Coach Josep Claros was interviewed by Bahraini journalist Raed Ayoob from Alayam newspaper,
1. How do you describe your coaching career with Muharraq Club this season? It was an intense experience. We were the youngest team and more aggressive team offensively and defensively speaking even the club has lost several key players from the past season.we always competed and show tougness. We couldn't participate in the federation cup because we were only 4-5 players in the first 90 days.We developed a group of players who didnt have minutes but they were giving their best every day, every practice. At the end we were 16 players every day, and all of them working individually technically or physically 1 hour before practice. We showed great progression and we were clearly a team who can win all without depending just with 1 or 2 names. We were a team.
2. What was the main target for the team this season? Have they told you before you start coaching the team about the club's target? Always the goal is to win. They never talked with me about targets before I signed because it was an offer who came through my agent and when I saw the potential I considered as a clear option to win a title in Asia, a continent that I'm missing. I have won in 3 different continents so my target was win here in Asia and another in Africa with Egypt National Team in 2015-2016. With me, nobody need to tell me what is the team goal, because is something that I select before sign. I knew we were not the best ones but I knew what the team needs to win and how we ould reach the championship. We finnish first stage in first position with only 1 lost. And we qualify for the Cup final 4 and league Final 4 with 2 games in advance before finish the regular competition.
3. How do you find the local players performance compared with other locals from other teams? I can't compare my local players with the other ones from opponent teams because most of them they don't have playing time. Bahrain can have easily 2 National Teams with the same quality. The main problem is that from 7 to 12 player in each roster they don't play. That means that in 5 years all of them they would stop playing. If you count you have 11 teams we are talking about around 50 players that will quit sooner or later if the philosophy don't change. Imagine the young ones what kind of vision can see. Our players showed that with work and mentality you can win against the best talented like Manama or Alhy, even analizing that except 3 players most of them they have been without playing time and quality minutes for years.
4. Everyone wants to know one thing and one thing important, why did you insist of the Canadian professional player rather than replace him with another? And how do u evaluate his performance with the team? When you only can play with one import you need to signed somebody who can play in 3 positions. This is very difficult to find. I saw we have Galhi, Monea, Rabeea, and we we were waiting for Shukralla (who only played 2 games for us). Without counting the 15 rebounds per game than Tyrone Watson got per game, among this 3 togheter we have always a total of 20 points and 12 rebounds from this 3 plus changing positions with Ramadan and Alex. So our 5 was close to 20 and 12 plus 15 fouls to use. A part of that, their intensity in defense was always higher than the opponent import player. If you sign a top center you can have maybe same points or rebounds and maybe 4 blocks per game but never the commitment and hard worked that our players gave that don't appear in the stats. We were bigger than our teams on the 2, on the 3 and in the 4. That was our advantage. One game Alex had 18 rebounds in 22 min. playing in the 3 psoition.A part of that we were missing low post game. Watson is special low post player. Against the press he always was the reference because he can pass and we missed a pure pg. He started firsts game with 38 ppg. He scored 50 to Hala, 44 and 40 to Manama, etc...When he droped to 18 and 17 rebounds he become the best in assists (6) and our shooters start to get extra points because all the teams trap him. He always practice hard and was a good teammate who is crucial for me. If you can't not make better players to your teammates you don't deserve teammates.
