Talk about Imanol Adán (Portugalete, 1971) It is to do it from the coach of the revelation team of the AA Group of the EBA League, Getxo SBT in which our interviewee celebrates his third season. But Adán is not a new coach, but quite the opposite, with a long career and a good training, he dared to leave his comfort zone to go to train in Catalonia, where he went through several teams, including the Junior of CB L ‘Hospitalet, being declared the best ANGT L’Hospitalet coach in 2013. This training coach who returned to Basque lands, led Santurtzi SK in the EBA League and since he took charge of Getxo SBT three seasons ago he has managed to rise to that same category in which, performing at a superlative level, they are installed in the upper zone with a balance of six victories and a single defeat.
Basketball Zone – It is your third campaign in Getxo, where you arrived the year that the pandemic left unfinished, the following year you rose brilliantly and this season the EBA debut arrives, achieving six victories in the first seven days with a team with hardly any changes . I imagine that you will be very happy with this start.
Imanol Adán – I am very happy, of course, very surprised by the level that the team is giving, but at the same time very aware of the difficulty of the category and being clear that the important thing is to be prepared for when things do not go so well as usual.
ZdB – It seems a cliché, but despite this rate of victories, with six relegations in a group of sixteen teams, is the first thing to ensure permanence and, once achieved, why not dream?
IA – We have been dreaming since the first day [risas]. For many of my players playing at EBA was a dream, imagine seven rounds at the top. Undoubtedly, the only thing we think about is permanence, six relegations is outrageous and many teams with great squads are going to be relegated at the end of the year, so, game by game, that’s how we think about it.
ZdB – One of the secrets of your team, in addition to the spirit of work you have, is the breadth of a squad in which the players know each other and that, with a high level of rotation, the roles and the team are very well determined it already has the automatisms generated. Do you think that this is a strong point?
IA – When we were promoted last year my approach was clear: everyone who wanted to stay had their doors open, after the difficult season to get promoted, it was the least I could offer them. From there, what we signed were players that I knew, who already knew me, had worked with me, knew what I like, what I do not tolerate and how I work. That has helped us to have a certain initial advantage when it comes to being clear about the rules of the game.
ZdB – Another factor that has surprised me about the team is that the players did not have extensive experience in EBA either, except for Iglesias, Ander or Vega, but the category jump has hardly been noticed. Can we talk about the fact that, in this sense, Joseba Iglesias, by physique, quality and experience, acts as a beacon, as a franchise player?
IA – Joseba Iglesias, at 38 years old, I am not going to present it myself. Besides being a player, he is a friend to me. When I signed for Getxo it took him three seconds to tell me “I’m going with you”, despite not having stepped on the first national team in 15 years. He has suffered at the beginning, he has pushed to move up and is a daily example for the rest because of his quality, his knowledge of the game, his desire, his involvement … He is, as you say, the beacon that guides the team, although sometimes he and I have good fights [risas].
ZdB – I also want to dwell on what you can tell us about several young players who are scoring at a great level. I am referring, on the one hand, to the tripler Eder Chávarri and, on the other, to two U22s: Asier González’s work in the paint with a lot of mobility and presence and the self-confidence of Nahuel del Val, who arrived from Bilbao this year.
IA – We signed Eder Chávarri for Santurtzi my last season there, when I was 18 years old. He did a master’s degree alongside people like Mikel Sainz de la Maza or Alex Hernández, who showed him the way. He has improved a lot in defense and is still an incredible shooter, but he is also a great guy, basic to adapt to any group.
Asier González is a home player, he had a brief and negative first experience at EBA. He returned and understood he had to improve physically, technically and his attitude to be able to be at the spectacular level that he is today.
And Nahuel del Val, because he’s a bit of my right eye since I trained him as a cadet in Unamuno. He loves basketball, he’s a smart guy, he’s improving his defense and he’s a great shooter, I’m delighted with him.
ZdB – What does it mean for Getxo that the Raül López basketball school is counting on you to give out young players such as the Canarian junior guard Javier González, who is in the orbit of the Spanish team and has left his comfort zone to already have minutes with you?
