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Russian basketball executives unanimously approve Bazarevich to coach national team

Sergei Bazarevich was the first Russia-born player to hit the floor of the NBA tournaments (Atlanta Hawks, 1994-1995)
Sergei Bazarevich Vitaly Timkiv/TASS
Sergei Bazarevich
© Vitaly Timkiv/TASS

MOSCOW, January 20. /TASS/. Senior executives of the Russian Basketball Federation (RBF) approved on Wednesday the candidacy of titled Russian basketball player and manager Sergei Bazarevich for the post of the national team’s head coach.

During the RBF Executive Committee’s session in Moscow on Wednesday, Bazarevich, who was the first Russia-born player to hit the floor of the NBA tournaments (Atlanta Hawks, 1994-1995), was unanimously voted upon to take charge as the head coach over the Russian national basketball team.

Two other candidates for the post earlier named by RBF President Andrei Kirilenko were Russia’s Vasily Karasev and Italian specialist Andrea Trinchieri.

The national squad’s former Head Coach Yevgeny Pashutin resigned after the team failed to qualify for this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.

Bazarevich, 50, played point guard during his 20-year professional career, which he began in 1983. He is the two-time silver medalist of the FIBA World Cup (1990, 1994), the 1993 FIBA EuroBasket silver medalist, three-time winner of the USSR Championship and two-time winner of the Russian Championship.

During his coaching career, Bazarevich worked with Russian basketball clubs Dinamo Moscow, Krasnye Krylya Samara, Lokomotiv-Kuban. Last month he signed a contract as the head coach with Italian basketball club Cantu.

The RBF recently suffered a string of setbacks and the Russian men’s national team’s disappointing performance at the Olympics qualifiers last September was one in the chain of unsuccessful developments.

The 2015 FIBA European Championship, held between September 5 and 20, 2015 was not only the decider for the title of the best European basketball team, but also served as a qualifying tournament for the national teams’ spots at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.

The winner and the finalist of the tournament received direct passes to the Games next year, while five teams finishing the European championship in the places from three to seven entered the final qualifying stage for the Olympics.

The Russian national team failed to clear the group stage of the 2015 FIBA EuroBasket and subsequently lost its chance of traveling to Brazil next year.

The RBF was first struck hard last year, when women’s national team, who are the 2003, 2007 and 2011 European Champions, failed to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

In the further development of events, the RBF was suspended in July last year by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), which cited the lack of transparency in the Russian federation’s management as the reason for its decision. All Russian national basketball teams were suspended from international competitions as a result of the suspension.

However, at a session of the FIBA’s Central Board, which convened on August 8-9 last year in Tokyo, Japan, it was decided to all the Russian national teams were to play at the international level championships, but the suspension of the RBF remained in force.