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“This European is beyond anything imaginable”

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With the voice still taken by the hangover after the celebration in Madrid of the euro basketball titlethe right hand of Sergio Scariolo in the selection, Louis Gil (Seville, July 16, 1971), he strives to pack his things and start the trip back to Japan, where he settled at the end of 2019 and where since 2021 he trains the Shiga Lake Stars, one of the 24 teams that compete in the J League, the Japanese basketball league.

Guil He has already lived alongside Scariolo the unexpected triumph of Spain in the 2019 World Cup, in a team under the leadership of Ricky Rubio. But he acknowledges that the victory in this Eurobasket 2022 in Berlin against France is beyond anything that could be thought and stresses that one of the keys to victory is Scariolo’s talent and tactical ability.

“Achieving a victory like that leaves you speechless. It was something unimaginable that even surpasses the World Cup”, he assures Guil in a conversation with EL PERIÓDICO. “A victory like this is much more enjoyable and you realize that everything is possible, even if they tell you that you can’t do it. That is the conviction that the group had. They told them they couldn’t and they said yes and they have shown that they could”.

The team’s assistant coach acknowledges that no one in the Spanish expedition could have imagined the outcome when they traveled to Georgia to face the first phase of the tournament, although the sensations were very good. “Before traveling, I was convinced that we were going to compete very well, because we had just finished the games against Greece and Lithuania in preparation. We had options and the feeling in the group was very similar to what we had in the World Cup. And it has been seen, in the end, that the team has been growing with each game and each player has done so individually”, he points out.

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The gradual withdrawal of the ‘Golden Generation’ with the Gasol, Reyes, Navarro could make one think that a journey through the desert was beginning until he found a relief, but the title reaffirms Guil in his defense of federative work. “Until it is finished, there will be no transition. And for now it’s not over, right? I don’t think there has been anyone who has dominated world basketball, except for the USA, as Spain has. Results that neither the USSR nor Yugoslavia had achieved. We have played in the European semi-finals for the last 23 years, which is very difficult. And that gives you a dimension of what the federation does.”

At the party with the fans in the Wizink CenterCaptain Rudy Fernandez had words of thanks for Scariolo (“what you have done with this team is incredible”, assured the Majorcan) and Guil acknowledges that he could not agree more with the madridista. “Scariolo is one of the best coaches in the world. That is indisputable. Who can be NBA, world and European champion in four years? I don’t know if anyone else has done it. And also one thing that he has is that he doesn’t stop. His head continues with the idea of ​​continuing to evolve and improve and that is a key to his success. He always wants more.”

“Scariolo is one of the best coaches in the world. And besides, his mind doesn’t stop. He always wants more”

dark work

Guil assures that behind the European and world title that the national team now holds, there is an “incredible” planning by the Federation and Scariolo to create a player base for the windows, with whom they have been working over time so that their incorporation it was much easier. “That allows people like Sebas Saiz, Pradilla or all of those who have joined us seem to have been with us all their lives”, explains Guil. “The titles are fine, but building a philosophy and a way of understanding the game that everyone respects is Sergio’s great legacy.”

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What he does not agree with is the assessment of the French coach Vincent Collette by assuring that Spain had never played at such an exceptional level as they did in the final. “We already played well against Turkey, Lithuania, Finland or Germany. Behind this there is no luck, but work at 500% and having a plan A, B, C and D to have answers. Sometimes you may not win. But you know what’s going to happen. I think that is our big difference”, he values Guil and also highlights the talent of the players. “For me, the Spanish player is competitively the best in the world. He has a competitive gene, a DNA that is above anyone else. And he also has a gene to understand the game, to understand the technical and tactical issue that no player in the world has”.

For me, the Spanish player is competitively the best in the world.”

In that sense, Guil admits that despite the excellent result of the absolute and also in the training categories there is a barrier that limits the access of players to the elite. “I train in Japan and there you play with eight Japanese and four foreigners. In Spain you can play with eight non-community players and others from training who serve as a quota, but who cannot go to the national team. So there are teams that don’t have a single Spaniard. I don’t know. They have to see if the business is profitable. I am not going to assess it, because it is a private company, which is the ACB. But it is difficult for a coach to really play a 20-year-old boy. Only when they win or lose 20 or 30.”

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