Cuspinera: "The main thing is to remove the stones from the backpack"

The new Movistar Estudiantes coach talks to AS before his debut on the bench next Saturday at the Unicaja court.


José Ramón, Jota, 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 he left a little on standby until he did not have all the seniors: I do not know yet where the team is going. 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 managed 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 to reentry 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 ...

Not rusty then ...

Something sure yes. And it will be noticed when we start competing: there will be some little thing that 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. Keeps you on your toes.

How does it affect you to enter again and not have the seniors from the beginning through the Windows?

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, in whatever 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 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, place my stamp ... 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 things that are working and are accounts.

How do you think Estudiantes have failed to lose 10 of the last 11 games?

I couldn't 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 that 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 do not want to put a single but to what was done before because all circumstances affect and also because I have lived it in other teams: you accumulate many defeats that are stones in the 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 Forward, Ultimately

The analysis of the above is done, but I can't 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 many different things because we are all different.

Missing a pivot?

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 consider what I want, but I have in the inner game: Víctor Arteaga and Delgado in the position of five and Alec Brown and Djurisic in that of four. They are the ones who have to take us forward.

How has the Jota that left changed compared to the one that has returned?

First, gray hair, as you can see (laughs). 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 poso.

About 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?

Without a doubt. 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 that I 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 participate and can help in what is day to day.

The day of his presentation he said 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.

And Giedraitis?

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 I have been, I have tried to give the homegrown players an outlet. 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 about the youngsters of Estudiantes, I know they have a desire, so which one I hope will 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 very club. I am not forgetting that philosophy and 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's my turn to score 30 points and you 10, and that tomorrow it will be the other way around. The player has to understand that the 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 in the Games to obtain another medal, which would be of great satisfaction for all of us who love this sport.

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