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Eurobasket 2022 | The triumph of Spain and Sergio Scariolo

It is their weakest roster of the last 20 years”, “if they go to the quarters it will already be a great result”, “easy to win with Gasol, Rodriguez, but now …”: These were the comments prior to Eurobasket 2022 on the Spain. Even more so after the last-minute injury of Sergio Llull, one of the great leaders of the Iberian squadron that has characterized the last decade (and something more) of European basketball. The ‘red furies’ have denied everyone and are, for the fourth time, European champions.

The renewal is immediately golden

Many players have passed since that first triumph in Poland in 2009, but the common denominator has always remained Sergio Scariolo. The Brescia coach is ateighth medal on the bench of the Iberian national team: four European golds, one world, plus a silver and an Olympic bronze and a continental bronze. An impressive palmares, to which must also be added the triumphs obtained with the club teams and also that NBA title as assistant coach at the Toronto Raptors.

This, however, is the greatest masterpiece, at least in our opinion. What no one would have expected. There was no longer the ‘generacion de oro’, with only Rudy Fernandez as a survivor of that great cycle, but a group of excellent players, some without much experience at this level. The two brothers Hernangomez they had already been protagonists of the 2019 world championship gold, the others were at the first major event with their national team: from the surprising Alberto Diaznamed precisely for Llull’s injury, to Jaime Fernandez, by Usman Garuba, passing through Lopez-Arostegui or to the naturalized Lorenzo Brown. All novices.

The mixed defenses key to the triumph

A talent certainly inferior compared to the Spanish national teams of the past, but a compact team to be envied. Where no one was the star, in the Eurobasket in which they have failed the NBA superstar teams: from Luka Doncic’s Slovenia to Giannis Antetokoumpo’s Greece, passing through Nikola Jokic’s Serbia. None of these three teams even reached the semifinals, while two real teams (Spain and Germany) and one with a widespread talent (France), but without a single star to serve always and in any case, went up on the podium.

Sergio Scariolo’s masterpiece was to win the tournament thanks to the defense, those mixed defenses that sent the opponents into a tailspin. The manifesto remains the fourth period of the semifinal against Germany, when the ‘Box and One’ he removed from the game Dennis Schroeder, who was dominating the challenge and dragging the Germans to success. But also last night the defensive choices on Fournier and Gobert in the decisive phase of the match, when France were trying to return. The sack flour of one of the greatest coaches in history, Sergio Scariolo.

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