Some days ago it was officially over the cycle of Sergio Hernandez on the Argentine basketball team. There were six high-flying seasons, with a team that was always the protagonist and that, in the hours that were presumed darkest after leaving the staff of the Golden Generation, ended up achieving one of the greatest achievements in history. However, it is time for renewal. And the man who will stand on the other side of the parquet line will be Nestor Che Garcia.
Some details are still being defined regarding what will be the final coach’s contract, but the talks have already happened, the agreement between the CAB and the coach it is a fact and in the course of this week or at the latest early next week, everything should be settled for the formal announcement.
The end of the road Sheep seemed marked since December 2019, when Federico Susbielles, then head of the Argentine Basketball Confederation, He had to get out of the election because he did not have the necessary delegates to appear in the electoral contest. So it was that he assumed Fabian Borro, until then president of the Club Association, and the cards were thrown.
Because Hernández had been one of the first defenders of the Susbielles management and had not hesitated when it came to support it publicly when it was presumed that there would be an election.
Beyond these differences, both the coach and the leadership had the good sense and maturity to collaborate with each other and to carry on a respectful relationship and on good terms. One of the biggest examples of this was Borro’s decision to accept a previous tour to the Olympic Games by USA, as they wanted the coach and the players, to the detriment of a step by Spain that would represent greater economic benefits for a battered institution.
Eventually, Hernández would decide that the road traveled was sufficient. Although he ruminated on it since that “not needed” election act, also his personal wear and tear and having touched, once again, the doors of the highest in the world led him to make the decision, difficulties included in the last time for personal reasons when he directed in Spain and returned to be close to the family.
Néstor García and Sergio Hernández, in a Peñarol-Atenas in 2012. Photo Fabián Gastiarena
It did not take long for the current president to direct the succession: has a weakness for Che, a coach with whom he maintains a great relationship (in fact, the head of the CAB has even gone to visit the DT in Spain at the time), which is not minor for the greatest manager who currently has the basketball national. It is the possibility of starting to enlarge a work team with which you have total communion without giving up credibility for it.
Verbose, electric, expresses the passion that causes him to direct like few others and infects his own and strangers but also, and above all, García has plenty of scrolls to be the coach of the National Team. And after more than three decades of experience, the great desire of his professional life appears on the horizon.
He was an assistant to Julius lamas in the Pre-Olympic 2011 and was in charge of the squad that competed in the South American 2012, but this will be his first time as head coach of the selected major.
“The Selection is in my dreams; that’s where I project it. In reality, I think of everything that is short-term and possible. That gives you credibility and confidence to reach the medium term. Only then do you reinvent yourself and project for the long term, “he told Clarion at the beginning of 2018. Now comes your big break after start his career at age 23 in Puerto Rico as part of the staff of the renowned coach of that country Julio Toro.
Che García, living a match in his style. Photo DPA
“Believing in the impossible is my way of life.” This is how the Che before this medium when he led the Spanish Fuenlabrada to live a little less than a fairytale.
“After 28 years training in eight different countries, I know that you can play in many ways and on the field anything can be done. Later, in the long run, sport accommodates you where you need to be, but it always gives you the possibility to compete. of equal to equal “, it assured. Another statement of principles that go if it fits an Argentine national team that made competing against (and defeating) a priori superior rivals almost a way of life.
For him Che there is much of that which for 25 years Scola proclaimed and adopted each of the national teams: the acceptance that the fate of a party is a consequence that cannot be controlled and the importance of achieving one’s own best version as a determining factor of success : “I believe in being competitive, which is not being afraid of winning or losing, wherever you are. I give everything and the result afterwards depends on many things. You have to leave calm that you gave your best. I base my whole life on that. “
What can be expected of the National Team, then? Perhaps one of the most interesting questions to unravel about what has been happening will happen there. Argentina has always been strong from defense and that is a premise that Garcia likes.
