George Filkinis is a Greek basketball coach with over 30 years of experience. He has won 11 titles as a head coach and 6 as an assistant coach. He has coached teams like Marousi, Asteras BC, AO Arion, Irakleion, AO Sporting, Achilles Cyprus, Panathinaikos Cyprus, and AO Lamias. He has coached 680 official games and his record is 477 ( 70,15%) wins and 203 (20,85%). He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
George where are you at moment and thanks for talking to German Hoops. Have you been watching the Euro qualifying? There have been many upsets and surprises. England lost to Iceland and Bosnia And Russia is also 0-2. What has been your impression of the games. Why have their been so many upsets?
Nice to talk to you Miles and I’m glad to communicate again with my basketball friends via the German Hoops .At moment I’m on vacation , relaxing and enjoying the sun and the sea , as the proposals for cooperation that I had , not covered my coaching ambitions and “concerns” !I hope to find something reliable and “tempting” later and after the beginning of the National Champioships in Europe .Sure I’m watching with great interest and attention the Euro qualifying and I’m not surprised at all with the results.I have in time publicly placed and I hope you remember it, that the European basketball map begun to change , as creating new correlations and the distances between the good national teams and the less good teams , continually dwindle !And this happens not only because Austria, Iceland or Poland suddenly improved so much, but because also teams like Russia, Greece or Germany ceased to be as strong as they were in the past.It is clear the “downhill” of the long-standing strong national teams and I will try to explain why .First of all the “fall” of each group I believe is due to different reasons For example in Greece some people believed that came the time to create a new national team and “cut” finally 9 players for different reasons and always with the consent of the national coach ! Personally, I’m firmly against this measure which I characterized and I continue to characterize it as a “stupid” move , even though if Greece will be the next World Champion !The renewals in all team sports become gradually and not with such improvisation ! In Greece also seems that the members of the Federation of Basketball are not particularly “worried” for the failures of the young national teams in all corresponding competitions and despite their amazing physical skills ! You see the financial crisis is the best alibi for some to hide their responsibilities and their shortage !
Let us talk about Germany. I don´t know if you caught an yof the first games of Germany.Germany has NBA player Dennis Schroeder and a few guys with NBA experience and Summer league experience. They have nice talent, but still haven´t found their true rhythm . Where does one need to examine where the problem is? Is it the coaching of more the fact that Germany doesn´t have the sufficient leaders on the court to lead the team for 40 minutes?
The situation Miles of the German national team is a little different than the situation of Greece. According to the FIBA World ranking for the year 2013 the National team of Germany gets the 14th position in the world basketball. But I don’t think that there is even ONE who believes that this place is worthy of the German basketball.
Personally I’m not accepting to see the National team of Germany to be in this low level ! It doesn’t deserve to be in this place.Let’s have a look to Germany’s roster. Akeem Vargas of Berlin , average participation in the last championship 11 minutes, Heiko Schaffartzik of Munich , average participation in the last championship 19 minutes, Karsten Tadda of Bamberg less than 10 minutes per game, Lucca Staiger of Munich less than 12 minutes per game, Robin Benzing of Munich less than 15 minutes per game, Elias Harris of Bamberg less than 13 minutes per game. If I persist with the rest players of the German National team you will see that only few have participation more than 20 minutes per game. So what can Dennis Schroeder do when all of his teammates haven’t the required experience, since they don’t play well enough even in their teams and in their National Championship? Even more so what can coach Emir Mutapcic do when almost the total of his players lack the needed playing time in their group? And finally how to create a reliable and strong National team with “untested materials”? If you look at the roster of a team of the BBL, you will find there 5, 6, 7 and even 8 American or other nationalities players which is a fact really incredible. So how can German players get minutes if even in Pro B and in Regionaliga you will find Americans and generally foreigners ? And if the German player finally is “lucky” playing in a team , how long does he have participation in the games? Besides it is known that the player doesn’t improves himself only via training but via his participation in official games also. Here lies and the great responsibility of the basketball federation which doesn’t impose restrictions on the importation of the big number of foreign players in its Championships. Here one could argue that in all the countries of Europe something similar happens with foreign players, but I’m sure that certainly is the case in Germany is distinctive and perhaps unique as we face an incredible influx of foreign players even in the lower leagues. So the coach of the German National team has to select the players who will join the team among players who are the most in their teams are typically substitutes of the Americans and have fewer game experiences. And under such conditions and circumstances the failure of the team is expected. At this point I want to emphasize that I am not against ALL American players but against the binge invading of Americans and foreigners players generally against the indigenous. But it is obvious that some people are more interested for the temporary successes and ignore the product itself the game basketball. And unfortunately such planning and actions has resulted in the deterioration of the National Basketball Team.
So coach you insist that the German teams have part of responsibility for the bad image of the National team ?
Yes Miles some teams have a huge part of responsibility for the “misery” of their National team. And some coaches who “works” for these teams also.
Your National team composed mostly of players belonging to Bayern and Bamberg primarily and secondly to Artland and Alba.They belong in other words to teams that have as their main goal the entrance into the final 4 and the claiming of the championship. So the coaches of these teams are “forced” to train their teams for this purpose. They are “forced” by whom ? By their teams of course not by someone else and at this point I want to make a question. Who really is considered a successful coach according to the view of the majority the coach who claims and wins titles or the other one who make players known? I believe that the most prefer to have the coach who will give titles to their team ignoring the rest which are details. But regardless of what the majority wants I believe that a “good” professional coach can and should do simultaneously both to win titles and to establish new players ready to help the National team through his targeted work and his basketball program. Unfortunately the imperfect knowledge and selfishness of some team managers combined with the arrogance of some coaches are responsible for the situation of your National team.