IA – Well, the collaboration with Raül was conceived with the former technical director Albert González, he stopped with the pandemic and now it helps a player like Javi González to decide to leave his comfort zone and bet on playing here at EBA , work on their individual improvement with Raül, and opens the door for other young people to see a different option in their improvement. In addition, one of our players, Mikel Fernández, is a coach, also an assistant in that project.
ZdB – With few games in the category, you can see the style of play implemented, but for those who do not know you, what is your proposal?
AI – Our style of play is based on dying in defense, being able to dominate from the defensive 1 × 1, and from there run counterattack, generate advantages arriving and play at high pace. Simple to say, harder to execute every time.
ZdB – Who is your coaching staff made up of and what functions do they perform within the team?
IA – My assistants are Alberto Gutiérrez, veteran coach also responsible for our Senior B, and Joseba Adán, responsible for the communication with the players and the tactical and scouting. In addition, there is the physical trainer Luis Natividad, who is the one who keeps the team in the necessary physical tone to develop our game. Three absolute stars.
ZdB – We know that you are a coach who loves the philosophy of work, despite the fact that in this category the team has the status of amateur. How many days do you train a week? Are there specific sessions?
IA – Well, we maintain the format of three collective training sessions a week, two of them with one hour of specific physical work and two hours of track, and a third day of one and a half hours of track. We are lucky to have a very responsible team in the physical field and they all add physical work in the gym. In addition, with young people more specific individual work is added.
ZdB – I also want to ask you about the club. How many training teams do you have? Do you have any more equipment from the quarry? How do you see the work carried out by the basketball implementation club in Getxo?
IA – Well, due to family issues I can’t run a quarry right now, but I am the technical manager of the Senior part, which includes EBA, Second National and Junior A. We combine players in the different training sessions for the specific improvement of each player. The EBA has a working group of 16 players, for example.
Regarding the club, we are talking about a benchmark club, which is currently in formation for a time of adjustment and restructuring that with patience will bear fruit, I am sure.
ZdB – I want to congratulate you on your ability to broadcast the matches with great quality, score …
IA – This is to the credit above all of the president and his working group, who with limited means make excellent broadcasts. I know that they are closing an agreement with GUUK, a technology company from here, in the Basque Country, to even improve that work.
ZdB – Personally, with the covid issue I thought that the teams that had been encouraged would continue with it, but what we have found is that fewer and fewer teams upload games, broadcast live … What is your opinion on this issue? Don’t you see it as a form of publicity for your sponsors?
IA – For me, it is essential to be able to teach the work you do. Right now we are a club without a sponsor, hopefully someone will cheer up.
ZdB – In an interview years ago you talked about the EBA semi-professional label and that players did not understand the concept of semi-professional player. Can we say that this team is just the opposite and that they are surprising for their attitude?
IA – Indeed, at the time I said that, because players who charged did not understand that responsibility. In Getxo no player gets paid and they are enormously responsible, they have a hunger and an attitude that deserves my respect and my most absolute applause.
ZdB – And regarding you, with your work, your family … Although you already had the experience of an EBA team that takes a long time, how has your return to the category been?
IA – Well now my daughters are going to be 6 years old, the situation is different. They come to watch the games, they already train at basketball school, they ask me, I see them enjoying themselves. That makes the sacrifice different.
ZdB – I don’t want to stop asking someone who has been in basketball for years, How do you see the current EBA, with numerous subgroups and many teams with their corresponding FEB registration fees? Do you like the current system or do you think the idea of a restructuring should be given a spin?
IA – I think that the EBA would have to consider some minimums, some quotas for young people, for example six U22 players, so it would be more attractive to young people and would really serve as a training category. From there, more or less teams, she would self-regulate herself, do not hesitate. And without a doubt, a greater diffusion by the FEB would also help.
ZdB – We let you enjoy the moment, but in the short term future, any idea where Imanol Adán’s is going?
IA – Well look, I live day to day. Fortunately, I do what I want and right now where I want, at home. I am not ruling out anything, but with 50 years and 32 as a coach, it is difficult to move. It is true that this personal ambition is still there, but every time I value the other little things in life more and more. I know it won’t happen, but a couple of years at an American university has always been my dream. And dreaming always helps, right?
ZdB – Thank you very much for your time, Imanol, and good luck for the rest of the season.
IA – Thanks to you for dedicating your time to semi-professionals.
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Speaking with Imanol Adán (Getxo SBT)