|10 October 2013|
|Alexander Vasin has been thrown into the hot seat as new head coach of Sparta&K with a number of key players from last season missing|
It looks like being an interesting season in Vidnoje for new Sparta&K head coach Alexander Vasin and his young team.
Sparta&K are preparing to tip-off their domestic campaign at EuroCup participants Dynamo-GUVD this weekend, as the curtain raises on another hugely competitive Russian Premier League.
And, with the EuroLeague Women season now less than four weeks away, the play-caller is satisfied with overall progress during pre-season, but accepts that many of his younger players will need time to adjust to the elite level.
He explained, "This week we are preparing for the opening match in the Russian Premier League against Novosibirsk.
"More friendlies are not scheduled and so we will be satisfied with the work in practice.
"I think the transition from youth to adult basketball will be quite a difficult period.
"One can't say that all our young players are equally well adapted and we will conduct an analysis of any errors in order not to allow them to repeat them.
"If a player is positive - then we are encouraged and players will receive exactly the minutes they deserve in a game.
"If their performances comply with the requirements of the Russian Premier League and EuroLeague Women, then of course I'll let them play as much as they are physically able to" added Vasin.
Sparta&K wrapped up their pre-season programme last weekend with three games in Turkey which harvested mixed results. A 59-52 success against Besiktas was accompanied by a 67-58 defeat to Istanbul Universitesi and a narrow 62-59 loss to Galatasaray Odeabank.
Serbian forward Sonja Petrovic showed some great form during the tournament as the standout player for Sparta&K and despite two losses, Vasin believes the experience was of significant benefit to his side.
"For us, meeting with strong contenders and to play three games at a high level is a good experience.
"There was sufficiently high intensity and a very large amount of physical contact.
"In addition to playing in practices, we have unrivalled experience of participation in these games in which there is pressure.
"For our young players participating in the tournament, [it] was a big plus."
He continued, "Despite the defeats in Turkey, we showed good basketball in the game with Galatasaray and in the game against Istanbul Universitesi.
"In the match against Besiktas, we were clearly stronger, so more playing time was given to the younger players."
Half of the Sparta&K team this season will be comprised of nineties' born players, some of whom have limited pro-experience, although the likes of Iulia Galdkova, have at least shone at youth level in a national team vest.
Nika Baric and Ksenia Tikhonenko have EuroLeague Women minutes under their respective belts and the signature of veteran Asjha Jones has increased the experience of the more senior core.
Four-time champions Sparta&K tip-off their EuroLeague Women campaign on 06 November with a Group C clash against ZVVZ USK Prague.