They have not let grass grow on it at the Belgian basketball association. Valéry Demory had only just been a national coach for a year when he is already being kicked out.
“We cannot be satisfied with how the World Cup went for Belgium,” says general manager Koen Umans. “The end result, a 5th place, obscures a lot.”
“We have taken plenty of time to evaluate that World Cup, both with the trainers and with the players, and found that other countries have made more progress.”
“Nowadays, different basketball is played. Several countries have player(s) of a double meter, we don’t at the moment. We have not adapted enough to that.”
In the press release of the dismissal, Umans speaks of “major communication problems”. “Valéry is not a good communicator”, he explains more about this at Sporza.
“On the field his communication is very good. Technically and tactically there is no discussion whatsoever. But off the field the interaction was not great. I am not talking about the language just to be clear. All our players speak fluent French, Dutch and English mixed together.”
Umans points out the difference between a club team and a national team. “At a club you have at best an assistant and a physiotherapist. At our national team there is a staff of 13 people. You have to learn to work with that. That requires different skills and maybe that was confrontational for Valéry.”
The basketball federation wants to quickly appoint a successor to Démory. “We have a number of options that we are looking at now,” says Koen Umans.
“We need an international profile, someone who is familiar with the functioning of a national team at an international level.”
Could that successor also be a successor? Ann Wauters emphatically stated at the presentation of her book “The Game of Life” that she “felt a fire” to try it as head coach.
“Ann has just had her first experience as an assistant. Coaching is another profession. You have to learn the responsibility for a national team. Suddenly you are on the other side of the field. That is not obvious.”
“But I believe in Ann’s potential. She is so wise that she takes the time and builds her career as a coach step by step. We can look to her in the future.”