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Russian U18 Head coach comments

August 19th, 2010 · No Comments

Together with our Russian friend Nikita, we put together an article about the Russian U18 National Team that won the Silver Medal at the recent European Championships in Vilnius. Nikita was so kind to speak with the Russian head coach Sergey Skorochkin about his players and what his thoughts were on the Silver Medal team.

Sergey Karasev maybe does not possess an ideal technical skill set but carries on a great feel for the game. He was nearly as tall as our centers at this tournament but played at shooting guard and small forward positions. Sergey was in my team in 2009 [at that time Skorochkin was the head coach of Russian u16 team] and comparing to last season obviously became a little bit stronger. But still Karasev has to claim more from himself, from his body and basketball attitude. I ca not say he does not work hard during training sessions; he just needs to be more serious. Naturally talented players sometimes forget that their talent has to be seasoned with good athletic background. Also it sometimes seems like he is trying to avoid the contact and play too simple while stepping in the corner and shoot and not threatening opposite side with a roll to the basket. I’m sure Sergey will have a bright future if he finally puts all the things together. Potentially he’s a national team player.

[Commenting on the information about a very possible Karasev’s inclusion in Triumph Lyubertsy senior team for a next season] I think he is ready to test himself at that level. Surely in case of the series of losses at the season start nobody would listen to stories about providing playing time to youth. However keeping in mind that Triumph recently took a “rejuvenation” course and the club is going to give some chances to their youngsters, I ca not see why Sergey should not be tried as a first-team player.

Dmitry Kulagin made the right decision last summer when he agreed to join BC Nizhny Novgorod and spent a season at senior level. Eventually his team gained an early promotion and so Kulagin had an opportunity to play nearly 30 minutes per game in the closing games of the season. It helped a lot, he is a more polished player now. Kulagin is a rare example of truly technically gifted Russian player. He is a combo-guard and is almost equally good at both guard positions which gave us more options at the tournament. As I know, his club will rely on him in the next season too so hopefully his development will continue.

Vladislav Trushkin was the most stable player of our team. He scored, stole balls, was energetic but what was my biggest pleasure he hit the threes – and many decisive ones. Yes, it’s true, for him being undersized will make it harder to play power forward at the senior stage. And he is a bit slow and is not sharp enough to play the 3 yet. But as a Head Coach of his club Spartak Vidnoe I can tell you that we are going to provide him playing time at small forward position next season. For the first time our team will take part in senior competition so as well as others Trushkin will achieve some valuable experience playing against adults. And speaking on his play at this tournament I am sure he could be easily included in the tournament’s Best-5 selection as well as Kulagin.

I’m also pleased with Alexander Varnakov who was the captain of the team. For his age, he is a quite experienced point-guard who already played for BC Nizhny Novgorod first team [Superleague B – second best Russian team] during 2008-09 season. Varnakov has some tendency to corpulence, he is not lightning quick himself but he knows how to control team tempo. His performance here was consistent and he finished as the competition’s #2 in assists per game. His shot was not falling that good, maybe he took more initiative sometimes than he had to but usually he did it for a reason. He was one of the few our guys who was not afraid in front of that gigantic Lithuanian sea of supporters in the final.

Speaking on players that coped with emotions in final I can mark out Tamerlan Bekkiev. He can eventually emerge as somewhat of a late bloomer as he has been playing less than for three years now. He has talent but not defensive-oriented one as he has many troubles protecting the basket. But it can be fixed. He bears intriguing speed for his size and while being power forward for our team here in Lithuania he will be developed as small forward at his club Avtodor Saratov and these are good news.

Unfortunately, last year U16 All-Tournament Team member Gleb Goldyrev spent shaky tournament and could not really blossom this time. You see, fundamentals are like cakes of a pie. For instance Goldyrev received the first three of these cakes at his home in Novosibirsk. Then we gave him eight more in Vidnoe. And what he’s doing – he’s doing right! But in critical situations, against a background of fatigue or with the time being nearly up those eight cakes sometimes fly away leaving the guy with his raw basic skills which he got first. Some of his mistakes he made there were the same he made as a child. Also the speed of the game has increased in this age category and now Gleb can not rely that much on his phenomenal physical strength. But I still think there’s a room for improvement and he can progress.

As for the others I can say that our bigs – Loginov, Tikhonin, Pisarchuk – have a lot to learn yet and the rest of the guys had limited roles. Our medals are quite sensational and I can only thank my assistants Rolandas Radvila Mikhail Solovyev and all the rests from our team for their enormous contribution.

translated and written by Nikita Golovanov

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