Hello Pep (Josep Claros), let us congratulate you first on Liga Americas title with Pioneros de Quintana Roo-Cancun and of course on Coach of the Year award.
Let us know please is the Liga Americas title the most important trophy in your coaching career so far? Is something hard to say because I have a lot of feelings for all the other titles as well. Obviously in America is a big thing, and I know this one will be in the Mexican history forever, but I really think every championship was special. Is difficult to reach the final and even more to win so Im proud of every championship I got because is always a lot of hours, a lot of personal connections fighting for the same goal and a lot of experiences that you just know when you win and lose finals.
Which game was the most difficult for you and your team at the Final Four Tournament? All of them. I will explain why: the first one because we were playing against the home team and even we had a lot of confidence there are some things you cant control playing away. We knew we could beat them if we had the mentality to smash and send a message, let everybody knows that we were good enough to win the championship. In some point we were 27 up, we finally won by 18. The second one was difficult because the Brazilian team has winning experience and players like Giovannoni and Alex (ex- Maccabi) and 3 National Team players. The last one, was obviously tough because Obras Sanitarias is the best Argentinean team, with the National Team head coach and they just need to win by 1 to be champions. We won by 9 and we were ahead all game using 12 players in the first half.
Can you compare the level of Liga Americas with some of the European leagues? Liga Americas is a competition that every game is all or nothing. You have to win 3 finals four before get the championship. All the teams you compete against are the best ones of their countries, so they know what it takes to get there and they have the best talent of their leagues. Every country has their own characteristics in terms of style of play. Is not the same to play against a Brazilian team than to the Argentineans and even more different if you play against the Puerto Rican team. You have to be clearly the best and do well some aspects of the game like dominate the rhythm, develop the toughness during the competition and have a good team mentality.
You reached 13 Finals so far with different teams in different countries. Which one you will never forget, except of the Liga American Final 4? I have good memory so I will remember all of them...I also remember all the losses I had so eventually they push me to keep fighting. I will not forget a game when with American University (NCAA Div. II school) we upset No.1 in the country Arkansas who was undefeated at that time. It was 16 years ago in a Christmas day. It wasnt a title game but it was just special and we made a big presentation to college basketball. After that we won the conference 2 years in a row with just 3 loses in 2 years and beating other schools like top 10 Alabama or Texas C. and Hofstra.
You started the season with the Halifax Rainmen. It was the inaugural year of the NBL Canada, so can you please tell us something more about the league? The NBL is an athletic league where you can have 10 Americans per team. Most of the players have stints in Europe , D- League and some even NBA. Is very interesting to see because you have all of the teams with real possibilities to improve the roster (22 transactions during the season) and to win every game because you are constantly thinking about winning the game but also to recruit the best talent available at the same time. Most of my players had played in Europe so they could adapt to practices and some of rules that I adopted.
What are your plans for the next season? You are still Head Coach of the Mexican National Team. I will decide very soon. The Pioneros of Cancun organization will run the team so it looks that Mexico could have a strong team if they add 5 or 6 players to the Mexican team we won the Liga Americas. After the silver medal we got in 2010 is a good opportunity to keep winning internationally. If they can have the best players Mexico can be very close to Argentina and Brazil , so eventually we could have good results. In the other hand there is an option in Europe that could be an excellent project for an emerging country that I m sure will be top in the very next future, because they have talent, physical strength, mentality and is run for good basketball minds. My goal is keep winning so I feel very fortunate if Im part of them.
Thank you Pep and we wish you all the best in the future!
