Joventut has gone from the double existential condemnation of a year ago, led to the decline and its dissolution, to sporting success with its presence in the Cup and economic viability thanks to an agreement with the City Council and to a main shareholder. Carles Duran (Barcelona, 43 years), a coach forged in his quarry, has driven the team's turn that, after passing through Valencia and Bilbao, returned when they did not even charge their players and their employees. This Friday, the Baskonia is measured (19.00, #Vamos).
Question. He started very young. How did your hobby to train?
Answer. By two different paths. My mother is a rhythmic gymnastics coach. I have lived the sport at home since I was born. I learned a lot from her. He has always taken the work home. And since I was little I followed her and I was going to see championships. The rhythm is a totally different sport, very perfectionist. I guess something has stuck with me. But my sport since childhood has been basketball. I played in the Vilassar de Mar, the club in the city where I was born. A person saw that he had a vocation and since I was 15 years old I started to be part of a technical team. With 19 years, following an injury to a finger, they gave me more prominence and I decided to stop playing and I dedicated myself to training.
P. Prosperó and formed in the quarry of the Joventut and the Prat. After passing through Valencia and Bilbao, last season, he was unemployed. Where was he when he was called by Joventut just a year ago to offer him the job?
R. In Berlin, at Aíto's house. I went there to continue training and grow as a coach, Seeing how Alba Berlin worked. They called me to ask me where I was, what I was doing and if I would be willing to listen to an offer.
P. The situation of Joventut was desperate. Why did you accept?
R. In sports they had bad luck. I found a very well-worked team and, as far as basketball is concerned, I had a very clear idea. Then, I learned many more things about the institutional issue. The players were not charging and that was suffered. It was a great challenge. I was very excited to be able to give something back to a club that has given me almost everything.
P. Did it charge during the first months?
R. No, like everyone else. But it was not the most important thing. The most important thing was to be able to train to feel like a coach again and help a club that had given me everything.
P. I ran the risk of working for nothing.
R. They assured me that the situation would be solved, as it has been. In this aspect Juanan (Morales, club president) He has fulfilled what he told me. With me, the Joventut behaves ten.
P. How can you demand players who do not charge?
R. It is true that they are professionals and they play to earn money, like everyone in their work. But we also practice a sport that should be our hobby. I told them that what we can not control is not in our hands, what is in our hands is to train, play, have fun and try to win, which is what we needed. That nobody could say that we had not tried or wanted it.
P. Win and, in addition, play well.
R. At the beginning it was not easy, and we did not win. It's true that I'm a bit stubborn. I give everyone a ten because they believed in me. And in the end, when we got the first win, it was a wheel. The key was to play basketball well. I imposed my style, my way of being. For me the essence is to play well. If you do things right, in the end you end up winning or positive things happen. It is what happened to us.
Neither I nor anyone charged in the first months, but Joventut had given me a lot and wanted to give it back
P. How did you convince the players?
R. We are a club that has a history that is basketball, we represent a city and an institution and above all we are the model for many children. When we talk about Penya, we talk about young people, good basketball, quarry, a way of living different from others, which are neither better nor worse, but have different structures. I wanted to convey that if this thing died, sportingly speaking, many boys and girls were lost, and a way of seeing and doing basketball. Because in the end, everyone talks about the Penya and remembers players, but above all remember their way of playing: aggressive, cheerful, fun. We have to live what this club is, know what we are and get involved in this great family. The fact of coming to train and see that before there are children training and the children themselves who then see how you train … It is very special. And many of those children are now part of this team, and it has always been that way. Albert Ventura entered with eight or nine years and now he is the captain. A Rudy Fernández We went looking for him with 12 or 13 years old and he triumphed here. A Villacampa … And as an equal coach. I have seen great teachers here. The year I arrived was Alfred Julbe, then Manel Comas, Aíto, and others I saw on TV: Zeljko Obradovic, Lolo Sainz, Pedro Martínez… We are a very different and peculiar club.
P. He likes to propose small challenges to his players.
R. Yes. It's my thing, personal. First it was, to see if we won a game away from home that I think we had been almost two years without getting it; A small challenge, but achievable. Then, to see if we win two games in a row, or win a team that has won us in the first round. I was not looking for something that the player thinks is very difficult or far, no, real things that can happen to us in three days.
