Behind former Israeli-League legendary basketball coach Ralph Klein, current and ex-coaches Pini Gershon, Tzvika Sherf, Brad Greenberg, Oded Katash, and Muli Katzurin are among the list for Israel's All-Time Most Winning Coaches.
However, in a race for the All-Time No. 1 seeded coach from a percentage viewpoint, Klien, with 76.3%, comes in second after Maccabi Tel Aviv's prime possession -- head coach David Blatt.
Blatt, 54, the oldest among the Euroleague Final Four competing coaches with a 76.7% winning percentage over 262 domestic competition appearances.
After exceeding all Euro-expectations and outperforming varsity powerhouse CSKA Moscow in the semifinals of Europe's most elite competition, Blatt is 40 minutes and one victory away from leading one of Maccabi's greatest underdog teams to a European title.
In honor of tonight's showdown at the Mediolanum Forum against Euroleague winning-favorites Real Madrid, Eurobasket caught up with coach Blatt for an unorthodox one-on-one.
What's your daily schedule on game-day?
06:00-07:00 - "When playing in the Euroleague I normally wake up between six to seven AM, naturally, without an alarm clock. I take one of my kids to school and desperately battle the endless traffic leading to Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. It's a nightmare."
08:00-12:00 - "Between 08:30-09:00, depending on traffic I'd arrive at the arena and start analyzing game-film with the coaching staff until the players arrive for practice."
12:00-17:00 - "Following practice we all attend a team lunch and from there the players and staff fall out their separate ways. I return to Nokia Arena for a little more game preparation and rest in our terrible 'coach's room'. Don't get me wrong, in terms of respect and professionalism Maccabi are the best in Europe. However, when it comes to staff treatment? Maccabi are among the lower ranked teams in Europe. You've seen our coach's room, you've been inside. You know what I'm talking about. We're four coaches (Guy Goodes, Alon Stein, Nikola Vujcic and Blatt) in a pit with no window, no air, underground, and with a very little hope."
17:00-19:00 - "After my nap I'd get a 90 minutes workout in, shower, and go over some final touches before tip-off."
19:00-21:00 - "Roughly two hours before game-time, when people start rolling in, I suffer from anxiety because our coach's room turns into the Grand Central Station. Every possible person in the world finds a reason to pass by our pit. It's not always convenient, but it's part the Maccabi experience. Again, with regards to respect and professionalism - Maccabi are No. 1. Still, maintenance isn't their strong side and it's my business to note why the glass is not full."
Game-03:30 - "After the game I have 101 responsibilities, whether it's to media, management, players, sponsors and the random requests by everybody on the planet. You don't know where it begins and can't imagine where it will end, but it's relatively pleasant because when at home with normally win. When the arena clears out I relax and check up on the other Euroleague games and head home after 01:00. It's much harder for me to sleep after games rather then before because of the adrenalin rush, so I'll probably fall asleep between 03:00-03:30."
There's an assumption that with previous Maccabi coaches, management were easy to pull the trigger. True?
"I disagree. I believe things at Maccabi have changed and the management and ownership have developed patience and a long term perspective. It might have been true in the past, but things have changed for the better."
What are your weaknesses?
"That's a job interview question. Normally you would expect of me to turn my weaknesses into an advantage. I wish I was able to sleep better. I'd come to work more energized."
What do you need to improve as a coach?
"There's a special saying by John Wooden that I use quite often. 'It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.' There are many aspects in the game I can improve on, it's a process that only ends when I retire."
When did you last cry?
"They will laugh at me at home, but I'm not a cryer. It's hard for me to cry. I cry inside. Normally what gets me choked up are my kids."
What are topics of conversation at a Blatt dinner table?
"A lot of basketball. We're a family of sports before anything. Even those who didn't play the game were always around players. Basketball isn't the only topic of conversation but definitely the most popular one.
Is there room for a foreign coach at Maccabi?
