Mike Looks Back


Mike Looks Back: EuroBasket 2011

Mike reflects on Ukraine’s achievements in EuroBasket 2011 and looks ahead to the future of the Ukrainian Basketball Federation.

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.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article on ESPN.com.

Ukraine and The Czar

It was good to end our EuroBasket 2011 run with a 74-61 win over Belgium in Game 5 thanks to a strong team effort and solid execution. Coupled with our victory over Bulgaria in Game 3 we wound up 2-3 at the end of Round 1, which resulted in a three-way tie with Bulgaria and Georgia in Group D. Unfortunately we fell short of our goal to qualify for the second round of the FIBA European Basketball Championship. Since Georgia lost to Bulgaria by less than 14 points in their final matchup, Georgia wound up winning the tie-breaker and moving through to the next round of competition. Hopefully the Ukraine National Team will learn from this experience and continue to build momentum in order to get better results next time around.

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Ukraine and The Czar

Ukraine’s 69-53 loss to Georgia in our fourth game of the tournament ended our hopes of reaching the second round of EuroBasket 2011. 

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Photos courtesy of Oleksiy Naumov from the Ukrainian Basketball Federation.