he was exposed to basketball on different levels. In 12 KLS games he averaged 10.3ppg and 4.8rpg. Zirbes contributed to his team winning the league title (twice) (also twice). A very impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Serbian League Bosman Player of the Year, Center of the Year and named to 1st Team. Zirbes also played 27 games in Euroleague where he got 12.4ppg and 6.1rpg. He contributed to his team making it to the quarterfinals. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Euroleague Honorable Mention. Zirbes also played 31 games in ABA League where he got 13.2ppg and 5.9rpg. He contributed to his team winning the ABA League championship (twice) despite they ended the regular season at the second place (twice). A very spectacular season in his career as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Adriatic League 2nd Team. Zirbes has been also a member of German international program for some years. He has regularly played for German senior team since 2009 and previously for U20 National Team between 2009 and 2010. Zirbes represented Germany at the Qualifications to European Championships 2015 three years ago. His stats at that event were 6 games: 7.2ppg, 4.8rpg, FGP: 65.6%, FT: 33.3%. Zirbes has played previously for five other Germany teams: Gladiators, Brose Baskets, Saar-Pfalz Braves, DJK MJC Trier and Trier Baskets.
Randle comes back to Hapoel Jerusalem - 2 days ago
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Hapoel Jerusalem (Winner League) inked 32-year old American forward Brian Randle (203-85). It is actually his comeback to Hapoel Jerusalem as he has played here before. Randle has played for the last three years at Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv in the Winner League. He managed to play in three leagues last year (!!!). In 17 Winner League games he recorded 8.6ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg and 1.2bpg. Randle helped them to win the cup and make to league semifinals. He also played 8 games in Euroleague... [read more]
Hapoel Jerusalem (Winner League) inked 32-year old American forward Brian Randle (203-85). It is actually his comeback to Hapoel Jerusalem as he has played here before. Randle has played for the last three years at Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv in the Winner League. He managed to play in three leagues last year (!!!). In 17 Winner League games he recorded 8.6ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg and 1.2bpg. Randle helped them to win the cup and make to league semifinals. He also played 8 games in Euroleague where he averaged 8.5ppg, 2.5rpg and 1.0apg. And finally Randle contributed to 4 games in Eurocup where he had 6.3ppg, 2.8rpg and 1.3apg. Among other achievements Randle received Eurobasket.com All-Euroleague Honorable Mention award in 2015. He has played previously professionally also in Germany (ALBA Berlin) and Israel (Galil Gilboa, Hapoel Tel-Aviv and Maccabi Haifa).
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