Obasohan an instant fit in ERA Nymburk's winning culture
NYMBURK (Czech Republic) - Retin Obasohan joined ERA Nymburk only in late October, but anybody watching him interact with his new teammates during games would have guessed he has been playing for the Czech champions for years.
The Belgian international's performance in Nymburk's 96-93 win at Tofas Bursa in Group B action on November 10th was especially impressive. Not because of his excellent stat line, but because of the way he put it together and his impact on the outcome.
With the game hanging in the balance down the stretch, Nymburk run plays again and again to allow the 27-year-old point guard to drive to the basket and either finish at the rim or draw a foul.
"That kind of speaks to the system we have here in Nymburk, obviously I am still relatively new here but one thing that is very evident in our style of play, even from watching the team play in past years, is that Coach has a lot of confidence in his players," Obasohan explained to championsleague.basketball
"He wants them to play free, he wants them to play with confidence, and even though I am new, he spoke the same confidence right away into me.
[I wanted to play for ] an organization that competed for championships, competed at a high level and competed on the European front, because playing in Europe is extremely important to me - Retin Obasohan
"That is something he preaches every day: he wants us to play with confidence, play according to the style, trust each other and trust that we can facilitate and make plays, make the correct reads. It shows that the coach knows his system and trusts his players."
It's evident that the new Nymburk point guard and coach Oren Amiel have already developed a bond of trust and mutual admiration in a brief period of time, but this special relationship started forging earlier, when the Czech side were recruiting Obasohan.
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"After playing last year for Brose Bamberg, which was a really good experience, one thing that was really important to me was to be in an organization that represents winning, that is committed to their players, their coaching staff but also their history and their fans," the Belgian international said.
"[I wanted] an organization that competed for championships, competed at a high level and competed on the European front, because playing in Europe is extremely important to me.
As a point guard you need to become better, be a leader, be an extension of the coach on the floor but you also have to make sure your teammates trust you because you might be in a position to see things that they might not see, so you have to coach them on the floor - Retin Obasohan
"So when Nymburk came along, they just checked all the boxes. In addition to all that, coach Amiel knows coach Dario Gjergja [the Filou Oostende boss is also the head coach of the Belgian national team] and they spoke and he had nothing to say but great things, so it was really a no-brainer choice for me."
Ever since graduating from college and turning pro in 2016 with Sidigas Avellino, Obasohan has played for five different clubs in Europe and in the G League. Since he hasn't had the chance to play with the same group of teammates and in the same system for more than a few months at the time, he's had to find different ways to hone his skills as a playmaker.
"The biggest challenge is staying true to yourself but at the same time realizing that you need to keep getting better and to understand that different situations require a different side of you," he explained.
"Especially as a point guard you need to become better, be a leader, be an extension of the coach on the floor but you also have to make sure your teammates trust you because you might be in a position to see things that they might not see, so you have to coach them on the floor.
I love the BCL! That's one thing I got to be honest about! I remember my first year with Avellino, and to me it's mind-blowing how much the BCL has grown, it's unbelievable - Retin Obasohan
"So as you go through teams, different situations, you have to create that relationship with your teammates, let them know that we are in this together and that we all want to win and that you are supporting them.
"You need to watch film, especially in a situation like this when I came in a little bit late, I got to see what is Petr like, what is Vojtech like, what is Stephen like, I have to see whether they like to shoot from the left side or the right side, whether they like pin downs, flares.
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"If you come in early you get more time to read them, but if you come in late you have to catch up. I feel like I have to study my teammates as much as I study opponents and throw them the ball where they are most comfortable."
Obasohan is an old hand in the Basketball Champions League, having played in the inaugural season of the competition with Avellino, then with Bamberg in 2019-20 and now with Nymburk, he has experienced all three different Regular Season iterations: the five-group format, the four-group format, and now the eight groups of only four teams each.
I believe in adapting, it's on everybody to adapt to the current situation and we're one industry, as basketball, that we have to do that - Retin Obasohan
The four-team groups of course mean that getting into the Play-Offs will be tougher than ever before and requires very few, if any missteps. Nymburk lost their season opener at JDA Dijon but and there was a sense of urgency in their game when they took to the floor against Tofas a week later.
"I love the BCL! That's one thing I got to be honest about! I remember my first year with Avellino, and to me it's mind-blowing how much the BCL has grown, it's unbelievable," the Belgian point guard said.
"I haven't seen a format that I don’t like, and I am curious to see how this one plays out. The changes due to Covid-19 have made it more difficult, because there are less teams in the group, but I think it's impressive how, regardless of the pandemic, the BCL has managed to find a format that works.
"For now it works and I like it, but I hope in the future we can have bigger groups again and play more games. It's nice when you play more teams in the group, but obviously this is not possible with the coronavirus pandemic."
"In a four-team group, every single game is important and we realize that as a team. But we believe that when we come in and do what we need to do, make sure we are prepared and go out and compete and trust ourselves, we can get the results. You need to treat every game with the outmost respect and compete every time," Obasohan said.
I commend all the leagues that are committed to adapting because there are ways to keep playing, to keep providing a high level of basketball that fans can enjoy and we as players enjoy - Retin Obasohan
One thing the Belgian international won't even contemplate is using the challenges the pandemic presents as an excuse or, worse still, any suggestion that the season should be called off.
"I disagree with not playing at all, because then what is the alternative? if we're just not going to play, my question is when would we play and what do we do until then," he said.
"We just stop professional basketball until it's ok to play, but when will it be ok to play, when we're going to have fans? I believe in adapting, it's on everybody to adapt to the current situation and we're one industry, as basketball, that we have to do that.
"I commend all the leagues that are committed to adapting because there are ways to keep playing, to keep providing a high level of basketball that fans can enjoy and we as players enjoy.
"I am happy to be playing, to be competing, I am happy that leagues like the BCL, the NBL and other leagues around the world have found ways to adapt. Once we get through to the other side we can look at the progress we have made as organizations and as individuals."