Jose Ramon, Jot, Cuspinera (Getxo, Vizcaya, 1970) is the new coach of Movistar Estudiantes. He returns to the club from which he left in 2009 and will debut next Saturday at the Unicaja court.
How does it feel
The first sensations left them a little in stand by until I have all the seniors: I don’t know where the team is going yet. On a personal level, very good. I have felt like one more. I have known practically all the technical staff for a long time and that has made re-entry much easier. I hope that as the days go by, he can meet all the players and do the work on the court that I want to develop.
How have you carried your downtime away from the bench?
I have never stopped being in touch with basketball. Movistar counted on me to broadcast the matches of the Endesa League and Onda Madrid, for the Euroleague. And I have also trained coaches. It is a way to be updated. I have not been to a court, but I have never completely detached myself from what is day to day and that helps make re-entry easier. The sensations of the court are the sensations of the court, and you only have them when you are there. In these first days I am recovering those sensations of the whistle, of training …
It’s not rusty then …
In something sure yes. And it will be noticed when we start to compete: there will be some little thing in which it says “oysters”. I have warned my assistants in case that happened so that they would be vigilant. But that you are aware of that, makes you try to focus on what you think may be rusty. It keeps you alert.
How does it affect you to enter again and not have the seniors from the beginning through the Windows?
It is not the ideal situation, but it is what it is. I have to adapt to what there is, not what I wish there was. What would I have loved to have had the entire squad these two weeks? You are right. When they rejoin, with the time we have, we will try to do the best we can.
What would you like to influence in your first weeks in office?
The first thing is to meet the team. In that sense, I take my ego off a bit from the things that I would like to do. What I need is to live with them on the court. I know them from the outside, but not their reactions on the court, training, playing games internally. Neither is the relationship between them as partners and between them and the staff. That is my main goal right now. I have technical-tactical ideas that I would like to implement, put my stamp on… but the main focus now is to interact with them and see how I can help each one.
The team seems pretty close, doesn’t it?
Yes. And we have to take advantage of that inertia to help in other facets. I do not give up on the things that are working and are some accounts.
How do you think Estudiantes have failed to lose 10 of the last 11 games?
I could not tell you. Many times it is simple fortune: that the ball enters or not. And this is conditioned by multiple factors. It is not attributable to something in particular, although when you get into a bad dynamic, confidence goes down. There are always things we want to improve. We will be demanding in those things that we believe can help us grow. From the outside it is very difficult.
Anyway, isn’t it strange that a team with Barea, Gentile, Avramovic… is so low in the rankings?
I am aware of the problems the team has had: COVID, stoppages … Everything affects. I keep that there are players on the outside line with points. The rest may not have the same scoring quality, but it can help. The circumstances are what they are. Surprising or not? It is what it is. What are we going to do to get out of it? It is what worries me, not so much the fact of what was wrong … although the analysis is done. I don’t want to put a single but to what was done before because all circumstances affect and also because I have experienced it in other teams: you accumulate many defeats that are stones in your backpack and the main thing is to remove them. It’s very easy to say, but they are in everyone’s backpack. The challenge is to add some victories that give us some emotional and mental stability.
Look ahead, in short.
The analysis of the above is done, but I cannot change everything. It would not be convenient either: I have to take the things that I think fit my style and throw with them. If I had a preseason I would do a lot of different things because we are all different.
Is there a pivot missing?
We can always think that everything can be improved. We must be able to reverse the situation with what we have. Not thinking about what I would like because if you ask the players about the staff, they may tell you that they would want something else. We are what we are. For this reason, I do not think about what I want, but what I have in the inner game: Víctor Arteaga and Delgado in the position of five and in that of four Alec Brown and Djurisic. They are the ones that have to move us forward.
How has the Jota who left compared to the one who returned?
The first thing is gray hair, as can be seen (laugh). A lot of. It’s been many years since my second outing. Many experiences lived as an assistant and head coach. There is a very different maturity, more knowledge. I do not magnify things, I am less in a hurry, I am more settled: I take everything in its proper measure. He is a calmer, less nervous Jota: this is the great difference from the Jota of 13 years ago. Before, in some things, I could see ghosts that did not exist, they are only in my head. Seniority helps you calm your soul and be able to communicate better with the players, take them more into account … It does not mean that he is a less energetic Jota, but he does face challenges with a different vision. There is less vital need. There is no sloppiness. It is a matter of grounds.
Regarding his departure from Movistar Estudiantes, he revealed in a report for Movistar when he was coach of Casademont Zaragoza, that a club manager told him that he did not know how to work as a team. Has that changed?
For sure. That phrase marked me a lot for the better. I probably magnified that situation. Now, when I have to leave a place, it always annoys me, but you see it from another perspective. Was young. It was the first time I had left a place, also, after being here 17 years. It was like the end of the world. Then you find out that it doesn’t. I have tried to modify that phrase, so that the people around me feel comfortable, that they be involved and can help in what is day to day.
The day of his presentation he said that he had Euroleague level players like Gentile and Edwin Jackson. Would Avramovic also be in that group?
Yes. In fact, I was left with the feeling that he should have said it. He is one of the leaders of the Estudiantes. He has not yet been able to enjoy a Euroleague team, but he can have that projection. Hopefully one day I can fulfill that dream after helping the club grow. It has a lot of quality.
He is a very talented young man. We will miss him for his ability, not only offensively, but also defensively. I don’t know where your roof is. He has a very good present beyond the injury that has him away from the courts. We hope you will be back sooner rather than later.
What role do you want to give to the quarry?
In all the places that I have been, I have tried that the canteranos had exit. I do not cross a player because he is young. I like that the talented boy can pull up. And if that is added desire, it shows in training … he has no choice but to give it a try. It also depends on them: it is not a red carpet. From what I know of the youngsters from Estudiantes, I know they are eager, so which one I hope will be able to help someone to become part of the first team … That in the end is the philosophy of this club: combine veterans with players who come out and have his first chances at this same club. I am not forgetting that philosophy and I will take it into account in future projects we have.
How is hierarchy established in a team with Barea, Gentile, Avramovic…?
With the conviction that the group is above a player. It is not a problem to have so many stars if we are able to understand that maybe today it is my turn to score 30 points and you 10, and that tomorrow it is the other way around. The player has to understand that talent has to be available to the group and vice versa. The good thing is to have threat. I am tremendously proud to have an outside line with the talent that Students have.
Pau Gasol has returned to the Endesa League with Barça.
It is an impact for the League. And even for basketball. It will be a satisfaction to be able to see him again on a court after such a long recovery time. And I hope I can help the National Team at the Games to obtain another medal, which would be of great satisfaction to all of us who love this sport.