|27 January 2013|
|Henrik Dettmann has led Finland to a second consecutive EuroBasket Final Round |
For a number of the coaches in EuroBasket Group D, it is a matter of sitting and waiting to see which star players they have at their disposal before they can begin plotting their campaigns. With a number of frontline players potentially missing for more than one team in this group, it may come down to seeing which architect can work best with the tools available in his shed.
Following his exploits with an un-fancied Finnish team in Lithuania two years ago, the term master practitioner could aptly be used to describe 54-year-old national team coach Henkrik Dettman. There is no doubt in the eyes of many that the Finns overachieved in 2011 by navigating the extra qualifying round before making it to the Last 16. The true test for Dettman now, is proving that 2011 was more than just a flash in the pan.
Following a successful career coaching club teams in his native Italy for over a decade, Andrea Trinchieri is now stepping into the international arena at the head of the Greek national team. Making the semi-finals at the three EuroBaskets prior to Lithuania, Trinchieri will be expected to see the proud basketball nation back to the top four teams in Europe come this summer in Slovenia.
Group D has a Greek coach - just not at the head of the Greek team. The first challenge facing Fotis Katsikaris as the new coach of the Russian team is to convince his star players to make the trip to Slovenia this summer, with some suggesting they will detour the beaches of Koper. Katsikaris has previous experience working with Russian players, having spent a season-and-a-half coaching the now defunct Dynamo St. Petersburg in the Russian Superliga.
Italy's picking has been slim of late at international basketball tournaments with 2003 marking the last time that the Azzurri medalled in the EuroBasket. But under the tutelage of Simone Pianigiani, Italy had a strong qualifying campaign, suggesting they may have turned a corner and they may once more be a team on the up.
American on passport maybe, but everything else about Bradley Dean suggests he is Swedish. Dean first established himself there, using Sweden as his entry point in Europe as a player, before also launching his coaching career from the Scandinavian country. The 60-year-old has been in charge of the Swedes since 2010, successfully steering them back to EuroBasket for their first appearance since 2003.
Returning from illness, Bogdan Tanjevic will be back on the side-lines for the Turkish national team for the first time since 2010, at which time he had enjoyed a six-year tenure and the head of the red and whites. Tanjevic did not have the most enjoyable qualification campaign with the Turks who stumbled most of the way, with a number of top players set to return, he will be hoping for more convincing performances in Slovenia.