|Kosta Jankov stressed the importance of cooperation during the clinic for Europe's National Referee Instructors and Potential Referees and the UNIVERSITAS workshop in Las Palmas|
Coaching great Kosta Jankov would be well within his rights to claim that, when it comes to basketball, he‘s seen it all by now.
The Serbian legend‘s career spans over 33 years, during which he‘s worked in three continents and 11 countries.
Jankov's curriculum includes jobs at the coaching staff of the great Yugoplastika Split of the late 80‘s or other European champion sides like Limoges and Panathinaikos, always at the side of Bozidar Maljkovic, but also a number of years in the NBA, as Head of Scouting at the Golden State Warriors.
To say that the job of a top-level basketball coach is tough, competition is ruthless and employers lack patience is probably a massive understatement.
Jankov is proud to say that he has never been fired from any job he‘s held, a claim most basketball coaches could only dream of making.
Nonetheless, this living legend of coaching freely admits that he still learns new things about the sport and one such enriching experience was the one he had last week on Gran Canaria, Spain, where he attended the first clinic for Europe's National Referee Instructors and Potential Referees.
The Serbian coach visited with fibaeurope.com to share some of his thoughts on what he saw in Las Palmas.
FE.com: Mr Jankov, what does the Gran Canaria clinic look like through the eyes of a coach?
Kosta Jankov: "I was shocked from what I saw! I've been to numerous coaching clinics but this was my first time at a referee clinic and I only wish ours were as good as this.
"The level of the instructors was unbelievable high and the clinic was simply perfect at both theoretical and practical level, treating with issues that arise from everyday experience in basketball. I could not believe how well everything was organised. I was so glad to be there, I think I learned a lot in so few days."
FE.com: The title of your presentation was "Knowledge of the Game". Do you think you achieved the objectives you set out when you were planning it?
Kosta Jankov: "I think the main problem we have between coaches and referees is the huge lack of communication. They both know how to do their job, but there is confusion as to what the boundaries of their job are.
"In this, both parties are to blame equally. It was so great for me to be able to sit together, discuss the failures and try to establish some codes of communication away from the pressing environment of a game, where coaches and referees often fail to understand each other.
"I cannot stress enough how important establishing this effective form of communication is to me, it is the key to improve basketball in Europe."
FE.com "You were introduced to project UNIVERSITAS and you will now be an active part in this effort to create a network of European universities around basketball."
Kosta Jankov: "Honestly, I find it scary! UNIVERSITAS is such an ambitious, huge project, it creates such a wealth of great opportunities that its importance is overwhelming.
"All I can say is that, if this project were to fail, we would regret it and it is up to us, to our imagination and our hard work to make this fantastic idea work as it should.
FE.com: "What will the benefits be if UNIVERSITAS succeeds?"
Kosta Jankov: "The benefit will be the development of European basketball, the way we all dream it should be.
"And here I have to stress that, in my opinion, part of the responsibilities of FIBA Europe is to help nurture talent around the continent but also to protect the coaches and clubs that develop these talented young players.
"I speak with Boza (Maljkovic), with Sergio Scariolo and we agree that it is important to create an incentive for the clubs and coaches to do all the work at ground level, to protect them and allow them to continue to do the same kind of work with the next generation, after the best young players leave and continue their career elsewhere."