First glance. League’s five new coaches

First glance. League’s five new coaches

In 2019/2020 season, five League clubs will be led by new head coaches. Here are their stories.

Enisey, Russia

Dražen Anzulović, Croatia

Previous teams: Zagreb, Cibona, Ural Great, Charleroi, Donetsk, Rytas, Cedevita, MKS, Nanjing Monkey, Croatia national
Career high: three titles of Croatian league with Cibona

As said by Enisey director Vladimir Petrokovskiy, the League becomes more and more competitive every year. Last two seasons were ups and downs for Kranoyarsk, and now they’re ready to make changes. Club management hope to get to the next level with help of European coach and his modern playbook. Anzulović’s background includes league titles as well as clubs with less ambition. Dražen led Ural Great in 2007-2008, and parting was not the nicest – the coach unilaterally left the club after his resignation had not been signed. However, Anzulović is famous for his fundamental approach – details, defense, team chemistry, striving for the best. All these should help Enisey get back to playoffs.

Quote: “We’ll be building a team that plays with energy and aggression on both sides of the court. As for defense, every little counts. We want to have system in both defense and offense, and to control 40 minutes of the game. In order to achieve it, we’ll work on details and big goals”  Dražen Anzulović

Zielona Gora, Poland

Žan Tabak, Croatia

Previous teams: Girona, Sopot, Baskonia, Fuenlabrada, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sevilla, Slovakia national (present) 
Career high: Israeli cup with Maccabi

Tabak’s career milestones as a coach are just incomparable to his achievements as a player. Žan won three Euroleague titles with legendary Jugoplastika, and became NBA champion with Houston. And still, his coach’s career is a success. Ex-center was a scout for New York, assistant for Real, and worked with Euroleague teams Baskonia and Maccabi as a head coach. The Croatian claims his basketball philosophy is based on defense. Another important detail is that Tabak plans to build a team that would be athletic and tough. It’s hard to predict the results of updated Zielona Gora, but they won’t be an easy opponent to beat

Quote: “I don’t care if my players are black, white or yellow. I don’t care if they are Australians, Chinese or of another nationality. I don’t care how tall they are. They have to comply with our requests and help the team win games” Žan Tabak.

Kalev, Estonia

Robert Stelmacher, Latvia

Previous teams: Perlas, Pieno, Ventspils, Valmeira, Slupsk, Latvia national (present)

Carreer high: two Latvian league titles with Ventspils

We can remember Stelmacher as a player for Avtodor, and then he became a coach in 2009. 10 years later, his carrer becomes more interesting. After building his reputation in Ventspils which was the second team of Latvia after VEF, the 44-year-old coach gets to lead Estonia’s top club and Latvian national team with spectacular generation of Kristaps Porzingis. Stelmacher is demanding and tough, but Kalev’s style is expected to be high-paced and offense-oriented.

Quote: “Stelmacher have been impressing us with his job for many years. His teams always had a system, and he always controlled his team and achieved what he wanted” Kalev manager Kaarel Sibul

Lokomotiv Kuban, Russia

Luca Banchi, Italy

Previous teams: Livorno, Trieste, Italian national youth team, Trapani, Aurora, Siena, Milan, Torino, Bamberg, AEK
Career high:  two Italian league titles with Siena and Milan

Banchi worked in strong championships, led two Euroleague clubs and won Seria A title twice. Luca is surely not a “dictator” type of coach, he is famous for his special tactic skills and his ability to get on well with the team. Lokomotiv approached the task of finding a new coach very carefully this off-season. After a few unsuccessful seasons the management of the ambitious club expects instant result, which will be achieved by fast and spectacular plays, and futhemore will integrate perspective youth to the starting line-up. Lokomotiv Kuban is the greatest challenge of progressing italian coach’s career.

Quote: “My guidelines are respect for club traditions and achievement of the most serious tournament goals. I hope that we will please the fans of Krasnodar with our game and results” Luca Banchi


Kazys Maksvytis, Lithuania

Previous teams: youth teams of Lithuania, Aisčiai, Sakalai, Neptunas, Lietkabelis
Career high: Junior World Cup-2011 golden medals with national Lithuanian team U19

PARMA is focused on a breakthrough. Young club have already passed “trial period” and now signs strong foreign players. Herewith they are only making first steps to return great traditions of their predecessors from Ural Great. Team that is getting on it’s feet signs young and ambitious coach, who successfully worked with the youth and strives for the best (Kazys worked in Minnesota coaching staff during NBA summer league). The most important thing is that he has made modest Neptunas one of the best Lithuanian teams. Klaipeda’s club was improving constantly and challenged traditional contendors from Kaunas and Vilnius. These challenges were only the beginning! Neptunas became the first team to beat Zalgiris three times per season in 17 years.

Quote: “Our main requirement is that we need active coach, who works in a highly competitive league, and who is capable of playing and winnig under the pressure of more strong, financially supported and developed clubs.Maskvytis is that kind of coach. His vision of the game fits our team’s spirit” General director of PARMA Alexander Bashminov