5. We saw that the management of the team, somehow, are interfere with your work, by asking u to replace the professional player and other things, is that true? If so, how do u describe their attitude and cooperation with you during your presence? My relationship with management always was with Shaikh Mohammed, Shaikh Abdulrahman and Khaled J. They always were following the team with interest and positive. At the beginning they were not believing that our players could develop as they did and later they realised we had real options to win this season. They never interfere in my decisions because on the floor I was in control of that and they always respected that. When they thought that the team need to replace the import we had a meeting and I explained why we should keep Watson. They all agreed and accept my explanation. After that they extended the time to change the import. One day, in the most important week of the season so far (Cup Final four, first game), they informed me that the day after will bring another import. I told them I don't accept that. I told them that if they take this decision I will take my decision as well because this was a technical and tactical decision that affect not just a player but almost to other 4...and as a coach im the one who knows what the team need. They told me everybody played with a center as import and I told them we were different. Muharraq with me played like everywhere in the world except here. Even Golden State Warriors his taller player is 2.02 and the other 4 they are small. But they have seen this rutine here forever, so it was difficult for them to understand what I proposed. Sometimes one comment can destroy the team and some people always tried to get inside the locker room, but I'm very loyal to the team spirit and all what it represent. Except on this they always supported me. They told me we can sign any player you want, bring the one you want, no limit in the budget, so they supported on this way and I appreciated that, because they were thinking that was the team need... But the real support is a different thing. Support is to back up the coach decision if your coach thinks that is the best for the team.
6. We heard rumors that you got some offers from association to coach the national team, as well as some offer from another club, how true is that? I cant have an opinion about what the other people says or talk. Rumors can be everywhere but I don't have Facebook, instagram, and unfortunately i cant read newspapers or understand Arabic so I'm far from all of that.
7. If u remained as a coach at muharraq team, how long do u think the team needs to compete for the titles? The way we worked and develop it was enough to win something with this players and the roles and minutes I gave to everyone. In the cup we already showed we dominated the hole game to Manama and lost in the OT...so winning by one the following 2 games we were for sure the toughest opponent to play with in the final. Our players and fans believed on that 100 %.
8. During your coaching career with muharraq team, which opponent you find it the most challenging in the season? We all know we were not the most talented team so every game was a challenge for us. We always focus to win our opponent no matter who was and try to get better as a team game by game. So the challenge was always with ourselves. We lack some defensive quality in the 1 and 2 positions and the best teams are better there, so we were using several tactics to hide our weaknesses against the best with the performance of all our players. Always with press defense and up tempo game over 110 possession per game. To do that i need rotation so I don't exclude a player for his young age if he can help. All the teams have different level of qualities, but every player has something special to offer to the team and he must work on that to help the team on the best way he can help. I always believe in a team concept where everybody is important so I tried to be fair with players work and they always know what I expect from them not just in games but in practices.
9. Do you think that a return to Bahrain is possible for you? Or no way back? At this time my priority is to set the family in Barcelona and enjoy parents and friends. I have been coaching in 11 countries in my carrear with 15 finnals so always staying long period of time abroad until the end of competition...so this time is perfect to evaluate the next step. I don't know what will be in the future but for one side I'm an expensive coach and for the other I just select a job where I can feel i can have success...and for that I need to know always the people who is in charge and their mentality, ambition, etc. Everybody wants to win but not everybody is ready to work for winning... so the dutie now is to find the right one.
10. Any last words for the team players and Muharraq fans? I would like to thank first to my players for their true commitment and effort during this month's. Also my staff for the hours of dedication and analysis. At the end to the fans who were always very nice with me and even opponent fans who enjoyed our style. Thanks to all of you, i learnt a lot from you. I only have good words for muharraq and Bahrain.
