The general manager of the France team, Boris Diaw, gave an interview to the Serbian site, Mozzart Sport, where he talks about different facets of EuroBasket. Here are some excerpts:
On Serbia’s early elimination:
“That’s definitely what surprised me the most about the tournament so far. Of course, there is no competition where surprises don’t happen, but in this one, I didn’t expect that to happen to you. Serbia are an extremely strong team, which should have gone far given the quality of their players. Maybe your problem was that you had too easy a first phase, compared to the one we had. Our first phase was extremely difficult, it may have prepared us for what is happening now. Looking at the squad list, I was really surprised by Serbia’s early elimination. I expected more cohesion, that the players are complementary. Something like Spain, which always finds a way to attack you when it’s difficult, to attack you with their quality, their plays smart in attack and defense, to push you out of your comfort zone”.
On the fact that the big stars of the NBA didn’t see the semi-finals:
“Basketball remains a team sport, it is played five against five, everything can never depend on a single player. Also, now more than ever, you need to have a deep bench, 10-12 players in the rotation to be able to think of a good result. (Nikola) Jokić, Luka (Doncic) and Giannis (Antetokounmpo) are great players, amazing, but they all have to involve their teammates. That goes for every team, every gold contender, every team on the planet that wants something more. It’s good when you have a player of an additional class, but you also need a support system that will always be involved in both phases.
On Terry Tarpey’s special and very important role with the Blues:
“People didn’t know him before, he plays in France (Editor’s note: at Le Mans). We followed him and decided to invite him during the November qualifiers for the World Cup. He is playing very well, he is improving a lot, he has the right attitude, he is competitive. His approach to the game is real, something every player should have. When I mentioned the support system, one of the best examples is Tarpey. He has no ego, he doesn’t ask for anything, he is always ready to do the dirty work for the team and brings enormous energy. He is excellent in defense, always first on the rebound. He does everything the team needs. »
About the evolution of basketball:
“He has changed a lot. First, how the teams play. Now everything is taken to the next level, teams are doing a lot of similar things compared to others. This is why the overall level of basketball in Europe and the USA is quite similar. Even when you look at the teams from our continent, the quality is quite consistent. If we take the film back to the period of 20 years ago, you knew that Serbia would play one way, Italy another, Spain a third, Poland a fourth… Now everyone is doing more or less the same thing. Everyone in attack focuses on Spanish pick’n’roll, or does certain things that have become characteristic of the Euroleague. I have the impression that now it is more difficult to predict certain things, to distinguish what separates one team from another. Game preparations are much more difficult as teams now think about taking what is current or best in the game at the time and doing it. If pick’n’roll is the hottest thing right now, everyone is going to play it. If it’s the three-point shot, everyone will do… That’s why the teams are more and more equal”.