Jordi Fernández: “Taking small steps makes everything more solid” | Sports


The Spanish men’s basketball team faces this Thursday (9:30 p.m., La 2), in Granada and against Canada, the penultimate match of preparation for the World Cup that will be held in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines from August 25 to September 10 (the last test before flying to Jakarta will be on Saturday against the Dominican Republic). The Canadian bench has a Spanish accent. At the end of June, the 40-year-old Jordi Fernández from Badalona was named coach of the North American team. It is a new step in the career of this coach who comes from his first season as first assistant in the Sacramento Kings, the highest position ever reached by a Spaniard on an NBA bench.

Ask. How did you get the offer from Canada?

Answer. It was kind of fast. With so little time left before the start of the World Cup, it was an easy decision to make because it is a unique opportunity. I needed the approval of my family, my wife, and Sacramento. He had had previous contact because there was a possibility that the coach [Nick Nurse] I could not continue due to labor issues, due to a contract with a new team. He went by fast and I couldn’t let him go.

P. How is Canada?

R. It is a young project. Everything has been surprisingly positive, from the organization to the resources, the people I work with and especially the players. They are a very talented group but have no experience in FIBA ​​basketball. They want to make a solid project that will last many years. There is a lot of talent, but success is not something that happens overnight. We compete for everything, but our goal is to build something solid for the long term.

P. Is talent not enough?

R. Correct. Adding individual talent is not a guarantee of success. We are very good defensively, and our maximum commitment is to create a team, with the right chemistry, that competes. It will not be something perfect because in other teams you can see how well they are combined. We are committed match by match to opt for that level.

P. Is it a great personal challenge?

R. Yes, it is a challenge and above all a pride. When you coach a national team, you have a country behind you and that makes it more special, for having trusted me. They have received me in an unbeatable way and my goal is to earn that confidence that they have given me, and I can do that with a lot of work and with results. I have to give it back.

P. How has your first year as a first assistant in the NBA been?

R. A year that if I could have drawn it on paper it would have been like this. We broke a historical record without being in Sacramento in the playoffs [17 años] and above all we played an attractive game, with a young team and a lot of room for improvement. I also have to give them back that trust with work.

P. Were you approached to be head coached in Toronto?

R. Yes. I had interviews with three different teams. Toronto was one of them. In the end, each team makes their decisions and I am very happy with where I am. If the opportunity to be a head coach in the NBA is to come, it will come. Now I’m worried about the World Cup and then Sacramento.

P. Do you follow your philosophy of following step by step to give the next one?

R. Yes. When in your career the steps are shorter, everything is more solid, there is more balance. I think I’ve already gone through many steps and this is one more. What happens later does not matter to me a little bit as long as I continue to grow in my work and I am happy with what I do.

Q. Do you think that in Spain you are a bit unknown?

R. I do not know and the truth is not something that worries me much. I do my job by vocation, not to be known. In the professional world, I do have a good relationship with the clubs, coaches and the federation. At other levels it is less important to me. Being better known or not in Spain does not make me a better or worse coach.

P. He was in the Spanish team as an assistant in the 2017 Eurobasket. What is it like to work with Sergio Scariolo?

R. The best thing I’ve done in my career. He is one of my mentors. I have a lot of professional and personal respect for him. I am always in contact with him and for me his opinion in many of the things that happen to me in my career is very important. He is not Spanish but he has helped Spanish basketball and Spanish coaches a lot. For me he has been an example to go to Canada and contribute.

P. What stands out most about him?

R. Scariolo is methodology and leadership. He is a person who pays great attention to detail and that in the end is seen in his teams, how specific they are in many things. And the leader he is. In recent years, Spain has lost great references, they said that it would no longer be the same, and it has continued to compete and win. This comes from the leader of the group that he is and the confidence in his players to compete and win. What he has done in recent years is incredible.

P. What is the great strength of the Spanish team?

R. Spain is an example that more than a selection is a team. In basketball you have to create a team, that’s how you’re stronger, when all the players have a specific role, each one is a star in his role, working for everyone. This generates the potential to get the most out of the group. Spain achieves it from the absolute to the inferiors.

P. What does the Ricky Rubio case tell you?

R. You have to understand that we are all people. It doesn’t matter what you do and what status you have. We all have to put ourselves on the same level and respect the value of mental health. Ricky has been able to lean on his own and tell it. The worst is not opening. Ricky is an example for many other people.

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