Baskonia sharpshooter, Matt Janning, talked to TalkBasket.net and referred to the team’s head coach, Pedro Martinez, and more.
Here is what the 30-year-old forward said:
On whether the team can be equally successful on both the ACB and the EuroLeague: “Yes I think we’ve proven and also other Spanish teams have proven it is possible to succeed in both competitions.
EuroLeague is the highest level in Europe and the ACB is the top domestic league. It makes for difficult games more than twice a week for the entire season as there are no easy games but I think that also will benefit is toward the playoffs.”
On the newcomers and the team in general: “The new guys have fit in very well so far. We are still getting to know them and learn how to play together but Shavon and Darrun have been great guys on the court and in the locker room so far. We need to keep building and I think both will be keys for our success this season.”
On his expectations and goals ahead of the new season: “Our goals are to finish in the top 4 in both competitions. This would give us home advantage in playoff series which everyone knows how important it is to reach the EuroLeague Final Four.
Having the Final Four here in Vitoria makes it interesting and it’s definitely our goal as a team. And for ACB, having that same advantage allows for deeper playoff run. Our goal is for sure to finish the job we started last season and win the Spanish league.”
On head coach Pedro Martinez and his playing style: “Pedro came to us last season and immediately changed our season. We finished with a lot of success. I like his coaching style a lot because he puts guys in situations and positions to be successful. He doesn’t ask players to do things out of their character.
Of a lot of the coaches I’ve played for I’d say he is one of the best in-game coaches I’ve played for. His style fits my game very well as he likes guys who first play hard and players who can get out and run transition and shoot at a high level.”
On Baskonia hosting the 2019 Final Four and if this adds more pressure to the team: “I don’t think it adds any pressure. The only ones who add pressure to anything are people on the outside. In our team it’s a goal of ours.
All of us know each person is going to work as hard as possible to achieve that goal. I do think we are capable of making the final four. We need to manage a long season but I think we have the depth and the talent.”
On whether Baskonia can overcome Real Madrid and Barcelona: “I definitely think so. I think we’ve proven we are able to compete with both of those teams and every team in Europe.”
On the FIBA WC Qualifiers and the conflict between the FIBA and the EuroLeague: “I think FIBA and the Euroleague need to figure it out finally. It’s a mess and it really hurts players and fans. Players want to play for their countries and in some situations cannot. Therefore fans aren’t able to see their countries stars, or favorite players. This isn’t good for growth of European basketball.
Nothing will change in the near future as FIBA has set windows already but they need to work for the future. Kids in Georgia for example want to see a guy like Toko Shengelia play for their country, if they don’t get to see him maybe they lose interest in basketball. The game is better when the best players are available to play.”