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”You can say that I’m living my dream” – Georgios Pavlogiannis

Georgios Pavlogiannis började sin basketkarriär i ung ålder, redan när han var 18 år började han coacha samtidigt som han studerade idrottsvetenskap. När han var 22 år valde han att lämna Grekland för Umeå och sedan dess har han stannat.

– Right now my life consists for the most part of basketball, you can say that I’m living my dream.

Den unge tränaren berättar hur han började att spela redan som femåring och hur stor sporten är i hemlandet. Som högst nådde Pavlogiannis den grekiska tredjeligan, där han spelade de sista åren av sin karriär som spelare.

– I’m from Greece and started there. I was playing basketball and at the age of 18 I started coaching and studying sport science in the university. This is also how I got my coaching diploma. I started working with development teams mainly. And at the age of 22 I came here, and since then I’ve been with Umeå BSKT and working. I’m working with the U19, division two and the men’s team.

I Grekland arbetade Pavlogiannis främst som huvudtränare för flertalet ungdomslag i olika åldrar. Han berättar hur en av klubbarna är kända för deras talangutveckling:

– They were under 16 more or less. It was in two different clubs. One was a basketball academy and they were pretty famous in Greece as one of the best developing clubs. They have produced a lot of players to the national team. I was playing and coaching for them at the same time. The other club was in one of the biggest cities in Greece.

Pavlogiannis förklarar att passionen för basketen har resulterat i många arbetstimmar, speciellt på kvällarna. Han berättar att han brukar vara på plats runt 18 tiden och lämna sporthallen sent på kvällen.

– Sometimes I have 2-3 practices in a row. It’s the same in the mornings. In the afternoon I have to prepare a lot of things. Both for the men’s team but mainly for the U19 and division two because I’m the head coach. A lot of hours, but it’s fun. I can say that I’m living my dream. I’m living my life with only basketball. That’s also what I want to do for now.

Specifically what’s your role at Umeå BSKT on the men’s team?

– I’m the second assistant coach. Boris is the head coach and Caroline is the first assistance. In the morning practices me and Boris do station practices, and most of the time I have my own station. We are then working with individual skills, for example shooting. In the evening practices both me and Caroline either have some parts of the practice, or we are giving feedback to the players and the head coach.

What are your biggest characteristics as a coach?

– I would say that I could call myself a defencive coach. It’s not very common in basketball that we separate coaches in offence and defense, but it becomes more common, especially in the NBA and Euro league. Defence is what I prefer to work with and that’s my main characteristic. I stay updated, watch a lot of basketball, try to see what the big clubs and big coaches are doing.

När vi frågar Pavlogiannis om ledarrollerna i tränarstaben skrattar han glatt och förklarar hur de är olika men kompletterar varandra. Han berättar hur Balibrea är passionerad och högröstad medan han och Muzito-Bagenda är engagerade och talar med mindre bokstäver.

– Even though I’m from south Europe and we’re famous for having a temperament, I’m not the yelling coach. I try to communicate with my players, and when I yell they’ll know that something is really wrong. I prefer to deliver information in a calm way with discussion and showing them what I want.

How has the transition from greek basketball to swedish basketball been?

– It was better than I thought. The swedish basketball is not very famous in Greece so I didn’t know a lot about it when I moved here. Now I have a big respect for the swedish basketball, it is growing, it is developing and a lot of people from other countries are getting involved. You can say that basketball is more or less similar in Europe. The big difference is the playing style. Here in Sweden the game is much faster and all the players wants to shoot the ball a lot, especially the three-pointers. In Greece the game is a bit slower, more set plays and the priority is not shooting the threes. It is instead about running the plays and playing the pick and roll and finding other kinds of options.

What ambitions and goals do you have with your coaching career?

– I’m young, I’m only 24 so I have a lot of things I want to achieve, both in basketball as a coach but also academically. I already have bachelors and masters in sports science and my plan is to keep going and to also have a PHD or doctorate. I will try to combine the coaching and academically as much as possible. And If at some point one of them stays a little bit back and the other one steps up it is going to be fine for me.

Text: Erika Larsson och Daniel Arnkvist

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