"To bring a rookie coach, a first timer, to Maccabi is very difficult. Even for me, when I coached Maccabi for the first time it was very tough and I came from within the system after being an assistant during one of the greatest eras in the history of the organization. Being an Israeli is an advantage when coaching Maccabi because this club is part of the Israeli society and you have to breath that society and live it in order to succeed. There's a special saying in Hebrew, 'everyone has a replacement.' Would it be easy finding one for me? I'm not sure. Not sure at all."
How do you scout players?
"I'll tell you a very special story about Nate Huffman. At the time, (then Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon) asked me to watch film on Croatian Velimir Perasovic who played for Spanish Fuenlabrada. We didn't have DVD's or stuff like that. I was using old A-Tracks for scouting. So I'm watching the game and I see this white dude whom I've never heard of doing pretty amazing stuff. I immediately called Pini and said, 'listen, Perasovic is good but I'm telling you we have to sign this white guy nobody ever heard of by the name of Nate Huffman.' Pini responds saying, 'who? What's a Huffman?' I told him to watch the tape. An hour and a half later we completed one biggest steals in European basketball history. Nowadays scouting is different. You have scouts, management personnel with their own opinions and another million different advisors, it's really complicated."
What was your most heartbreaking loss?
"I've had many disappointments and tough loses. The one game I can't seem to let go of, the one that is hardest for me to swallow, was last year's Israeli-League championship game against Maccabi Haifa. You need to understand that this was my first-ever playoffs loss. I was 28-0 in my career in the Israeli playoffs. Man, that was a tough loss."
What was your greatest victory while coaching Maccabi?
"There's a very specific game that people don't really talk about. It was during my first coaching season at Maccabi. We had a really tough season but we came one game away from qualifying got the Euroleague Final Four. Our last game, which we had to win by five-or-more point to advance was in Spain against Vitoria, then Tau Ceramica. The Vitoria team we lost to twice this season is nothing compared to Tau's 2002 squad. That was their All-Time Dream Team. They had Jose Calderon, Andres Nocioni, Luis Scola, Fabricio Oberto, and Elmer Bennett. We got to Vitoria and blew them out by 29 points, 94-65. It was the most unforgettable game I ever coached. I'll never forget it."
Which player was most difficult to see leave Maccabi?
"I'm sorry we couldn't have kept Richard Hendrix. Keith Langford was outstanding, Jeremy Pargo was great, but what hurt me most, what caused me the most pain as a coach was the injury for Doron Perkins and that fact that we couldn't keep him. Doron was our Most Valuable Player. Not Sofo Schortsanitis, not Hednrix, nor were Chuck Edison or Pargo -- Perkins was one of the most fearless, greatest warriors and biggest winners I ever coached. What happened to him was a tragedy. If he hadn't gotten injured we would've won the 2011 Euroleague championship. I guarantee it. He was our defensive matchup for Dimitris Diamantidis. Perkins was a killer and I'm still hurting over his injury."
What are your thoughts on rumors linking you to the NBA?
"Because I have one of greatest position in the world, I don't eat sleep or breath the NBA. This could change in the near future, but the NBA is very much an issue of timing and connections. There are many good coaches in the United States so nobody is waiting at my front door asking me to become a coach or an assistant in the NBA. On the other hand, I'm not really chasing it either, but that could change in about a month."
Where do you see yourself coaching first: in the NBA or the Israeli national-team?
"In the NBA."
Which players do you regret not coaching?
"That's a good question. Arvydas Sabonis, Trajan Langdon, Luis Scola and Tyus Edney."
Who throughout history would you choose to dine with?
"Mahatma Gandhi. I'd like to know how he brought so many people with hate and disrespect together. From the basketball world? I would kill to sit at Red Auerbach's Chinese restaurant in Washington. He would sit with a close circle of people and I'd love to be part of that parliament."
