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Play-Off bracket4
Interview with BC Donetsk head coach Sasa Obradovic - Dec 27, 2011

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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.   

Shaquielle McKissic (ex Usak) agreed terms with Gran Canaria - 3 days ago
Herbalife Gran Canaria (Liga Endesa) inked 27-year old American small forward Shaquielle McKissic (196-91kg-90, college: Arizona State). He played most recently at Muratbey Usak Sportlif Basketbol in Turkish BSL league. McKissic managed to play in three leagues last year (!!!). In 26 BSL games he recorded very impressive stats: 15.8ppg, 5.7rpg, 2.9apg and 1.4spg (in top 4). A very good season in his career as he was voted to Turkish League All-Star Game. McKissic also played 4 games in FI...   [read more]

Schneider re-signs at ALBA Berlin - 3 days ago
ALBA Berlin (BBL) confirmed in their roster 20-year old power forward Tim Schneider (208-108kg-97). He played there last season. But in 5 BBL games he did not score anything and had only 1 rebound and 1 assist. His team won the regular season. Quite impressive year as he was named to All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Honorable Mention. Schneider played 2 games in Eurocup, but he did not score anything. Schneider also spent pre-season at ALBA Berlin (ProB) that year. It was anot...   [read more]

Akeem Vargas
Vargas re-signs at ALBA Berlin - 4 days ago
ALBA Berlin (BBL) confirmed in their roster 27-year old German international guard Akeem Vargas (192-90kg-90, college: Iowa Lakes CC). He is a dual citizen owning also American passport. Vargas has played there for the last four seasons. In 36 BBL games he had just 2.8ppg and 1.3apg last season. Vargas helped them to make it to the German Bundesliga Cup Semifinals. He also played 11 games in Eurocup where he recorded only 2.7ppg, 1.0rpg and 1.4apg. The list of the past achievements is qui...   [read more]

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The event was previously known as ULEB Cup until 2008

Eurocup Standings
Group E
 1 Lokomotiv 5-1 
 2 Gran Canaria 4-2 
 3 Fuenlabrada 2-4 
 4 UCAM Murcia 1-5 
Group F
 1 B.Muenchen 6-0 
 2 Khimky 4-2 
 3 Lietkabelis 2-4 
 4 Ratiopharm 0-6 
Group G
 1 Hapoel J-M 5-1 
 2 Zenit 3-3 
 3 Lietuvos rytas 3-3 
 4 N.Novgorod 1-5 
Group H
 1 Valencia 6-0 
 2 Unicaja 3-3 
 3 Cedevita 2-4 
 4 ALBA 1-5 
Stage One Standings
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
 Alexey SHVED
  Avg: 22.1
 1. Shved, Khimky22.1 
 2. Kikanovic, ALBA19.6 
 3. Toolson, Zenit18.9 
 4. Logan, Lietuvos.18.1 
 5. Kane, N.Novgorod16.8 
 6. Jerrells, Hapoel J.16.8 
 7. Timma, Zenit16.2 
 8. Kuric, Gran Canaria15.1 
 9. Strebkov, N.Nov.14.6 
 10. Morgan, Ratiopharm14.4 
Rebounds Per Game
  Avg: 9.6
 1. Gordon, Lietuvos.9.6 
 2. Kane, N.Novgorod7.6 
 3. Dubljevic, Valencia6.8 
 4. Stoudemire, Hapoel J.6.6 
 5. Kleber, B.Muenchen6.6 
 6. Bilan, Cedevita6.2 
 7. Rojas, UCAM M.5.9 
 8. Booker, B.Muenchen5.9 
 9. Jones, Lokomotiv5.8 
 10. Rubit, Ratiopharm5.8 
Assists Per Game
  Avg: 9.1
 1. Markovic, Zenit9.1 
 2. Campazzo, UCAM M.6.7 
 3. Siva, ALBA6.3 
 4. Logan, Lietuvos.5.8 
 5. Williams, Lietkabelis5.4 
 6. Shved, Khimky5.2 
 7. Strebkov, N.Nov.5.2 
 8. Oliver, Gran Canaria5.0 
 9. McCalebb, Gran C.4.8 
 10. Hobbs, Ratiopharm4.7 
Steals Per Game
  Avg: 2.2
 1. Campazzo, UCAM M.2.2 
 2. Siva, ALBA2.0 
 3. Logan, Lietuvos.1.7 
 4. Williams, Lietkabelis1.7 
 5. Diot, Valencia1.6 
 6. Kane, N.Novgorod1.5 
 7. Markovic, Zenit1.4 
 8. Rowland, Khimky1.4 
 9. Kinsey, Hapoel J-M1.4 
 10. Gaffney, ALBA1.3 
Blocks Per Game
 Mirza BEGIC
  Avg: 1.3
 1. Begic, Cedevita1.3 
 2. Stoudemire, Hapoel J.1.2 
 3. Kravtsov, Valencia1.1 
 4. Gaffney, ALBA1.1 
 5. Pushkov, Zenit1.0 
 6. Todorovic, Khimky1.0 
 7. Monya, Khimky0.9 
 8. Kleber, B.Muenchen0.9 
 9. Musli, Unicaja0.8 
 10. Mbakwe, Zenit0.7 
Player of the Week

 Royce O'Neale
  Gran Canaria
  ( 198-SF-93 )
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