AL HALA registered a surprise 84-82 win over Manama in the Golden Square stage of the Basketball League at the Khalifa Sports City Hall in Isa Town. The quarter results were 19-18 (Manama) 23-15 (Al Hala) 21-18 (Al Hala) 30-22 (Manama) The game was the first of two matches to decide the team who will qualify for the final. Al Hala started the game with a line-up consisting of Hussain Salman, Hasan Gerashi, Ahmed Jamal, Yasser Bunafoor and Loren Woods (218-C-78, college: Arizona). Al Manam... [read more]
AL HALA registered a surprise 84-82 win over Manama in the Golden Square stage of the Basketball League at the Khalifa Sports City Hall in Isa Town. The quarter results were 19-18 (Manama) 23-15 (Al Hala) 21-18 (Al Hala) 30-22 (Manama) The game was the first of two matches to decide the team who will qualify for the final. Al Hala started the game with a line-up consisting of Hussain Salman, Hasan Gerashi, Ahmed Jamal, Yasser Bunafoor and Loren Woods (218-C-78, college: Arizona). Al Manama's line-up consisted of Mohammed Hussain, Mohammed Kuwaied, Ahmed Aziz, Nikoloz Nikoloz Tskitishvili (212-C/F-83, agency: Interperformances) and Mohammed Qurban (187-F-87). Manama were the first scoring side through Kuwaied but Al Hala took the lead quickly afterwards by a three-point shot from Gerashi. Manama extended their lead to three through Hussain before going on in the quarter to lead by eight. Al Hala, however, fought back hard to end the quarter trailing by only one point. Al Hala started the second quarter in strong fashion quickly taking the lead away from Manama to lead by seven points. The third quarter saw the winners extend their lead to 10 points. The real action was in the fourth quarter as Manama put in a fight to get back into the game. They got so close by closing the gap early into the quarter but their offensive approach helped Al Hala punish them by scoring from their weakest of chances. The last four minutes saw Nawrooz score a three pointer to trail by four points. Kuwaied also scored a three-point shot to drop the margin to just one point with two minutes to play. They managed to tie the score through Hussein who scored one from a two-free shots which he was awarded. Al Hala's Woods quickly gave his side a two-point lead with a magnificent dunk before adding in a free shot from a personal foul by Najaf. The last seconds of the game saw Kuwaied miss two free throws as Al Hala went on to score a precious win. Al Hala's Jamal topped the scoring ranks for his side with 20 points while Manama's Nikoloz Tskitishvili topscored for his team with 21 points. Al Ahli will face Muharraq today at 7pm at the Khalifa Sports City Hall in their first game of the Golden Square stages. Courtesy of: gdnonline.com
Al Hidaya (D1) signed 28-year old American guard Ray Mitchell (201-95kg-89, college: CS Stanislaus). He started the season at Samaheej in Bahrain Premier League. The last summer Mitchell played at Caboolture Suns (State League) in Australia. He is quite experienced player. Mitchell has played on five different continents (Europe, Asia, Latin America, Australia and of course North America). He has played previously professionally in Germany (Westfalen Mustangs), Mexico (Soles), ABA (IE Inv... [read more]
Al Hidaya (D1) signed 28-year old American guard Ray Mitchell (201-95kg-89, college: CS Stanislaus). He started the season at Samaheej in Bahrain Premier League. The last summer Mitchell played at Caboolture Suns (State League) in Australia. He is quite experienced player. Mitchell has played on five different continents (Europe, Asia, Latin America, Australia and of course North America). He has played previously professionally in Germany (Westfalen Mustangs), Mexico (Soles), ABA (IE Invaders) and NEBA (Los Angeles R.). Mitchell is a former Eurobasket Summer League player, which is considered top international summer league on the market. He attended Cal.St.-Stanislaus until 2013 and it is his fourth season as a professional player.
Elliott comes back to Brujos Izalco, ex Al Bahrain - 11 days ago
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Brujos Izalco (Liga MB) strengthened their roster with addition of 26-year old American center Travis Elliott (203-104kg-91, college: Beth.-Cookman). It is actually his comeback to Izalco as he has played here before. Elliott He played recently at Al Bahrain in Bahrain Premier League. The last summer Elliott was tested by Brujos Izalco. He helped them to win the league title. Great season indeed as he was awarded Latinbasket.com All-El Salvador Liga Mayor Center of the Year and voted to 1... [read more]
Brujos Izalco (Liga MB) strengthened their roster with addition of 26-year old American center Travis Elliott (203-104kg-91, college: Beth.-Cookman). It is actually his comeback to Izalco as he has played here before. Elliott He played recently at Al Bahrain in Bahrain Premier League. The last summer Elliott was tested by Brujos Izalco. He helped them to win the league title. Great season indeed as he was awarded Latinbasket.com All-El Salvador Liga Mayor Center of the Year and voted to 1st Team. Elliott graduated from Bethune-Cookman College in 2015 and it is his second season in pro basketball.
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