A few hours before the match Maccabi-Partizan for its premiere Euroleague, Oded Katas and Zeljko Obradovic they gave a delightful joint interview to Israel’s Sports Walla.
“Zots” referred to the self-confidence Katas had before Panathinaikos’ final against Maccabi in 2000 in Thessaloniki. “We spoke before the match and he tells me ‘coach, no one from Maccabi can stop me’. It’s very important for a player to have that kind of belief in himself and come and say ‘let me play, I know what to do’.” Katas commented that “emotions were strong for me, it was not easy. The coach gave me confidence».
After that season Katas did not play basketball again due to a knee injury, which forced him to retire at 25.It was a very sad thing, it shocked me. After what he did in his first year with us, I expected him to get better and better, because now one understood the other better. After all, we hadn’t only had him for a year. It’s the biggest shame in my coaching career“, said the Serbian technician with Katas replying: “It was crazy, because it was the first summer I had no obligations. I didn’t blow up my knee, but in a practice just before the season started, I couldn’t walk afterwards».
At the same time, the Israeli revealed that he had bigger offers in the summer before he went to Panathinaikos, among others from Olympiakos. “I had offers from Timsysteme Bologna, Olympiakos and Efes, who were willing to give me more money than Panathinaikos. But Zeliko called me, we talked for about 40 seconds and I decided to go there“, he emphasized.
In fact, he himself became… a victim of the Obradovic effect recently. “In the summer we tried to get Ponitka, we had talked and he told me that he wanted to think about some things before answering me. After a few days he called me and said ‘I appreciate the offer, but Obradovic called me and I decided to go there’. I answered him ‘I understand you, I was once in your position’». How does “Zots” explain this ability? “I talk to every player before we sign them and I want to be honest with them. I’m not selling them… illusions».
When reminded that Katas had burst into tears during his first spell with Obradovic, the Israeli said:I didn’t like the coach for a while. When I broke out, Bodiroga was determined to go and talk to him, but I wouldn’t let him. From that day on everything got better. I began to gain his trust. I later found out that he did the same with all his guards». “Zots” said about this that “… I believe in team spirit and I want to have a control over the game. He comes through the guards. I had players like Diamantidis, Spanoulis, Jasikevicius, who today are among my best friends. I was explaining to them what I wanted from them. Some accepted it and others did not”.
Katas admits that he got a lot as a coach from Obradovic. “Every day it evolves and improves. He was demanding, but we knew that everything he asked of us was to help us win. Off the field, he showed us a lot of respect and that made us want to play for him. I believe that a leader should lead by example. When Zeliko steps on the field, you feel his love for the sport and how dedicated he is to it. You realize that basketball is his life and it is important that the players see this in their coach».
Source: Sport Fm
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