Al'Lonzo Coleman (ex Agua Prieta) signs at Salon Vilpas - 2 days ago
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Salon Vilpas Vikings (Korisliiga) landed 27-year old American forward Al'Lonzo Coleman (201-104kg-89, college: Presbyterian). He played in the summer at Vaqueros de Agua Prieta in Mexican CIBACOPA. In 16 games he averaged impressive 18.6ppg, 8.9rpg, 4.1apg and 1.1spg. The last season Coleman played at Stjarnan (Dominos League) in Iceland where in 27 games he had very remarkable stats: 20.7ppg, 11.9rpg (#4 in the league), 4.4apg and 1.7spg. Coleman helped them to end the regular season as... [read more]
Salon Vilpas Vikings (Korisliiga) landed 27-year old American forward Al'Lonzo Coleman (201-104kg-89, college: Presbyterian). He played in the summer at Vaqueros de Agua Prieta in Mexican CIBACOPA. In 16 games he averaged impressive 18.6ppg, 8.9rpg, 4.1apg and 1.1spg. The last season Coleman played at Stjarnan (Dominos League) in Iceland where in 27 games he had very remarkable stats: 20.7ppg, 11.9rpg (#4 in the league), 4.4apg and 1.7spg. Coleman helped them to end the regular season as a second best team in the league. They also played in the Supercup final. It was a very successful season in his career as he was selected to Eurobasket.com All-Icelandic League 1st Team and All-Imports Team. Among other achievements Coleman played in the final of UBA in 2012. He received also NCAA Division 1 Independent Conference Player of the Year award back in 2009 at his college time. Coleman has quite traveled the world as his pro career brought him to three different continents (Europe, Latin America and of course North America). Coleman has played previously professionally in Argentina (MH Basket, Union de Sunchales and Banda Norte), Canada (London Lightning) and UBA (Atlanta Legends). He attended Presbyterian College until 2012 and it will be his fifth season in pro basketball. Coleman's game is described as:
Can play both power forward and center position ... Plays great post defense ... Very Physical ... Can score on block with either hand ... Has tremendous potential with great size ... Great rebounder, both offensively and defensively ... Needs to improve intensity ... Has great work ethic.
Strengths: 'smart post player, great footwork'.
Nacional adds Puckett to their roster, ex Culiacan - 3 days ago
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Nacional De Futbol Montevideo (Ascenso) added to their roster 33-year old American power forward Benjamin Puckett (205-108kg-83, college: Clayton & State). He played this summer at Caballeros de Culiacan in Mexican CIBACOPA. In 43 games he recorded very impressive stats: 15.6ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.4apg and 1.0bpg. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Latinbasket.com All-Mexican CIBACOPA 2nd Team. The last season Puckett played at Bigua (LUB) where in 17 games he averaged rem... [read more]
Nacional De Futbol Montevideo (Ascenso) added to their roster 33-year old American power forward Benjamin Puckett (205-108kg-83, college: Clayton & State). He played this summer at Caballeros de Culiacan in Mexican CIBACOPA. In 43 games he recorded very impressive stats: 15.6ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.4apg and 1.0bpg. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Latinbasket.com All-Mexican CIBACOPA 2nd Team. The last season Puckett played at Bigua (LUB) where in 17 games he averaged remarkable 16.0ppg, 6.6rpg and 2.2apg. Great season indeed as he was voted to Latinbasket.com All-Uruguay LUB Honorable Mention. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Puckett's team was regular season runner-up in Chilean Liga Nacional in 2014. He was also voted Latinbasket.com All-Uruguay LUB Import Player of the Year back in 2011. Puckett is quite experienced player. His career allowed him to visit three different continents, while he played in ten different countries. Puckett tasted the life as pro basketball player in Asia, Latin America and of course North America. He has played previously professionally in Argentina (Union de Sunchales), Finland, Japan (Kagawa Five Arrows and Shimane Magic), Portugal, Uruguay (Aguada and Trouville), Ecuador (Universidad Tecnologica Equinoc. Quito), IBA (Gwinett Majic), Chile (Boston College), UBA (GIE Maile Matrix) and NEBA (Atlanta Live). Puckett attended Clayton & State until 2005 and it will be his twelfth (!!!) season as a professional player. On Puckett:
BJ is a complete basketball player who is able score both in the post and knock down the 3-point shot. He is a good passer, solid rebounder and a defender who uses his length to block shots. BJ is a player who wants the ball in his hands to make plays and is not afraid to take and make the clutch shot as he did many times for Clayton St.
Latinbasket.com All-Mexican CIBACOPA Awards 2016 - 13 days ago
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Finals MVP: Marvell Waithe (205-F-87) of Mazatlan; Player of the Year: Michael Craig (196-G/F-91) of Hermosillo; Guard of the Year: Michael Craig (196-G/F-91) of Hermosillo; Forward of the Year: Marvell Waithe (205-F-87) of Mazatlan; Center of the Year: Paul Butorac (208-C/F-83) of Hermosillo; Domestic Player of the Year: Steve Monreal (180-PG-86) of Hermosillo; Import Player of the Year: Michael Craig (196-G/F-91) of Hermosillo; Defensive Player of the Year: Jeff [read more]
Latinbasket.com All-Mexican CIBACOPA 1st Team 2016
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