20 October, 2020
09 May, 2021
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A taste of EuroBasket: Group F coaches survey

MIES (Switzerland) - There is an aura of FIBA EuroBasket in Group F of the 2020-21 BCL Regular Season, which will pit against each other the current head coaches of Turkey and Italy, the possible future head coach of Spain and a young up-and-coming Dutch coach.

Pinar Karsiyaka play-caller Ufuk Sarica is not only the man who delivered a Turkish league title to Izmir but also the coach of the Turkish national team, while Italy national team legend and head coach Meo Sacchetti took the reins of Fortitudo Bologna this summer, aiming to help restore the storied club to its former glory.

Meanwhile Alex Mumbru of Bilbao Basket was cited earlier this month by Spanish Federation President [and former teammate] Jorge Garbajosa as the ideal coach to take over from Sergio Scariolo when the Italian eventually leaves 'La Roja, and Johan Roijakkers of Brose Bamberg has made a name for himself in both his native Netherlands and in Germany, and he's just turned 40 years old.

We asked each coach 10 questions to help us preview Group F action, that tips off Tuesday October 27th:

Which teams in your group have the best roster and/or coach and why do you think so?

Johan Roijakkers (Brose Bamberg): Karsiyaka, because they have an experienced group of players with an age average of 27. And they started very well in their domestic league with four wins in five games.
Meo Sacchetti (Fortitudo Bologna): We still don't know because we have, first of all, to start the competition. Surely, we'll face teams with great tradition and European experience.
Ufuk Sarica (Pinar Karsiyaka):  I don't separate the three teams. All of our competitors have very good rosters and very good coaches
Alex Mumbru (RETAbet Bilbao): Ufuk Sarica, Pinar Karsiyaka's coach, who is also the Turkish national team head coach. It shows the high level of the competition.

Which games in your group would you recommend to a neutral basketball fan?

Johan Roijakkers: Bamberg against Bilbao. Two teams with a lot of three-point shooting skill, that can also play inside.
Meo Sacchetti: I obviously hope that our games will be the best to watch (he laughs).
Ufuk Sarica: Fortitudo Bologna against Brose Bamberg.
Alex Mumbru: Fortitudo Bologna against Pinar Karsiyaka.

Which games in this group will be the toughest for your team and why?

Johan Roijakkers: Maybe the first one, in Bologna. We have to play three games within four days (Saturday and Sunday Cup games in Germany), so we don’t have much time to prepare our first BCL game.
Meo Sacchetti: All the games will be tough but especially the ones we'll play on the road, in this particular and difficult historical period.
Ufuk Sarica: The road game at RETAbet Bilbao Basket because we have a very busy schedule and the Bilbao trip is really tough.
Alex Mumbru: The first game against Pinar Karsiyaka, for being our first game in the competition.

Name one or more players in this group which you think are really special (because they have a very specific skill, because they are difficult to defend, etc)

Johan Roijakkers: Semih Erden of Karsiyaka. He has a lot of experience, he is a big guy and difficult to defend with all his skills.
Meo Sacchetti: Honestly, we still have to get acquainted with our opponents. I obviously expect a good job from Michele Vitali of Bamberg and if I have to talk about my new players, I think that our center, Ethan Happ, could have important skills for this competition.
Ufuk Sarica: -Arnoldas Kulboka of RETAbet Bilbao. He is born in 1998, he is  2.05 meters tall and a very talented player.
Alex Mumbru: Pietro Aradori of Fortitudo, for his experience.

Name one or more players in this group which you expect to be a positive surprise.

Johan Roijakkers: Kenneth Ogbe. He’s still young, but also experienced. He will make the next step with us in his career and will bring a lot of fun.
Meo Sacchetti: It's too early to answer, but I obviously hope they could be in our team (he laughs).
Ufuk Sarica: Matteo Fantinelli of Fortitudo Bologna. He is a player who can play many positions, with a very high offensive potential. This season he can show his true potential and surprise people.
Alex Mumbru: Dominic Lockhart of Brose Bamberg, for his evolution.

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Which team in this group play a style of basketball that you find interesting, and why?

Johan Roijakkers: Bilbao. They have Alex Mumbru as coach. He likes to play a modern style of basketball. That’s what I like, too.
Meo Sacchetti: As I said earlier, based on the skills of each team we'll provide a correct rating about the three teams we'll face.
Ufuk Sarica: Bilbao has adopted a very fast game. They show a fluent and enjoyable brand of basketball.
Alex Mumbru: I think that all the teams in the group have a high level of play.

Which team in this group will have the best defense and which one the best offense?

Johan Roijakkers: I hope that we will have the best defense. That’s one of our goals. Offensively, Bilbao will be one of the best teams, because of their very good three-point-shooters.
Meo Sacchetti: I hope it will be our team!
Ufuk Sarica: The best defensive team is Pınar Karşıyaka. The best offensive team is Fortitudo Bologna
Alex Mumbru: I would like it to be Bilbao Basket. We will try to make it so.


Which team in this group plays with the fastest pace and which one with the slowest pace?

Johan Roijakkers: We have the slowest pace. And, right now, it seems that Karsiyaka plays very fast.
Meo Sacchetti: For sure we'd like to run and play with a high rhythm, but it's also clear that it's difficult to run in offense coming from a bad defense.
Ufuk Sarica: RETAbet Bilbao has the fastest pace and Fortitudo Bologna plays with the slowest pace.
Alex Mumbru: I would like Bilbao Basket to be a team with a high pace in our game. Let's see if we got it.

If you could spend a couple of extra days in one of the cities you will visit in this group, or if you took out the whole team to a restaurant (the club president is paying!) which city would you choose?

Johan Roijakkers: Bilbao. It has a lot of culture and history. And, if we are already there, I think they have some good tapas restaurants, too…
Meo Sacchetti: I already played with my former teams in the past years in Bamberg and I really have great memories about that experience, really a beautiful city. It's also beyond doubt that Bilbao has a great tradition and prestigious monuments. It would be, finally, pleasant for me, to discover Karsiyaka, one of the districts of the province of Izmir.
Ufuk Sarica: I'd like to take my players to dinner, of course in Bologna!
Alex Mumbru: Bologna.

Is the team that will win the 2021 BCL trophy in this group? (you can just give a yes or no answer, you don’t need to name the team)

Johan Roijakkers: Maybe (he smiles)
Meo Sacchetti: I really hope so!
Ufuk Sarica: Yes!
Alex Mumbru: Hopefully yes. It would be a good sign if the champion was one of the teams in this group.