Blatt Still Waiting For Presidential Call

18.09.2007

In David Blatt's country of birth a call from the President is traditional after a big win with either club or country, but the American-born Blatt is still waiting for a call from Russia's president after his team's stunning win over Spain Sunday night.

Blatt's Russia team claimed the European crown by edging out the world champions 60-59 when NBA All-Star Pau Gasol missed a chance to snatch victory at the death.

Seconds earlier, JR Holden had put his team ahead with a jump shot, but it was Andrei

Andrei Kirilenko (Russia)
Andrei Kirilenko was named MVP on EuroBasket 2007.
Kirilenko and Victor Kryapa who had starred for Blatt's team.

Kirilenko finished with 17 points, five rebounds two assists, one blocked shot and a steal on his way to Most Valuable Player honours for the tournament while Kryapa had 12 rebounds to go with his seven points, four assists, three steals and one blocked shot.

For Blatt, winning EuroBasket highlights a resume which includes a FIBA Europe League title with Dynamo St Petersburg and a host of honours in Italy with Benetton Treviso, including the 2005-06 Lega A title.

"(The EuroBasket) is right at the top because I represent a nation, and because no-one - and I mean no-one - thought we could do it," he said.

"If you find somebody that did, I would buy them dinner."

And did Vladimir Putin call Blatt immediately after the game?

"No, I don't know if he has my number," Blatt said. "I think he has better things to think about.. in any case I think I have had a better week than him."

Still basking in the glow of the win Blatt admitted that he has thought about a return to the United States and the league he grew up watching.

The Boston-born Israeli is now set to take charge of Turkish club Efes Pilsen, but admits his ambition is to return to the land of his birth.

"I cannot hide it, I would like to (coach in the NBA)," Blatt told Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy.

"I still remember when I was eight years old and I listened on the radio to the Boston Celtics games with the legendary voice of Johnny Most. If I don't achieve it, I will still remain a huge fan of the NBA."


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