BC Donetsk head coach Sasa Obradovic-quarterfinalist of EuroCup '12
Sasa, your team managed to qualify to the Eurocup quarterfinals and you did it from the first place in group J where Khimki Moscow Region was supposed to be the main favorite. For BC Donetsk being one of the best eight teams in Eurocup is really historical success because it is our debut in this competition. Im very satisfied with the way we performed in LAST-16 stage. The key factor was our victory in away match against Asvel in the first game day of the group. The team found its confidence and realized that we are capable to go further. I would say that game in Villeurbanne, as well as home match against Khimki, were our best games in this season so far.
Before the last game against Aris your team had one week break with Superleague All-Star Game in this period. Werent you afraid that this break could affect team game tonus? In order to keep practices rhythm we made the decision to go to Kyiv, where All-Star was held, by whole team. We had several practices in BC Kyiv gym and then went to Thessaloniki one day earlier than usually on Sunday, to have a possibility to practice two times next day. And finally the game showed that it was a good plan.
In most of the games Donetsk dominates under the basket. In LAST-16 stage one of the best players in the paint was Darnell Jackson though mass-medias multiply predicted his leaving of the team. That were just rumors and absolutely unfounded. In the moment when some names appeared in internet as our possible freshmen period of registration of new players for Eurocup was already over that is why any changes in team roster were impossible.
In last two months Jackson noticeably improved his game. I knew that Darnell needs certain credit to find his rhythm. In NBA he mostly played as power forward but in Europe his physical ability allows him to play more under the basket and fight in defense against classical centers. Also you need to count one more thing: in NBA Darnell was a rotation player but here he must take a role of the key player. It doesnt mean that he must be a team leader but he definitely should be the one you can rely on.
Frankly speaking I can be satisfied with the way our front line looks now. We have three absolutely different big guys (Radenovic, Jackson and Kravtsov) that helps me to vary half-court offence. And of course that helps to avoid foul-trouble for one of the centers.
To continue with the names: what can you say about Vojdan Stojanovski? Vojdan improves his game with every new day. Especially I can be satisfied with his desire to work hard in defense. In Thessaloniki it was his aggressiveness and steals that gave additional energy to the whole team. I really like the way he reads the game. He can make a good pass in the paint and be dangerous in pick-n-roll game.
But you must admit that so far Vojdan didnt show his best as a shooter. And also whole team 3-point percentage leaves much to be desired... I believe that we will solve this problem. Most important that our offensive systems give opportunity to make open shots. Confidence and stability will come and I have no doubt in this.
After Sojanovski appeared in team Oleksandr Lypovyy almost lost his time on the court. Whats his problem? If Lypovyy wants to become a real player he has learn how to prove his place in the roster. There is nothing I can say against his game in defense but offensively he still has to improve.
In last Superleague games I wanted to have good rotation on guard positions that is why all three foreign guards (Avdalovic, Curry and Stojanovski) were in the game roster. But with the schedule we have in March and April I will have to give more time to rest for one of them. That will give Lypovyy possibility to prove himself on the court.
So far Maksym Pustozvonov doesnt meet expectations but you still give him a lot of time in the game. Now Maksym has a bad period but I want to bring him back to his rhythm. I worked with Pustozvonov in BC Kyiv and know that he can play better, thats why I believe in him. For me its important that Max could find good spot for shot and make it, and Im sure that he can do this.
What are the chances for Donetsk in Eurocup quarterfinals against Lietuvos Rytas? Rytas is led by Aleksandar Dzikic very talented and good educated coach who worked in NBA and won Eurochallenge. To compete with him will be very interesting for me. Who is the favorite? I dont like to give any prognoses. We have 6 games before March, 20st and now Im more concerned on the idea how to stand this crazy schedule and come to Eurocup games in the best shape.
PGE Turow Zgorzelec (TBL) tabbed 30-year old Ukrainian ex-international forward Denis Ikovlev (200-98kg-86, college: Nevada). He played most recently at Slask Wroclaw in Polish TBL league. Ikovlev managed to play in four leagues in two countries last year (!!!). In 17 TBL games he averaged 13.9ppg, 3.4rpg and 3.2apg. He also played 4 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he had very impressive stats: 16.5ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.3apg and 1.3spg. The other team Ikovlev played that season for was Steaua CSM... [read more]
PGE Turow Zgorzelec (TBL) tabbed 30-year old Ukrainian ex-international forward Denis Ikovlev (200-98kg-86, college: Nevada). He played most recently at Slask Wroclaw in Polish TBL league. Ikovlev managed to play in four leagues in two countries last year (!!!). In 17 TBL games he averaged 13.9ppg, 3.4rpg and 3.2apg. He also played 4 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he had very impressive stats: 16.5ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.3apg and 1.3spg. The other team Ikovlev played that season for was Steaua CSM EximBank Bucuresti in Liga Nationala in. In 11 games he had 8.6ppg, 3.0rpg and 1.9apg. He also played 9 games in Eurocup where he had 7.6ppg, 2.7rpg and 1.2apg. Among other achievements Ikovlev's team made it to the Polish final in 2015. He received also Eurobasket.com Ukrainian Superleague All-Domestic Players Team award back in 2013. Ikovlev was a member of Ukrainian Senior National Team in 2013. He has played also professionally for other Ukrainian teams like Budivelnyk, BC Odessa, Zaporizhya, Khimik and BC Donetsk. Ikovlev attended University of Nevada until 2007 and it will be his tenth season in pro basketball.
Defending champion Stelmet Zielona Gora (TBL) landed 27-year old Ukrainian international power forward Igor Zaytsev (210-99kg-89). He played most recently at Rosa Radom (TBL). In 40 games he averaged 10.8ppg and 5.1rpg last season. Zaytsev helped them to win the cup and make to league final. He also played 9 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he had 11.6ppg, 4.2rpg and 1.2apg. The previous (2015) summer Zaytsev played at Petrochimi (Superleague) in Iran. In three games he had 8.3ppg, 5.0rpg,... [read more]
Defending champion Stelmet Zielona Gora (TBL) landed 27-year old Ukrainian international power forward Igor Zaytsev (210-99kg-89). He played most recently at Rosa Radom (TBL). In 40 games he averaged 10.8ppg and 5.1rpg last season. Zaytsev helped them to win the cup and make to league final. He also played 9 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he had 11.6ppg, 4.2rpg and 1.2apg. The previous (2015) summer Zaytsev played at Petrochimi (Superleague) in Iran. In three games he had 8.3ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.3apg and 1.0spg in 2015 season. Among other achievements he received Eurobasket.com All-Ukrainian Superleague Most Improved Player of the Year award and Eurobasket.com All-Ukrainian Superleague 2nd Team award back in 2011. Zaytsev has been also a member of Ukrainian international program for some years. He has regularly played for Ukrainian senior team since 2010 and previously for U20 National Team between 2008 and 2009. Zaytsev also represented Ukraine at the European Championships last year. His stats at that event were 5 games: 8.2ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 40.0%. And here thanks to pro basketball Zaytsev experienced life on three different continents. He is familiar with European, Asian and of course North American leagues. Zaytsev has played previously professionally in Azovmash, SC Kryvbas, Khimik and Krivbas DYUSH-5 Kryvyi Rih. He is described as:
A very good outside shooter for his size, he's very effective at both the 5 and 4 positions.
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