With the FIBA Europe League at the quarter-final stage, the race is on not only to qualify for the Final Four, but to host the event.
All eight remaining clubs have the right to bid for the Final Four, but first to make an official application was Ukrainian side BC Kyiv. Club President Alexander Volkov went online with his campaign, giving an interview with his club’s web site to explain their reasons for wanting to host the final four.
|Volkov won more than his fair share of medals with the Soviet Union|
“The fact that we successfully hosted last year’s All-Star Day will be to our advantage, however, Russia has good chances as well, since the Final Four in Kazan was at a high level.”
While the organization of the Final Four remains a goal, Volkov is clear that the main priority is still on the court
“Currently, however, our number one task is to assure a positive result against the Israeli side on the basketball court,” he said.
When it comes to Kyiv’s sporting performance, the club has seen a marked improvement from last season, when they failed to qualify for the FIBA Europe League play-offs.
“Currently we are satisfied,” said Volkov of his club’s achievements in Europe.
“Of course, there are still things that need to be worked on and we are constantly looking for ways to improve. However, the overall impression is positive. Our team has advanced past many higher-ranked teams in the FIBA Europe League and is right behind Azovmash in the Superleague.”
Volkov himself is used to success on the highest level. An Olympic gold medallist with the Soviet Union in 1988, Volkov was also European champion in 1985. In 1989, he was voted the USSR player of the year.
His experience as a player means his input into the team is more than that of most owners. He recently criticized several of his players in the Ukrainian media, and it seems that his comments had a positive effect.
“Ioannis Giannoulis completely changed his attitude towards the coach and the training process (since the comments),” said Volkov
“He’s turned into one of the hardest working players and now has a positive effect on his teammates. We never had any doubts in Ioannis’ talent or abilities and are pleased that he’s starting to regain the trust he was starting to lose.
As well as Giannoulis, Kyiv will look to other foreign stars Marcelo Nicola, Kresimir Loncar and Lamarr Greer, all of whom have been vital to Kyiv’s qualification to the last eight of the FIBA Europe League.
Game 1 of the 3-game series is on Thursday 16th March in Nahariya.