ANGT Belgrade: Crvena Zvezda top Mega Leks to celebrate title - 20 hours ago
follow us on
Crvena Zvezda U18 - Mega Leks U18 74:61 Crvena Zvezda earned the Adidas Next Generation Tournament Belgrade stage title. They overcame their Serbian rivals Mega Leks in the Final. Vuk Djordjevic (201-F-99) scored 21 points to pace the winners. Crvena Zvezda grabbed a 28:8 lead after the opening quarter. They kept Mega Leks at bay throughout the second frame. Crvena Zvezda ensured a 45:25 halftime lead. Mega Leks narrowed the deficit in the third term. They pulled within 12 points at the... [read more]
Crvena Zvezda U18 - Mega Leks U18 74:61
Crvena Zvezda earned the Adidas Next Generation Tournament Belgrade stage title. They overcame their Serbian rivals Mega Leks in the Final. Vuk Djordjevic (201-F-99) scored 21 points to pace the winners. Crvena Zvezda grabbed a 28:8 lead after the opening quarter. They kept Mega Leks at bay throughout the second frame. Crvena Zvezda ensured a 45:25 halftime lead. Mega Leks narrowed the deficit in the third term. They pulled within 12 points at the final intermission. But Crvena Zvezda held their opponents to just 15 points in the fourth stanza and rallied to the win. Aleksa Uskokovic (191-G-99, agency: Octagon Europe) produced 20 points, while Zoran Paunovic (190-G-00) added 15 points in the victory. Goga Bitadze (210-C/F-99) replied with 21 points and 18 boards for Mega Leks. Nikola Miskovic (204-G/F-99) and Igor Drobnjak (189-G-00) tossed in 11 points each in the loss.
Source: www.doubledouble.rs/en/ Crvena Zvezda reached 7th consecutive title at Belgrade ANGT 2017 with easy win vs. Mega Bemax 74-61. Red shirted guys got their job done in 1st quarter with 28-8 scoring run. Basketball presented at Belgrade ANGT 2017 was not at some impressive level, despite my expectations before the tournament. Many teams here have shown only bit above average qualities, while Mega Bemax and Crvena Zvezda were far ahead of all the opponents. Top names breakdown Al... [read more]
Crvena Zvezda reached 7th consecutive title at Belgrade ANGT 2017 with easy win vs. Mega Bemax 74-61. Red shirted guys got their job done in 1st quarter with 28-8 scoring run.
Basketball presented at Belgrade ANGT 2017 was not at some impressive level, despite my expectations before the tournament. Many teams here have shown only bit above average qualities, while Mega Bemax and Crvena Zvezda were far ahead of all the opponents.
Top names breakdown
Aleksa Uskokovic (guard, 1999.) is prolific leader of this Crvena Zvezda generation. He is already way better than Belgrade ANGT level, but his road to successful senior player is quite a long one. Uskokovic contributes in every phase of the game (AVG: 16.8 points, 5.3 assists), but his game has not improved much in ball control, passing, anticipation of defense, as well as shot selection. Aleksa used this tournament in great manner, especially after some weaker shows in NT jersey. Crvena Zvezda will mostly look at his abilities at final tournament in Istanbul.
Another prospect from Crvena Zvezda who has shined at this tournament is Zoran Paunovic (born 2000.). He is very successful in 2pt shooting, very strong around the rim and he has great body for future 2/3 position. Paunovic is active on the rebound as well, but he needs to work hard at outside shooting stroke, aggressiveness in game-play and better penetration. Zoran ended the tournament with following averages 11.5 points and 6 rebounds.
Vuk Djordjevic (1999.) has impressed at this tournament as well. He used his minutes in right manner contributing with 14.3 pts and 4.5 rebounds. His body has changed a lot in comparison with some earlier tournaments and he has improved his chances of becoming respectful player in senior competition. Vuk was deadly at outside shooting (45%), while his conversion for 2 was more than solid one (50%).
Honorable mentions from Crvena Zvezda squad are Arijan Lakic (2000.) and Stefan Momirov (1999.)
