via FIBA, While Spain’s 2019 carnival started in Belgrade, where they won the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2019. The girls won bronze at the U16s and FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup, and claimed two fifth-place finishes in U18s and U20s, with an overall record of 29-5 in women’s game. Unlucky defeats in Quarter-Finals of U18s and U20s stopped them from getting what seemed to be a well deserved medal in both of those events.
But there was hardly a misstep in the men’s part of the equation. Spain won the FIBA U16 European Championship in Italy, won the FIBA U18 European Championship in Greece, and lost the Final of the FIBA U20 European Championship in Israel, to the hands of the hosts, led by their dynamic duo of Deni Avdija and Yam Madar.
The crowning moment of a perfect summer came in China. A clean sweep of eight wins during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 meant that Spain – and we had to double and triple check this – lost just one of 29 games in men’s competitions this summer! Only Israel put out the Spanish fire during the heat wave of 2019.
“I love to see that the whole system, the whole group of our teams is working along the same lines, from the academy or U12 and U13 teams all the way to the first team. We are progressive throughout the scene. Our philosophy, entering the youth teams and every category upwards, was that the base of the system is the same,” Sergio Scariolo explained.
Not only is he the coach of the new world champions, but Scariolo is also the technical coordinator for Spanish youth teams. The system is obviously a well-oiled machine, and 2019 will be forever remembered in the history of Baloncesto Espana.
“This year has been a good year,” Scariolo said during the FIBA U18 European Championship, which he watched from the front row in Volos, Greece, “But the results aren’t our main concern. Our main concern is to develop players and try to get them ready for the first team.”
But the problem for the rest of the world is that Spain are just getting started with their domination. Words that Scariolo had during the World Cup should really send shivers down the spines of every other nation around the world, or at least down the spines of those who want to end the Spanish reign.
“I would say that winning feeds the ability to keep winning. The more Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals, Finals you play and fortunately the more you win, the more you know how to do it. How to manage it and how to win it. Knowing when it is the right time to hit them strong. Some of our players – not many of them this year with this team – but some of our players have been in many of those games. And they are great leaders for the rest of the players,” Spain head coach elaborated in Beijing.
“We have some middle age players whom they are helping and we have a couple of young talented players who are learning. And this is how we foresee our future. These guys will end their careers sooner or later – hopefully later. But hopefully these life lessons that they are giving to their teammates will help our basketball to continue to be competitive even when the top talents will eventually end their careers.”