P. And individual challenges.
R. Challenges small or exciting. I remember that Jerome Jordan (American pivot, now in the Androrra) was very important to us, but little by little he had lost prominence. He needed us to help us especially in a game against Zaragoza. I asked him to take more than eight rebounds. I think he picked 11. Sometimes I do not get everything I suggest, but I think it's going well.
P. And before the Cup?
R. Also. Of course. We know that if we win, we continue; and if not, for home. Within that there are small challenges that can help us. I can not propose a match like the one against the Baskonia in 40 minutes. We will generate small situations, that if they leave us, they will generate others. Life in general are many challenges, I today, in my day, I have many challenges right? And I think it can be achieved and luckily I have the positive response.
P. But the differences seem to be growing, and in the Cup, there are fewer and fewer surprises.
The differences are abysmal, but why not repeat the 2008 and win the Baskonia
R. I am clear that there is an increasingly abysmal difference, especially between the teams of the Euroleague and Joventut. We could talk economically, socially, in many aspects. But the Cup is a match, 40 minutes. It is clear that, right now, the Baskonia is the favorite. He has everything, potential, hobby … but in 40 minutes we can make things change. Basketball is a sport in which many things can happen. Sometimes … I remember being part of the team when we played in Vitoria (the Cup in 2008). And it is true that Penya was playing very well, but there was Barça, Madrid, Baskonia. And we reached the final against the Baskonia, with everything a pavilion much closer to the Baskonia. And we got it. Why not repeat. I'm not talking about winning the title, which is very far away, but it's about winning the Baskonia.
P. It interests you how to work mentally and psychologically in other sports as well. What has impressed you?
R. Within my experiences, when I was in Valencia, we lived with Pedro Martínez with a sports psychologist who came from other sports such as motorcycling and tennis. I was very hooked. His name is Octavio (Álvarez). When I came back here, I found a person, Jordi Balaguer, who is a coach, but he helps me not so much in technique or tactics but gives me another point of view. I have noticed Guardiola, in Valverde, in Rafael Nadal, in water polo, gymnastics trainers. Each sport and each dynamic are different. And it is not the same to have a group of six athletes who are working for eight hours looking for perfection because if they drop the tape, it is a failure. I'm in love with this kind of connections and affinities, and I'm doing fine.
P. Use videos, books, music …
R. Everything can be applied. There are other teachers like Aito who poses mathematical and geography problems to their players. Insists that the player must continue training. I like to get to the player and not only be all basketball. The video and the music arrive a lot.
P. Does a leader have the Penya? Should the coach be?
R. I think there must be different leaders. I think I'm one of them. But I like that there are also others, inside the dressing room, on the court, work leaders … there are many types of leaders. It is true that two or three players stand out publicly and it must remain that way. It seems good to me that everyone stands out Nico (Laprovittola) or to Marko (Todorovic) because they are remarkable. But there are other leaders who do not see each other. I always talk about the players of the house, Albert Ventura who is the captain, or Josep Nogués, who seems to have less prominence but is a key player. In the end this is a team what is happening to us is thanks to many people and they all have their importance.
P. Do not you feel nostalgia for the crowds at the Badalona Olympic?
R. I am one of those who was there enjoying the Euroleague, Aito, Rudy, Ricky… but that's over. Can not be. But what we are generating, I do not say that it is neither better nor worse, but it is different, something that is also good. The club, at one time, very bad has survived. And the team based on hard work and again a new generation of young people again excited. I would like people to come back to enjoy, not thinking what we had been but what we can be.
P. But, to which they have a player that stands out, they take it away.
R. In the end it is the cycle of life of the Penya; unfortunately, on the one hand, but, on the other, how wonderful !, because it means that another will come out again. If Ricky, Rudy or Pau Ribas were for life would be amazing. But it would not be real because we do not have that economic power to keep them, but the fact that they left allowed Alberto Abalde, or Guillem Vives, or Albert Ventura or others to leave. It is the law of life of the Penya. And how beautiful that is. What we do have to do is try to get these players to leave when the Penya is up, not as it happened, unfortunately and because of the economic situation of the club, that they left when they had not yet exploded and had not yet finished helping that the club and the team were competitive.
P. It is a blind faith.
R. It's that this is the Penya. It is what I have learned. I know that when there are injuries I have to look down. And when one leaves, surely the quarry has made me another, I am convinced.