Mega Bemax young studs at this tournament were Goga Bitadze and Nikola Miskovic, while honorable mentions should be given to Jovicic, Islamovic and Drobnjak.
Goga Bitadze (211 cm, 1999.) has shown a lot of abilities at this tournament, while he was completely dominant. His averages of 16.5 ppg and 12 rpg, with more than solid 54.5% for 2 speaks alone about his role at this ANGT. Despite the positives, Bitadze has shown some serious cons like running, movement and lacks of concentration in some situations. Goga already plays at senior level in Serbian first league, which is a fact to be taken in account as well. Bitadze has elite size, very soft touch and if he continues to develop this fast as for now, he would shine at better level soon.
Nikola Miskovic (1999.) has shown great versatility and fluidity. His movement was more than solid, shooting touch around the rim as well, while his outside shooting needs big improvements. Miskovic is definitely capable to shoot behind the arc, but he has not shown any range at this tournament. His size (207 cm) is great for small forward in the future, but I am pretty sure that Miskovic would be fluid type of player capable of playing at 3 and 4 without a problem.
Stella Azzura Roma was not brilliant at this tournament, but some of the names there emerged as serious potentials. Serbian guys Lazar Nikolic and Djordje Pazin were noticed as big potentials, while Stella got dunk contest winner in Paul Eboua.
Lazar Nikolic (1999.) has averaged 11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 6.5 apg, while his problems were in outside shooting (12% for 3) and big number of turnovers (5.3 per game). Personally, I expected better tournament from Nikolic, but he has established himself as clear leader of this Stella team. Nikolic can be compared with Uskokovic, about the situation of their potential role in senior basketball. Both of them have long road of adjustments ahead of them, but both of them have a lot to offer in the future.
Djordje Pazin (2001.) had solid tournament, but I am sure that he was capable of even better. No matter he is younger than others, he has vast range of qualities to offer. In my opinion, of all 2001. born guys at this tournament Pazin, Biberovic and Karapandzic were far the best. Pazin has true basketball moves, he is very polished, but he needs to work hard on aggressiveness, anticipation and passing. Next tournaments will show all the great moves which Pazin holds in the trunk.
Amit Ebo (180 cm, 1999.) was named in top 5 of the tournament. He led his Maccabi during this tournament, but the Israelis were not ready to compete at highest level. Ebo is physically limited PG, but with great scoring instincts and capability to find open spots for his teammates and himself. In front of Ebo is serious work for right hand development, as well as some adjustments towards his role in senior basketball as way non athletic and short. Ebo has ended the tournament with 22.8 ppg, 4.3 apg and 4 turnovers per game.
Honorable mention from Maccabi goes to Tomer Porat (201 cm, 1999.) who had great tournament with 15.5 ppg and 7.8 rpg.
Mateo Seric (203 cm, 1999.) has led Ludwigsburg to 3rd place at Belgrade ANGT. Germans presented us great team play with Seric as leader with 17.3 ppg and 7 rpg. Mateo is showing constant development and he is player to watch at some others competitions. If he continues to groom his all round game and improve passing ability he can be solid option for German teams in the future.
From Prague team at this ANGT two names emerged as some potentials. Marek Welsch (180 cm, 1999.) with similar problems as his colleague at PG Amit Ebo and second is Maros Zeliznak (208 cm, 1999.) who can be next solid center from Czech republic. His main problem are stiff hands and if he resolves that he can be interesting prospect to watch in the future.
To end the story with Partizan guys Mateja Jovanovic, Tadija Tadic and Stevan Karapandzic, as well as Spars leader Tarik Biberovic.
Mateja Jovanovic (2000.) has shown some upgrades in comparison to last year, but his problems remained in shot selection, percentages and conversion around the rim. He uses board with great sensitiveness, he is capable of drawing big number of fouls and he finishes easily from FT line.
