Winds Of Change In Russia; Maljkovic To Slovenia

21.12.2010

Basketball In Europe

New Russian Supremo Krasnenkov Wants Blatt In Charge 

Russia Head Coach David Blatt
New Russian Federation President Alexander Krasnenkov wants David Blatt to remain in charge

There were basketball shockwaves in Russia on Monday following the election of Alexander Krasnenkov as the new president of the Russian Basketball Federation.

The 49-year-old Krasnenkov has succeeded Sergei Chernov and immediately expressed his hope that David Blatt would remain in charge of the men's national team.

Blatt had said at the FIBA World Championship that he had grown weary of the "politics in Russian basketball" and likely would not remain in charge.

Now it appears Krasnenkov will pull out all stops to keep the man who steered Russia to EuroBasket gold in 2007.

Blatt, an American-born Israeli, has enhanced his reputation with a terrific 8-1 start at Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague.

"We will negotiate," Krasnenkov said in Sports-Express, when asked signing Blatt to a new deal.

Krasnenkov added that he had already spoken to Blatt, who agreed to a meeting before February 1 to make clear what his role would be with the national side if he stayed in charge.

Blatt was frustrated this summer in Turkey not to have leading players available like EuroBasket 2007 MVP Andrei Kirilenko and JR Holden.

Viktor Khryapa was in the squad but never played a single minute because of injuries.

Krasnenkov, meanwhile, indicated that Russia may bid to host EuroBasket or EuroBasket Women soon.

"In 2015 we can hold the European Championship - either male or female," he said.

"However, before making a decision about filing (an application), you must carefully consider our opportunities, including financial ones.

"In any case, we will strive towards this, and conducting such a large scale event would give impetus to the development of basketball in Russia."

Chernov was named honorary president of the federation.

So Long, Scariolo

There was another big development in Russia on Monday.

Sergio Scariolo, Spain's national team coach who has been at the helm of BC Khimki the past two seasons, has decided to leave the club by mutual consent.

The Moscow Region outfit last week was eliminated from the race to the Top 16 of the Euroleague in a narrow defeat to Blatt's Maccabi.

The Italian coach released a statement on his website and said: "Today we have decided by mutual consent to terminate the professional relationship between myself and the BC Khimki, a relationship that lasted for the past two years.
"We have taken this step because we both consider it to be the best thing for myself and the team, and we have just anticipated it by a few months as I had already taken a decision and announced it some time ago.

Bozidar Maljkovic
Bozidar Maljkovic has won everything at club level but will make his EuroBasket début in 2011

"At this moment the team is in the group that heads the Russian league with two losses and at the same time it is among the first two teams in the VTB Cup's ranking with only one defeat.

"I am convinced that with the improvement of the players that have had injuries so far and with the addition of Travis Hansen the team will compete to win one or both competitions as I always believed we could do.

"Now a little rest with my family during these holidays, and later on we will talk about new projects."

Maljkovic's New Gig  

Another coaching veteran that has led two of Scariolo's former clubs, Real Madrid and Caja Laboral, Bozidar Maljkovic, will also be at the EuroBasket.

Maljkovic has become the third coach in as many years of Slovenia.

The 58-year-old replaces Memi Becirovic, who guided the club into the Quarter-Finals of the FIBA World Championship this summer.

In 2009, Jure Zdovc had been hugely impressive in leading Slovenia to a best-ever finish at the EuroBasket when they reached the Semi-Finals.

Maljkovic will be introduced to the media on Tuesday.

According to the Slovenian Basketball Federation, the Serbian is signing a three-year deal that has "the possibility of early termination".

If he remains for the entirety of the deal, he will coach Slovenia when they host EuroBasket 2013.


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