He had talks with Twardy Pierniki, a meeting with the Trefl authorities, they also had him on the radar in Lublin, but he is finally leaving Poland after a great season. We know who from our competition he wants to take with him.
WP SportoweFakty / Rafał Sobierański / Ivica Skelin
It was one of the most popular names on the coach’s merry-go-round in the Energa Basket League. The Croat Ivica Skelin has done a great job in the 2021/2022 season. He finished third in the “Best Coach in the League” standings after the regular round. Only Mantas Cesnauskis and Igor Milicić were ahead of him.
His Twarde Pierniki Toruń was one of the game’s biggest revelations. The squad that built hastily, for little money, proved very inconvenient for the best teams in the Energa Basket League. During the main stage, Toruń defeated Czarnych Słupsk, Stal Ostrów Wielkopolski or Enea Zastal BC Zielona Góra, among others.
This team was enjoyed watching, despite the fact that during the season…two leaders: Maurice Watson and Trevor Thompson left it. The successors chosen by Ivica Skelin proved to be of such quality that they managed to keep their place in the play-off phase. In the quarter-finals, the team from Toruń imposed hard conditions on Anwil, who eventually won 3:1.
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He has a new employer
We already know that the Croat will not be playing in Poland next season, even though he has been on the radar of several clubs. Skelin wanted to leave the representatives of Twardy Gingerbread, who are in the phase of building up the budget for the next game. We also know that the Croat had a very substantive conversation with the authorities of Trefl Sopot. There was even a meeting between the sides, but the club chose – as Skelina said – for Żana Tabaka, the number one on the list. They also thought of hiring a Croat in Lublin (there is still no coach chosen – it is said of coach Arthur Gronek).
In the end, the 48-year-old decided on the offer of the two-year contract from the Belgian club, Telenet Giants Antwerp, which had been knocked out in the quarter-finals of the play-offs a few days ago (a 1:2 defeat to Mons). The Belgians made a name for themselves in Europe, this team achieved third place in the Basketball Champions League in the 2018/2019 season.
– I received a specific offer from Belgium, which at the moment was by far the best in terms of sport. That was what I cared about the most. Antwerp always fights for the highest goals of the country and also performs on the international stage. The club is financially well organized. It was a very good proposal. I didn’t want to delay the decision, especially because the Belgians wanted time – tells Ivica Skelin.
– Were there any suggestions from Poland? – we ask the 48-year-old.
– Nothing concrete. I had an interview in Toruń, I also met the authorities of Trefl, I heard there was interest from Lublin. Other clubs already employ coaches or are constantly analyzing the market situation. I didn’t want to wait and count. Especially since I had a great offer on the table – he replies.
Ivica Skelin will no longer work in Poland
– Let’s be clear: Twarde Pierniki has had a great season and now everyone will expect this result to be repeated in the next matches. And it will be a very difficult task because there are several teams in the league that want to be in this place. I mean, Trefl, Start of Spójnie among others. Especially since everything indicates that Toruń will have a similar budget. Although chairman Barański is doing everything he can to give the club more to spend, he is in talks with sponsors. I wanted everything to go his way. This club deserves to report in the play-offs every year – says Ivica Skelin, who emphasizes that he has no claims against the Trefl authorities. Let us remind you that these were chosen by Żana Tabaka. Skelina’s compatriot signed a three-year contract.
– I had a very substantive conversation with the management of Trefl. The meeting was at a high level, the parties played open cards. I knew Tobacco was the first option for this club. I had no problem with that. This is business. I know Anna. He is a great person and coach. We are from the same city and club. We live in good relationships. When I signed the contract in Toruń, I called him to ask about various things about working in the Polish league. He helped me. I wish him all the best. I don’t blame anyone, he says.
He wants to get this man from Poland
Our information shows that the Croatian trainer really wants to go to Belgium… Dominik Narojczyk, who acts as a motor preparation coach in Twardy Gingerbread and the Polish national team. The parties will discuss a possible collaboration in the club from Antwerp. Skelin is very impressed with his skill. She talks in superlatives about him and his work.
– I would like to work with him in any club! – explains. – This is an expert in his field. I have been in this business for 15 years and have never had the opportunity to work with such a specialist. It was a great pleasure. If I only had financial capabilities, I’d always take it with me — he adds.
– I will say more: a greater loss to the inhabitants of Toruń would be his departure than mine – surprises Skelin.
“Why?” – we ask.
– The trainer is important, that is clear, but the role of the trainer in motor preparation is often underestimated. He has been there for many years and does a great job every season. He gave this organization a certain character. It’s very important. Look at the number of injuries in the last competition. We almost always played at full capacity. This shows something. Thanks to Dominik, the players were ready for a hard training session. It is worth talking and writing about it – she emphasizes.
The 48-year-old Croat says goodbye to Poland. But – as he emphasizes – he would like to return to the Energa Basket League one day. For now, he will build his position in the Belgian league.
Karol Wasiek, journalist from WP SportoweFakty
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Basketball Poland Twarde Pierniki Toruń Telenet Giants Antwerp Energa Basket League European Cups Toruń Dominik Narojczyk Basketball Champions League Ivica Skelin