The mobile BT continues to travel the streets of the capital in search of the words of the technicians of all the institutions. After 39 years of absence, the Millán and Sitio Grande stop is reborn. Olivol Mundial will once again be in the circle of privilege and Gonzalo Fernández will be in charge of leading the Barra Fuerte illusion.
What do you aspire to in this contest?
Our aspiration is clear: to save ourselves from the descent. More here or there is that the main objective.
Are you happy with the setup of the squad?
Yes, I am happy with the national chips that we have chosen. I highlight the commitment that each one of them will assume trying to take their career one step further. They have to consolidate as Uruguayan League players. As for foreigners, we are still in negotiations and we have not yet been able to close an internal player that today is what we need.
How difficult is it to put together a team with several names that, with few exceptions, have not shared the field?
I think the advantage we have is that our basketball players are all in physical shape. Basketball is not like other sports that if you don’t compete you lose. You lose rhythm, precision, it is a sport that is played with your hands and needs a lot of play, a lot of practice and there we have a plus because all the players participated in the second division of our basketball but the disadvantage can happen because none of them had great Careers in the Uruguayan League. We are going to bet that this year they will be and that they will consolidate as league players.
Are you and are you aware that you are taking on a challenge from an institution that has not been in this place for 39 years?
Yes, but we take it as a joy, as they do. They bet to play with a limited budget because they want to enjoy seeing their team in the First Division of Uruguayan basketball after 40 years. We are going to enjoy playing it like them but obviously after the tournament starts we only compete to win and we are going to try to make it happen.
Olivol is an institution that is always moving forward. Because of your way of directing and being, was that what ended up seducing you?
I was seduced that they gave me the opportunity to work once more in the League. I know how they are, I know that they are going to push from the outside, they are going to support us and there are players who are identified with the club. We are going to bet on that synergy of all to take a step forward. We know it will be tough but we will fight.
What is this Olivol going to have with your label?
As usual. We are going to put pressure on the whole game. Extended defense and look for a wide rotation of the squad so that everyone has enough oxygen when they have to enter. You have to leave your legs for 10, 15 or 20 minutes so that whoever enters the bench joins in and solidifies it. In terms of scoring, I think we can be a dangerous team in terms of transitions. As I always say, 5 × 5 basketball today is very complicated. There is a lot of information, a lot of scouting so the best we can do is defend and I believe in that I feel like a specialist, I will try to transmit it and have them help me from there.
What do you not accept in a team of yours?
The same thing that I ask everywhere and the same thing that the Olivol fans are going to ask us. Desire, attitude, companionship, solidarity, commitment. They are all things that we proclaim from the first day we meet and from the first day we choose the players who will accompany us. Help us navigate this challenge that is going to be very nice.
Do names or teams win tournaments?
The teams, without a doubt. The teams take a step forward, the teams put you one notch higher. Obviously you need quality players but without a doubt the teams when they come together as such take a step forward and it was what has touched me all my life and I really believe in that.
What does Gonzalo Fernández have that always manages to get the best out of each one?
I think it is more personal to the players that I have had to coach. They are players who have the desire to take a step forward in their career and the truth is that I cannot complain. 99.9% of all have given me their hearts and I have given it back to them from my place, luckily I have done well. Not only now if not previously. In Larrañaga I trained children who arrived at first class and the only thing I feel is gratitude towards them because surely somewhere I know that they need my rest.
Are you worried about the lack of names in the painting?
We have alternatives. There is Alfonso Arrillaga, Tony Dandridge, Pata Pereira who can give us a hand there but without a doubt that today we are doomed to try to hire a foreigner 5 or a 4 who can beat a 5. We are busy with that. now there is nothing but in the next few hours it will unlock and that player that we need will be closed. The Justin Pierce thing was a temporary solution that if he gives the tone of the capable team that stays all year or if we will not have to look for another player in the outside positions that can give us a hand, especially in the defensive pairings of foreigners rivals.
The names of the bases and the assists reaffirm a very high offensive and defensive voltage. Will they bet on that?
Yes of course. If we expect our rivals to play at the pace they want, to play comfortably, for the ball to reach our hands, everything will be very complicated. We will look for alternatives so that this does not happen and try to counteract centimeters and force that surely we are not going to have it with speed and security to be able to change their game plan.
What can Tony Dandridge bring to this team?
Leadership, as always. He is a complete player wherever you look at it. It fulfills all the characteristics that I previously said. He is good, partner, supportive, committed and is always an example. Where it was, it was and where it will be, it will be. He will be a team leader alongside Ángel Varela. They will help us meet the objectives.
Scrape and bite or elegance and tranquility on the court?
Olivol is scraping and biting, I am scraping and biting. I played like that and I was always a defensive specialist and I believe in that. That was the path that from time to time gave me a bit of success, which is ephemeral because it is celebrated and that’s it, but without a doubt my career as a coach, which is where I feel most comfortable, I made teams and that is where you can see that job.
Is the return to the courts and the public an incentive for this League?
The truth is that it is an incentive for the show, for the product and for the business that is basketball. Sometimes I try to enjoy two minutes when I go out to a Palace and see people, but the truth is that I don’t have time to enjoy that. I focus on my work. I know that to all of us who work on this, including you journalists, it is a great satisfaction that basketball has people again. But above all it is that Uruguay is better and that little by little we return to normality.
What do you expect from this League?
I look forward to two very different tournaments. Those who are going to fight the competition and are going to play their tournament and those who are going to fight not to be relegated. There are always surprises and it can be us.
Who are the candidates and why?
In basketball there is a bit of logic that whoever invests the most budget can achieve the big goals. I haven’t studied much so far because I just got out of a tournament and I didn’t see squad by squad but I’m sure Aguada, Biguá and someone else that I haven’t studied yet will be there. For now I am still planning our trainings. Surely I forget some but because a few days ago we played a final with another club.