MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti)
A leading member of Russia’s Olympic bronze medal-winning basketball team called for coach David Blatt to be replaced by a Russian in comments to R-Sport on Monday.
Blatt led Russia to its first-ever Olympic medal at London 2012 but has not decided whether to extend his contract, pending discussions with the national federation.
“I think now might be a good time to switch over,” Russia and CSKA Moscow forward Viktor Khryapa said, referring to a switch from foreign coaches to Russians.
Evgeny Pashutin, the coach of Lokomotiv-Kuban who won the Eurocup with UNICS Kazan last year, might be a good candidate, Khryapa said.
“We’ve got good young coaches, Evgeny Pashutin for example. If we don’t start [employing Russians] then we could forget about Russian coaches.”
Blatt’s work would be a model for any future coach to follow, Khryapa said.
“Ideally, of course, you need a Russian person to coach the national team and for it to get the top results, like it has for the last seven years with David Blatt.”
The U.S.-born Blatt has combined his work with Russia with a full-time job as coach of Euroleague side Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.