Scariolo: “We defend it with 12 or it won’t be easy”


The national basketball coach, Sergio Scariolo, made a “positive” balance of the first phase of the 2023 World Cup, after beating Iran on Wednesday, but confessed that the current champion will need the 12 to defend to continue advancing, taking into account that they don’t have a player who can win the game alone.

“A positive balance, getting through the first phase playing basketball well. Regardless of the results, I am satisfied with how we have played, how we have moved the ball. We can improve, but we have been good. When we have abused the dribble or the one against one have been our bad moments”, he said at a press conference after the third victory in three games.

The Italian coach pointed out that once again the team noticed when Alberto Díaz was on the track and that they need everyone when it comes to defending, not a specific five-team. “Defensively, the competition itself will force us to raise the level, continuity of performance regardless of the quintet. If we always need to have certain players to have a very high performance, we will have to have a great success on their part and it will not be easy” , he claimed.

“If the players who have a little more scoring ability raise their defensive level, we will be able to compete against opponents of a higher level. Either we defend with 12 and attack with 12 or we don’t have a top player who can win the game on his own. Our defense once again improved when Alberto Díaz entered the game, which is happening many times, that our game changes,” he added.

On the other hand, Scariolo explained his way of conducting the duel against Iran, without asking for any timeout to make corrections. “Maybe it was the first game of my career where I haven’t called a timeout. I wanted my players to figure out how to get out of bad times by themselves. We communicated but without stopping the game, they had to be the ones making the decisions on the floor.” , said.

“It was not a good game in defense. In attack our percentages were not very good but 32 assists from 35 baskets from two, speaks well of our attack. We have had stoppages, but I have not stopped the rival’s positive partials, they wanted them to find the way or substitutions. A team has to mature from within”, he added.

The coach of the world and European champion confessed that the concentration will have to be maximum from now on, not like the start against Iran, in two level matches against Latvia and Canada towards the quarterfinals. “Two very good teams, good coaches. We need to win at least one of the two to move on to the next phase, which is the goal, it’s going to be a great challenge. It hasn’t been a start with a lot of concentration. What’s coming now requires absolute concentration from minute one,” he said.

In addition, Scariolo congratulated Víctor Claver on his birthday and for being “an example” for young people, as well as Rudy Fernández for his historical record of games with Spain (253). The coach also praised Iran and a Hamed Haddadi present in the four World Cups played by his country. “Iran competes and has good players. Haddadi is a great player, who has been with us all these years in the World Cups. Congratulations on his last game with Iran,” he said.