In 2013, I have met Coach Kemzura for the first time as he was a lecturer of the last stage of the FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate in Talinn. Kemzura is the former assistent of David Blatt (Cleveland Caveliers) and former head-coach of Khimki Moscow and the national team of Lithuania. Immediately, I was impressed by the way Coach Kemzura was driven and passionated in his coaching. From that first contact, I had the desire to get to know more, about the man and his coaching philosophy. Last week, I had the chance to spend a couple of days with him and his staff in Czech Republik, with his current team CEZ Nymburk.
Nymburk competes in FIBA’s Eurocup, the VTB League and Chech Republik’s national league (NBL). Together with the NBL’s play-offs and some preseason games, Nymburk will have played 90+ games by the end of this season. This results in a very tough schedule of often 3 games a week (with long travels to Russia and Siberia in different time zones for the VTB League), harder than most NBA teams, who can count on a larger team, staff and budget.
Together with his assistants Robertas Kuncaitis and Ricardas Reimaris, the staff of Nymburk is completely Lithuanian. On the squad are two players well-known in the Belgian League, Jiri Welsh (former player of Boston Celtics and Spirou Charleroi) and Derek Raivio, who had two very succesfull seasons at Okapi Aalstar. The squad counts 5 Americans, 6 Czechs and 1 Slovakian.
During my stay, the team of Nymburk combined for two wins:
Friday 3/4/2015: Nymburk – Hradek 87-51 1st Game QF playoffs NBL
Sunday 5/4/2015: Nymburk – Enisey (Siberia) 99-87 VTB League
As a coach, an exchange like this is priceless. I am strongly convinced that the game of basketball isn’t about hiding secrets: the magic play or drill to create champions doesn’t exist. A visit like this enables me to come in contact with the basketball philosophy of one of the best coaches in Europe: to get to know his accents in teaching, his contact with his players, his game preparation, focus on practices, his staff management, his coaching style from the first row, … I feel very lucky and rich as a coach for being able to have done numerous exchanges with excellent coaches, which make me able to construct my own philosophy about the game of basketball. A work that never stops, that lasts a career as a coach. The day that you’re not curious anymore, don’t have an open mind as a coach, is the day you sign your resignation letter. To all clubs and federations at the same time.
A huge THANKS goes to Coach Kemzura and CEZ Nymburk!