Ukraine and The Czar

Mark Woods wrote a nice piece for ESPN about my experience coaching Ukraine in EuroBasket 2011.

KLAIPEDA, Lithuania — Mike Fratello had waited almost five years to savor this moment. Five years since he walked off the court following the last of his victories with the Memphis Grizzlies before departing midway through the 2006-07 season, not knowing when he would get another opportunity to get back on a bench and to the job he relishes most.

He never expected that it would come here, in Lithuania for EuroBasket 2011, in charge of a country that few Americans would ever have cause to visit. But the coach of Ukraine’s national team could not disguise his delight after claiming a 67-56 win Saturday over Bulgaria.

“It was very special that we could get a win after losing a couple of very close games,” said the former Memphis, Atlanta and Cleveland coach. However, without big tournament experience, his team departed at the end of the first phase with a 2-3 record that came up just short.

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