I believe also that is a big trivialization to know that in your team you have the point guard or the swing man of the National team and to give them only 15 minutes time to play against Rasta or Wuerzburg while you keep in the game your American players giving them the opportunity to make points and to sign a better contract the next year. I think that things will be difficult to change as the logic of “easy money” is fully established. In other words, all the goals are achievable if you work hard and planned but few will actually transpire on the field and have dedicated their lives to basketball. In basketball there are not “sacred cows” and those who trample on the floor should always be judged.
Summarizing coach you believe that the German basketball should reduce the large and uncontrolled influx of foreign players to work more serious in the groups and to provide opportunities for German players?
Not only “opportunities ” but much playing time and trust. Hard and quality workouts first, trust second and much playing time third are the keys. According to my opinion and philosophy the basic structure of a group should be composed of local players. And the choice of foreign players must cover specific gaps and weaknesses. The issue of selection of foreign players is very serious and should be done with great care and aims to cover exclusively the needs of the group. Perhaps some will reasonably wonder and believe that since they have the ability to “fill up” their roster with good foreign players, they will enhance the capacity of their team also. But this is a big mistake. Many good players in a group more often create more problems just with their presence as they are called to do useful but “dirty things in a team’s play which they never did in their career. And these particular useful roles is possible to play the most local players who may lack in talent than some foreign players. So I think that the team that has a trunk of well controlled local players and enhanced by good quality and cooperative foreign players can achieve the overstepping.
Finishing coach I would like you to tell us a little about you and about your way of coaching.
It is known that for about 18 years I “serve” a particular style of play The basic thought that created the entire offensive philosophy of the “Basketball in the fast lines” is purely a matter of probabilities. The more efforts to make shots from your opponent the more chances you have to beat him if you are simply able to maintain a minimally “acceptable” accuracy. And when we are talking about shooting “efforts” obviously are needed more possessions of the ball than our opponents. As when we are talking about “shots” we mean “open” shots and from specific spots. So when the 99% of the basketball coaches in all over the world are “teaching” their players offensive “systems” and “plays” to face all the possible game situations , general and specific , depriving them the creation and the initiative , we “teach” our team how to create “possessions” and “open shots” in 3 seconds with the help of the basketball fundamentals and mathematics. This style of play, has nothing to do with the “common” running game that some teams use at times and if you “adopt” it once you CAN NEVER COME BACK. If you follow this , first of all , you will not be popular. This is a “radical change” and people don’t like radical changes Your fellow coaches , administrators and fans will dislike you. Because it’s too hard for anyone to understand. For example why you are still running when you are up 15 and there are 4 minutes to go in the game and you don’t delay the game. They can’t understand that it’s impossible to “stop” your team. Even the officials will absolutely dislike you because you make them work too hard. So why we do this ? Because it works , has great results , makes your team solid and almost unbeatable and personally I don’t give a damn if they like me or not , if they hate me or not , when my team runs and strangles the opponent. I don’t give a damn also, because my job is to find “ways” to make my team to win the games and this kind of basketball “proven” is the best I ever had. The philosophy of the “basketball in the fast lines” is that we run on every situation. Turnovers ,steals, defensive rebounds, made shots, missed shots, loose balls, up 20, down 20. Non stop running.I’m a strong believer in what Sun Tzu writes in his book ” the Art of War”. “When you prepare everywhere you will be weak everywhere. So we don’t spend our time in practices to teach our team what to do against personal defenses or zone defenses. Our fast break is all that we do, we run it and that’s it. We have no zone offense as I said earlier, no press offense, no secondary offense, no delay offense. We do one thing and the players know we do one thing and they believe in what we do because they have no choice. They have no choice because there’s no alternative. We have a 7- second offense on missed shots. If we get the defensive rebound we like to shoot the ball within 7 seconds. On made shots we have a 3 – second offense. We will get the ball out of the net and shoot within 3 seconds. It takes us 7 seconds to get a shot if the opponents miss and 3 seconds if they make it. Our main goal is to get 100 shots a game when our team is ready. We are more interested for shots and points than in anything else and when we get a lot of points , we usually win .
We never but never use “scouting” we don’t waste our time to analyze our opponents way of play. Our assistant coaches and all our staff works hard for our team. And in most games we don’t call time outs, we don’t need them as we haven’t anything to say and our players know very well what to do and they have to do only one thing. Deeper than that if a team is scoring on us the worst thing for us to do is to call timeout because we need the clock running to do our game. Dead time hurts us stop our pace and gives breaths to the opponents. About me personally Miles what to say? I’m just ready to play the game the way I like and to face all the surprises that only basketball can give.
Thank you coach Filkinis for this interview and for all the answers
and the information you gave us.
I have to thank you and German Hoops also for this opportunity and I hope that the teams will offer a great spectacle to the fans and the German basketball to rapidly identify and get back to leading positions it deserves in Europe.
coach George P. Filkinis
Skype name : geo_filk
Mobile phone : 6972-393-444
Home phone : 210-613-6669
Office phone : 210-804-1333
Facebook : Coach George P. Filkinis