Spain's Orenga Counts On All Players

17 December 2012

EUROBASKET 2013

José Calderón (Spain)
José Calderón is one of the players that Juan Antonio Orenga is counting on forEuroBasket 2013

New Spain head coach Juan Antonio Orenga appeared hopeful of counting on all big names for EuroBasket 2013 during his presentation to the media by the country's basketball federation, FEB, on Monday.

"For me it's an enormous honour and a great dream to be able to manage this team," Orenga, who replaces Sergio Scariolo at the helm of the reigning European champions, said at a press conference in FEB's headquarters in Madrid.

The driving force behind Spain's enormous success in recent years has been a group of world-class players including the likes of Pau Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, Jose Manuel Calderon and Marc Gasol.

Orenga played down intense media speculation that these stars will not be on the plane to Slovenia.

"We are one of the countries with many players in the NBA but also the country which has the players with the biggest degree of commitment to their national team," he said.

Several Spanish internationals have already received a phone call from the new senior national team head coach, who was appointed on 29 November.

"Within the federation framework, contact with the players is constant," he said.

"It's part of our work so that in the summer our results are the best possible.

"I have the chance to speak to a lot of them, not all, but their availability is absolute, as is their support.

"There is still eight months left [to the EuroBasket] but, a priori, everyone is available [to be selected for the team]," Orenga added.

The man who's taken the reins of the most successful European team in the last decade did not set any particular targets ahead of next summer's EuroBasket in Slovenia.

"My goal is to do what I have been doing until now, which is to work, enjoy my work and that everyone keeps enjoying [watching] this great team."

Juan Antonio Orenga, Spain
"We are one of the countries with many players in the NBA but also the country which has the players with the biggest degree of commitment to their national team," says Juan Antonio Orenga

Orenga also confirmed that his relationship with Scariolo remains close.

The new Spain head coach joined the senior team's coaching staff, as an assistant to the Italian tactician, ahead of EuroBasket 2009.

"I have to thank Sergio for everything I've learned from him in these four years, which have been very productive for me," he said.

"I speak to him often and he's always telling me that I will have good moments, complicated moments, but what I need to maintain throughout is tranquillity, so that work can bear fruits."

Orenga was at a coaching clinic in Melbourne, Australia when he received a phone call from Madrid with the offer to take over from Scariolo.

"It didn't take me long to say yes," he revealed.

"I've been working at the federation for nine years, trying my best so that teams are always competitive in the summer."

Orenga was the head coach of the U20 Spanish national team in three European Championships since 2007, only taking time out when his obligations with the senior team did not allow him to be in charge.

Under the new senior team head coach, Spain took silver at the U20 European Championship in 2007, bronze in 2010 and reached the top of the podium in 2011 in the same competition.


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