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!
Correcaminos tab Dekabriean Eldridge - 28 minutes ago
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Correcaminos UAT Victoria (LNBP) landed American guard Dekabriean Eldridge (191). just graduated from New Mexico JC (JUCO). As mentioned above he is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Mexico [read more]
Best players of Mexican LNBP round 27 - 3 days ago
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Experienced American Andy Panko (203-F-77, agency: BeoBasket) put on an amazing game in the last round for league's leader Fuerza Regia and that's him to receive a Latinbasket.com LNBP Player of the Week award for round 27. The 39-year old forward had the game-high 34 points adding six rebounds and two assists for Fuerza Regia in his team's victory, helping them to outclass Toros (#3, 16-11) with 33-point margin 92-59. The game was between two of the league's top four teams. It allowed Fu... [read more]
Experienced American Andy Panko (203-F-77, agency: BeoBasket) put on an amazing game in the last round for league's leader Fuerza Regia and that's him to receive a Latinbasket.com LNBP Player of the Week award for round 27. The 39-year old forward had the game-high 34 points adding six rebounds and two assists for Fuerza Regia in his team's victory, helping them to outclass Toros (#3, 16-11) with 33-point margin 92-59. The game was between two of the league's top four teams. It allowed Fuerza Regia to consolidate first place in the Mexican LNBP. Fuerza Regia has a very good season and are considered to have a run for the championship title. They improved their record to 27-1. In the team's last game Panko had a remarkable 66.7% from 2-point range and got six three-pointers out of 7 attempts. He turned to be Fuerza Regia's top player in his first season with the team. Andy Panko averages this season 17.4ppg.
The second most remarkable performance in last round's games was -year old Canadian forward Grandy Glaze (204-F) of Correcaminos. Glaze impressed basketball fans with a double-double of 25 points and 14 rebounds. Bad luck as Correcaminos lost that game 89-101 to the higher-ranked Barreteros (#6, 11-16). Correcaminos are still at the very bottom. 21 lost games are too many comparing to just six victories Correcaminos managed to get this year. Glaze is a newcomer at Correcaminos and it seems he did not have too much trouble to become one of team's leaders.
The third best performed player last round was American Paul Marigney (192-G-82) of Barreteros (#6). Marigney showcased his all-around game by recording 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the last round. He was a key player of Barreteros, leading his team to a 101-89 win against the lower-ranked Correcaminos (#10, 6-21). The chances of Barreteros ranking at the top of the league, however are very questionable as they have already lost 16 games, recording just eleven victories. With bigger assistance of his teammates, Marigney could help Barreteros to bring them higher in the standings. Marigney has a very solid season. In 27 games in Mexico he scored 17.2ppg. He also has 5.7rpg, 4.0apg, FGP: 53.2% and 3PT: 42.7%.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Justin Keenan (202-F/C-88) of Soles - 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists 5. Irvin Avalos (201-F) of Santos - 20 points and 3 rebounds 6. Carl Jones (180-PG-91) of Barreteros - 19 points, 2 rebounds and 6 assists 7. Wayne Chism (206-PF-87) of Garzas - 21 points and 9 rebounds 8. Cesar Cortes (200-F/C-81) of Fuerza Regia - 17 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists 9. B.J. West (211-F-89) of Santos - 17 points and 10 rebounds 10. Fernando Benitez (204-F/C-89) of Panteras - 16 points and 5 rebounds
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
Olimpia adds Mitchell to their roster, ex Tijuana - 4 days ago
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Club Atletico Olimpia Montevideo (LUB) added to their roster experienced 35-year old American swingman Dwayne Mitchell (196-82, college: La-Lafayette). He played last summer at Zonkeys de Tijuana in Mexican CIBACOPA. In 32 games he recorded very impressive stats: 17.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 4.8apg (top 4) and 1.7spg (in top 5). Mitchell helped them to make it to the semifinals. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Mexican CIBACOPA All-Star Game. He also played that season for L... [read more]
Club Atletico Olimpia Montevideo (LUB) added to their roster experienced 35-year old American swingman Dwayne Mitchell (196-82, college: La-Lafayette). He played last summer at Zonkeys de Tijuana in Mexican CIBACOPA. In 32 games he recorded very impressive stats: 17.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 4.8apg (top 4) and 1.7spg (in top 5). Mitchell helped them to make it to the semifinals. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Mexican CIBACOPA All-Star Game. He also played that season for Lobos UAD Mazatlan (also in CIBACOPA) where in 20 games he averaged remarkable 19.1ppg, 4.9rpg and 3.6apg. Great season indeed as he was voted to Mexican CIBACOPA All-Star Game. In 2006 Mitchell was drafted by Yakama Sun Kings (CBA) in second round (20th overall). He attended University Louisiana at Lafayette and it is his eleventh (!!!) season in pro basketball. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Mitchell was voted Eurobasket.com All-Israeli League Player of the Year and Eurobasket.com All-Israeli League Import Player of the Year back in 2011. He is quite experienced player. Mitchell's career allowed him to visit four different continents, while he played in eight different countries. Mitchell tasted the life as pro basketball player in Europe, Asia, Latin America and of course North America. He has played previously professionally in France (Paris-Levallois), Germany, Sweden (KFUM Jamtland), Ukraine (Mykolaiv), Venezuela (Bucaneros), Israel (Maccabi Rishon), South Korea (SK Knights) and D-League (Los Angeles D-Fenders, Iowa Energy and Westchester Knicks). Mitchell is close to retirement age as a player. It's very possible he may end his playing career at Olimpia. On Mitchell:
A very athletic perimetral player, who can easily go inside to finish. Thanks to great 1-vs-1 skills, can beat any opponent, but sometimes plays out of control. Can spend time in the 2 and 3 positions, needs to improve his FT accuracy, because he gains lots of fouls and he's not able to "capitalize" them all.
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