VTB United League
Head coach of the champion of VTB United League, the Russian club «Khimki» Rimas Kurtinaitis gave the interview to our web-site. The Lithuanian player well-known in the past and now the successful coach talked about the secrets of this triumph of the team, recalled the methods of the legendary Alexander Gomelsky, praised the victory of Kazan «Final four» tournament and game of the MVP Vitaliy Fridzon, and named two of the most stable team in the world basketball.
— Rimas, congratulations with the triumph of «Khimki» in the VTB United League! How do you evaluate the success now, after a few days after the «Final four» in Kazan? How much natural and expected this victory was for you personally?
— We really deserved this victory. I liked how the team prepared for this «Final four». Our players have a accurate plan, and they carry it out. If something does not work, it's not their problem — it's my problem! And I am glad that they understood it. Full responsibility, both in the army, I take over.
The same style we had in the USSR national team, when Alexander Gomelsky gave everyone individual plans for the year. For example, you should on the average an average per game to score eight points, five rebounds and three assists. . If you worked honesty — you are in command. No, you are wait next season. In «Khimki», I'm trying to do the same thing — we have a very good roster and now the players understand me perfectly. How I do it? This is monotonous and tedious work. And the players are pleasant this work
— In present, and during the previous seasons «Khimki» had a lot of great players, but to make a champion team will not succeed. While Kurtinaitis has not come …
— You know, every player needs an individual approach. The same psychology was in «Lietuvos Rytas» and in the other clubs, and this system works. I always tell players: «Where do you go, I have already returned».
Before the game with UNICS I did not cease to repeat — it will be difficult for all of 40 minutes. Even if you lose «-5», «-10», you do not be afraid to play until the end. Yes, we are well prepared physically, we have a specific setting for the game and speed, but the most important thing — we had belief in own forces. It will be enough already to be the second, it's time to become the first!
— Do you agree that a good player can not become a good coach ...
— It is difficult to answer this question. I was lucky, I played basketball till 40 years (15 clubs), I I studied with such leading coaches as Gomelsky, Garastas, Obradovic…A man, just finished, for example, the Lithuanian coaching Academy. And I think that it is difficult without the experience of the player to begin the coaching career. But there are also exceptions. For example, a person because of some of their physical features are not able to properly express themselves in sports, but he's a great tactician who is knowledgeable in all the intricacies of the game. And then he grows in a very good coach.
— The victory in the VTB United League was the second big success in your coaching career — after the victory in the European Cup with «Lietuvos Rytas» — 2008/09. Which of these victories are the most valuable to you?
The victory in the European Cup more is more official — it is also the second biggest tournament in Europe. But success in the VTB United League is more important to me. In this «Final four», we at first have beaten the champions of the European Cup UNICS, and then in the finals we defeated CSKA. These two wins over such rivals are very important for us!
— Vitaliy Fridzon has received the title of the MVP of «Final four». Do you agree with this title?
— Fridzon played, as god. He played great in defense and offense. His game has changed. Vitaliy began to feel more confident on the court, he asks many questions during the training and he is constantly learning. All played smoothly and helpful in Kazan. Vadim Panin, played a few minutes, but he played very useful. He didn’t scored any points. But, believe me, points concern me as a coach in the last turn.
— What about the forward of Lithuania «Zalgiris» Paulius Jankunas...
— At this moment «Khimki» doesn’t not need in Jankunas. It's not my style to take the mega-stars, and then put their success on the court for my own. I love to work with teams where the coach can best express themselves. «Khimki» have a good roster. We are able to keep the game balance. Before the «Final four» in Kazan, I told the players: «If we lose — it will be bad to all, but if we win, then glory will enough to all». As a result it ended for us very well.
— In Lithuania, certainly watched the final games of the VTB United League and personal Kurtinaitis ...
— Certainly. All the matches were broadcast live on two television channels. In the final there were two Lithuanian coach, and forward CSKA Ramunas Siskauskas. I can say that the «Final four» has caused great excitement among the Lithuanian fans, and certainly in other countries who have the right to show the League matches.
— What do you expect from next season of VTB United League? It would be difficult to defend the title?
— To win the title was very difficult, and to defend it even more difficult. It is very important to find the stability. CSKA for eight years entered into the four of the strongest teams of Europe. Therefore, CSKA — is a great club. Stability — it's skill and level. Do you know who from the national team now for over twenty years, advocates have always consistently and one of the four world's best teams? I'll tell you — this is the United States of America and Lithuania. Khimki it is necessary to get used to stability, arguing that we are ripe to be the first!