“The Catalan team could compete at the highest level”

“The Catalan team could compete at the highest level”

2023-09-02 13:20:42

BarcelonaOne of the big names in this basketball World Cup is that of Jordi Fernández, who is starring in a major tournament. The coach from Badalón is the selector of a Canadian combined with the desire to make it big this Sunday when the classification is played against Spain.

The Canadian national team is on everyone’s lips.

— I found myself with a lot of excitement and expectations. It is a combination that aspires to everything, but our job will be to build a team that competes, that has clear roles and that agrees to do what is necessary to win. Canada can aim for medals. If we can create a team culture and structure ourselves well, we can compete very well. There are little-known teams that compete very well. You have to play with the intensity that each match deserves. We don’t have the same experience and tradition as other teams, but it’s something we want to establish. The players are very committed and know their potential, but playing as a team and getting medals is not automatic.

You were assistant coach of the Spanish national team.

— Sergio Scariolo’s teams always find a way to compete and not always in the same way. The Italian is one of the best national team coaches in history and therefore deserves all the respect. I have a professional and personal relationship with him and I have no doubt that, with this mix of veterans and youngsters, they will do very well.

Would the Catalan national team take place in a World Cup like this?

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— The Catalan team could compete at the highest level. It is enough to think about the players of the last 20 years. A team would have the level to regularly be in Eurobasketball, the Olympic Games or the World Cup. We all know it’s difficult, but if we put politics aside and talk exclusively about basketball, we have to be very happy with where we are, not only because of the level of the players but also because of the coaches.

There are more and more Catalan coaches competing in the elite.

— The Catalan coaches have a great level, they value us a lot. There are many competing at the highest level. We can be happy with how we are recognized internationally.

Are you still connected with basketball in our house?

— I follow the ACB as much as I can and even the competitions below it. I have a lot of people there that I know and I like to keep up to date. I try to watch La Penya matches and, if not, listen to the broadcasts on the radio. I’m excited to stay connected and it’s entertaining. It distracts me, helps me professionally and keeps me open-minded. With the excuse of going to see Sasha Vezenkov, last season I was able to go to the final four of the Euroleague. The Sacramento Kings ask me about players from Europe who can compete in the NBA and then there are also European clubs who ask my opinion about NBA players I have coached. Whenever I can help someone, I do.

What advantage does knowing FIBA ​​basketball give you?

— I am privileged, because I have been able to live and learn from both worlds. NBA basketball and FIBA ​​basketball have different styles. The key is connecting with the players, and I think I can do that well with NBA players because I’ve worked there for 15 years and at the same time I understand the international style well.

Last season you made history by debuting as a head coach in an NBA game.

— It was a circumstantial thing. The first game was due to a Mike Brown ejection. We end with victory, which is something that is always exciting. It was a very special moment. Then the coach missed a couple of games and I was able to prepare for them in a different way. It was an important moment in my career, something I will never forget, but a circumstantial one.

This summer you had meetings again to be the first coach.

— The interviews went very well and I felt comfortable. These are difficult and long processes to explain, with many stages and many interlocutors, but I ended up quite satisfied. I feel like I’m very close to it, but it’s not something I obsess over. Being the Canada coach is another incentive that will drive my future career forward, but the big goal is for the group to succeed.

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