Khryapa Hopes For Russian Coach

30 November 2012

EUROBASKET 2013

Viktor Khryapa, Russia, Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men
Khryapa: "I would like it to be a Russian coach"

Russian star power forward Viktor Khryapa believes head coach David Blatt deserved to go out on top after guiding Russia to the 2012 Olympic bronze medal but that it's also a good time to bring in a new coach - preferably a Russian.

"Of course right now is probably the best time for David to leave, but I think he gave a lot to the Russian national team, to our country. And he deserved to leave on his own time," said Khryapa about Blatt, who helped Russia to 2007 EuroBasket gold, bronze in 2011 in Lithuania, and this summer's success in London.

"David is a special person. He worked several years in Russia. This helped him learn about the Russian people and the Russian soul. He found the keys to use everybody in their role. We didn't have as much talent as the top teams in the world but he used us right, and you saw the results."

Khryapa added: "It's his choice. We all respect that and look forward to working with a new coach."
The 30-year-old Khryapa, who has played for Russia since 2002, admitted he would like the new man in charge of the Russian national team to be a Russian.

"I would like it to be a Russian coach, but it's the federation's choice," said the Kiev, Ukraine native, adding, "I think it's a good time to bring in a new guy." 

"The hardest part for (the new coach) will be to find out what kind of team he will have and what philosophy of basketball he will show to the team. The national team is not a club, where you can be a strong coach. It's a different philosophy. There is a short period of time and you need to find a way to win the games right away."

Khryapa also said regardless of who the coach is that Russia will be challenged at EuroBasket 2013, where they were drawn into Group D with Finland, Greece, Italy, Sweden and Turkey.

Russia Head Coach David Blatt
David Blatt's ability to understand the Russian culture was a key component of his success with the national team

"Now in the basketball world, all teams can play. Look at the 2013 qualification games this fall when Serbia played against Estonia. You would say that Serbia would win, for sure. But no. Estonia won. Everybody can play. Just like Finland at the last EuroBasket," said Khryapa.

"Maybe they won't win a lot of games, but they can screw up some teams because they were not respecting them."

Khryapa said there were clearly two or three strong teams in Group D, but Russia must respect every team in Slovenia.

"Especially after changing the coach, you have to fight with everybody," added Khryapa

The EuroBasket fight will start for Russia in Koper, Slovenia on September 4.


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