Tadija Tadic (1999.) looked stacked at solid level for more than a year, but his problems remained the same as before. His AST/TO ratio is not the perfect one, while Tadija remained between SG and PG position. At this tournament Tadic averaged 13.5 points per game, contributing in rebounds (5 per game) and assists (6.3). Tadija is capable of 1 on 1 play, has great dribbling skills, but his anticipation of opponent moves is not at highest level. Tadic will have long road to becoming senior player with significant role.
Finally, Stevan Karapandzic (184 cm, 2001.) presented some great abilities at game vs. Ludwigsburg. Stevan shoots well, moves perfectly in offense, while he is capable of great 1 on 1 defense. He should work hard on his passing and positional defense, both were 'black holes' for him at this tournament.
At last, Tarik Biberovic (2001.) bought all the scouts in Belgrade with his games for Spars Sarajevo. Tarik averaged 17.8 ppg and 6.3 rpg, while he was true joy to watch in some cases. His shooting touch has improved since the last year and his running remained at very high level. Tarik is capable to play top defense with his 201 cm body, and he would be top prospect to watch in the future
Euroleague round 23 best performance: Nando De Colo - 2 days ago
follow us on
French Shooting guard Nando De Colo (196-SG-87) put on an extraordinary performance in the last round for second-ranked CSKA, receiving a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 23. The 29-year old player was the main contributor (29 points and three assists) to his team's victory, helping them to beat Maccabi T-A (#13, 8-15) 93-81. CSKA maintains the 2nd position in Euroleague. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games earlier this season. CSKA will need... [read more]
French Shooting guard Nando De Colo (196-SG-87) put on an extraordinary performance in the last round for second-ranked CSKA, receiving a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 23. The 29-year old player was the main contributor (29 points and three assists) to his team's victory, helping them to beat Maccabi T-A (#13, 8-15) 93-81. CSKA maintains the 2nd position in Euroleague. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games earlier this season. CSKA will need more victories to improve their 17-6 record. In the team's last game De Colo had a remarkable 70.0% from 2-point range. He has many years of experience at CSKA, through which he has constantly improved. Nando De Colo averages this season 20.1ppg.
The second best player in last round's games was 30-year old American Bryant Dunston (203-C-86) of Anadolu Efes. Dunston had a very good evening with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Of course Anadolu Efes cruised to a 96-85 relatively comfortable win over Baskonia (12-11). This victory allowed Anadolu Efes to move up to 7th position in the standings. His team lost some distance to top teams. But 12-11 record is not bad and everything may still change. Dunston is well-known at Anadolu Efes and is a proven leader in his second season with the team.
Third on the list of top players last round was guard Lukas Lekavicius (180-PG-94) of Zalgiris (#10). Lekavicius scored 29 points. He was a key player of Zalgiris, leading his team to a 91-86 win against slightly lower-ranked Brose Bask. (#12, 8-15). The chances of Zalgiris ranking at the top of the league, however are very questionable as they have already lost 13 games, recording just ten victories. With bigger assistance of his teammates, Lekavicius could help Zalgiris to bring them higher in the standings. Lekavicius has a very solid season. In 23 games in Euroleague he scored 8.9ppg. He also has 3.4apg and FGP: 52.8%.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Keith Langford (193-SG-83) of Unics - 21 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists 5. Paulius Jankunas (205-PF-84) of Zalgiris - 24 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists 6. Bogdan Bogdanovic (198-G/F-92) of Fenerbahce - 27 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists 7. Sergio Llull (190-SG-87) of Real Madrid - 26 points, 2 rebounds and 8 assists 8. Adam Hanga (199-SF-89) of Baskonia - 20 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists 9. Thomas Heurtel (189-G-89) of Anadolu Efes - 21 points, 2 rebounds and 11 assists 10. Ante Tomic (217-C-87) of FC Barcelona - 19 points and 9 rebounds
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Eurobasket Inc. Disclaimer
Do not copy, redistribute, publish or otherwise exploit information that you download from the site !
Do not encumber, license, modify, publish, sell, transfer or transmit, or in any way exploit, any of the
content of the site, nor will you attempt to do so.