However in the attack, and before teams with greater power, while the Selection of Sheep you too bet on a stick by stick under the “7 seconds or less” popularized long ago by Mike D’Antoni and the Phoenix suns on the NBA, with quick possessions to punish as much as possible in transition, the teams of the Che (he insists, always talking about playing against superior rivals in the roles) they usually bet precisely the opposite: playing at a very slow pace and let the clock run as long as possible. In this case, anyway, a caveat must be made: he used to do it with a staff of less hierarchical resources than the one that, in theory, will have as an Albiceleste coach.
Néstor García and gesticulation, the order of the day. Photo EFE
It is an interesting challenge, but also distant, because except in World Cups or Olympic Games, Argentina on the continent (where he will play at least until 2023) will always have the pilcha favorite, so it can be presumed that the offensive style in these cases will be more oriented to impose the conditions from a high goal.
Time is in your favor to discover the style that best suits you and the interesting thing is that the Che He is a chameleonic coach and he will probably look for the team to have a plan B and even a C. Of course, there he will encounter the same geographical difficulties that his predecessor had to overcome: he will only be measured with powers when the big tournaments arrive.
There is something, in any case, that Néstor García is clear about. “There are things that are not for you; hiding it makes you look better. I’m very tough with my players on that: ‘This no, no and no.’ It is key to know the difference between the players to train and the players to train: the former are those with the best background; the latter, in their role, are unique. With a player you can try something he will never do or you can perfect what he has and turn him into a specialist. Knowing your own limitations is vital for one to produce. “
Being an “old guard” type does not exempt the coach from having incorporated issues very necessary for the sport of the times that run. By case, since 2011 he has been doing therapy with Elina, a psychologist who, he says, has helped him a lot. And he himself recommended that several of his players contact therapists at different times in their careers.
In the same way, he tries to permanently consult with journalists he trust regarding how to deal with the attention to the media or how to elaborate this or that sentence. “One is a group leader and an attitude in a minute and a half of an interview can mark you for your entire career”, he assures. In detail in all aspects.
Che with the 2015 FIBA Americas champion trophy. Photo REUTERS / Henry Romero
Beyond the fact that due to a matter of taste or continuity of styles, a good part of the environment (including many national team players) wanted the chosen one to leave the work team that had accompanied Hernández until Tokyo; more precisely that it was Silvio Santander, no one will discuss the choice of Che.
In the country he was able to be champion of the National League with Peñarol (1994) and of the Super 20 with San Lorenzo (2020), the latter season in which he returned to the country, in addition to having been runner-up in the League with Boca in 1998.
Borders Outside was even better: won titles in Uruguay, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, from national or South American club leagues to the Liga de las Américas (current Champions League Americas) that he got with the Venezuelan Guaros de Lara.
It was with the selection of that country that he achieved perhaps his greatest feats. He won the first FIBA Americas in Venezuelan history in Mexico 2015, when he beat Hernández’s Argentina in the final, but before lifting the trophy against the team he will now direct. beat one Canada that had 9 NBA players on his campus and was the top favorite of the contest, thus earning the ticket to the Olympics from Rio 2016.
But he also conquered two South Americans against the continental powers: 2014, against Argentina and 2016, against Brazil. Those consecutive titles They are two of the three that the Red wine throughout the history of the tournament, which has been played since 1930.
After saying goodbye to Venezuela, he embarked on his first great ambition: European basketball. And once again he made the grade, proving that not only is he a winner but he is also an excellent manager even with fewer resources, something valuable thinking that it will take a team that will have to deal with the exit of the last bastion of the Golden Generation, Luis Scola.
Che García in training with Walter Herrmann during his time in the National Team. Photo DYN
In Spain he directed the aforementioned Fuenlabrada, a humble club that bet not to descend, and made it a sensation, classifying him as seeded to the Copa del Rey, the competition played by the best eight teams of the first half of the season in the ACB League.
And then one more feat: put the Dominican Republic, with just six months of work, in the second phase of the 2019 World Cup in China after beating Germany, a team that without going any further would be a quarter-finalist two years later at the recent Tokyo Olympic tournament.
A few months later, he returned to Argentina to lead the great Argentine club of these times, San Lorenzo, to the title of the aforementioned Super 20. Now you will take the biggest step of your career: will be the coach of the national team.