New Mac TA coach Blatt begins planning next season

Blatt heads to Russia to hold a training camp with Russian national team.

David Blatt mac ta coach 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
David Blatt mac ta coach 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
In an illustration of the difficult task ahead of him, David Blatt held his first press conference as Maccabi Tel Aviv’s new coach on Sunday, a day before leaving for Russia to hold a training camp with the Russian national team.
Blatt, who is taking the reins at Israel’s most famous sports club for the second time in his career, said he doesn’t believe he will have any problems preparing for the coming BSL and Euroleague seasons at the same time as coaching Russia in the build up to this summer’s World Championships.
“They have good telephones and internet in Russia,” the former Dynamo St.
Petersburg coach quipped.
However, there are numerous questions surrounding the future of Maccabi, which has just finished a difficult season where it lost in the local league finals after being ousted from the Euroleague by Partizan Belgrade.
Blatt said he is planning a significant rebuilding process, and one of his aims is to introduce a strong Israeli presence in the squad.
Of all the foreigners who played for Maccabi last season only Chuck Eidson has a guaranteed contract. Blatt stressed that he and his assistants will spend the coming weeks deciding which current players “fit into the puzzle.”
Blatt admitted there will be a large amount of speculation during the summer over the make up of next season’s squad, and attempted to cover any rumors by stating that “every good player in Europe is an option for Maccabi Tel Aviv.”
One of the most important attributes Blatt said he is looking for is “character.”
One player who is full of character, and is expected to be named as a member of next season’s squad, is club captain Derrick Sharp.
The 38-year-old, who will be playing in his 13th straight campaign for Maccabi in 2010/11, sat alongside Blatt at the press conference.
“It’s just a happy day. I’ve been waiting six years for this,” Sharp said.
“The last three years have been a roller coaster. The thing is we keep changing the team a lot. Hopefully we can get a team together next year... which we can build on.
“The key is bringing in the right guys. Hopefully the stars will line up, we’ll put it together and make it happen.”