|Russia head coach Evgeny Kisurin calling a play from the sidelines|
Russia head coach Evgeny Kisurin regards his team's Friday quarter-final clash with Turkey at the Sportland U20 European Championship as a balanced encounter in which the two opponents have equal chances of winning.
What are the strong points of the Turkish team?
They are good inside and they play an efficient zone defence. We played a preparation game in Turkey and we lost badly, but at that time we didn't have a couple of players. We are now better prepared and a better team since we started the tournament.
Russia gave the impression of improving day by day in this championship, with the exception of the last game in the Second Round, against Italy.
Well, we couldn't really play any worse than we did in the first game (a 76-54 loss to Spain). In the second game we just came together and then from our first win (in the third encounter, against Israel) onwards we played better and better. Against Italy though I think we just overrated ourselves and when things did not go our way, we kind of lost our vision. We have to regroup now, we did it in practice and I think the chances of qualifying [to the semi-finals] are 50-50.
Which player of Turkey would you like to have on your team?
The center [Ramazan Tekin], I like him very much.
Speaking of centers, what do you think of the young big men in this tournament as a former power forward yourself?
They're pretty talented, I haven't seen all teams unfortunately but from what I've seen I can tell there are many players that have versatility, there is good quality European basketball. We don't have [Dario] Saric like last year, who is obviously an NBA-caliber player, but we have a lot of good and solid [big men].
Do you think though you and your assistant Mikhail Mikhaylov (team-mate of Kisurin on the Russian national team in the 1990's) are better than these forwards/centers of nowadays?
Oh, we always do, but it's only in our mind, you can never know in reality [he laughs].
You graduated from the FECC program in 2011, has it played a role in your coaching career?
It has helped me a lot, we had great teachers and even if they did not teach at all we would still learn so many things just by speaking to them. They did a great job, they explored the fundamentals and how to approach the job of a coach, all the mechanics, it was enormously helpful and I am proud to have done it.