Igor Kokoskov: This a great honor for me and my family. I’m happy that I will be the head coach of the Serbian national team. I know very well how much the people from Serbia love and support the national team. Also, I know what are the standards for results that were created by generations of coaches and players before us. The fans’expectations of our national team are always huge, and ambitions of players and coaches are always greatest. I am very well aware of that. Every coach from our region dream about becoming a national team head coach one day.
My main motive to go for this job is strong personal emotion and a wish to, after 20 years in NBA and more than 10 years in FIBA with other national teams, finally, go back to where I’ve started – in Serbia. With that being said, for me, the head coach of a national team can’t compare to any other sports challenge until now. Details of our contract are not secret, but they shouldn’t be the priority like they weren’t a priority for me when I signed the contract. My coaching philosophy is that every successful team is built on the creativity and capability of players of that team. In Serbia, we never lacked basketball talent. So my job as a head coach will be to prepare players, to help them and make decisions in the best interest of a team. Players that I’ve worked with know that for me “the success of a team is thanks to the players and coaches are only taking the responsibility”.
Serbian national team will be based on our best players that are able to play and want to wear national team jersey. My first assignment will be to make initial contact with all the potential players of our national team. We have two stages in front of us: two games in February window as a part of Eurobasket qualifiers, and the Olympic qualifying tournament in June in Belgrade. Since players from Euroleague and the NBA will not be able to participate in windows, we will put an accent on players that are free in that period.
Although we live on different continents, in the 21st century, in the world of technology, I know that most of my free time I will spend in front of the computer, watching games from Europe and on a phone, talking to the players and my coaching staff. It’s nothing new for me…
In the end, I would like to thank the Serbian basketball federation for the trust and determination to work with me. Also, I want to thank the organization of Sacramento Kings for the support to let me be with the Serbian national team although I have a lot of duties here. I can promise that I will put all of my experience, knowledge, and energy for a national team with a desire to succeed.