– Mantas, you have to tell us how you did – Igor Milicić, the coach of the Polish team, told the coach Cesnauskis during the season. In Słupsk they built a monster for little money. Now a revolution is brewing!
WP SportoweFakty / Rafał Sobierański / Szewczyk and Garrett
It was a wonderful dream that was carried out by the team of Grupa Sierleccy Czarnych Słupsk, although after the final whistle from the jury – in the bronze medal match with Anwil – sadness and disappointment appeared on the faces of players, coaches and chairman Michał Jankowski.
The residents of Słupsk hoped to end this wonderful season with a medal. They failed to reach the final after a close fight with Silesia in the semifinals (2:3), and Anwil Włocławek failed to beat in the “small final” (losing the draw by -16 points).
– I want to thank my players for this season. They played really great, for us – as a newcomer – it is a great success. Of course the “dot over i” was missing because we wanted to be in fourth place, but I don’t think that’s a reason to keep our heads down. In the locker room, I told the players that everyone had to be happy with what they had achieved – says Mantas Cesnauskis.
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It’s no secret that the main architect of the Słupsk team’s success was the aforementioned Cesnauskis, a trainer rookie on PLK jobs. This one has done an excellent job before and during the season. Because there is no need to hide that if it were not for the great, but also titanic, work during the holidays, these results would not be there. It is of course about the selection of players and the composition of the team.
The woman was angry
– I called a lot, my wife was mad at me because I was on the phone all the time, but I know it was worth it – smiles the coach of the Słupsk team who received the statuette in the category: “best coach of the 2021 season.” / 22, the Witold Zagorski Award”.
“Mantas, tell us how you did it, that you chose the composition so well. You have to sell us the recipe, after all you are the trainer of the PLK newcomer” – such words to Mantas Cesnauskis during the season were addressed by Igor Milicić, the coach of the Polish team. It was during a conversation between the coaches organized by the Polish Basketball League (you can see it on YouTube).
Everything in Cesnauskis’ team was perfectly organized: former leaders (Klassen, Garrett), second-level players (Witliński, Musiał, Słupiński – gave a lot of support), and they were all character, tough and ruthless. The team from Słupsk had the best defense after the regular round. The team never gave up, they were able to make up for a lot of points loss. These are the main characteristics to be successful in the Polish league.
– We didn’t have a lot of money, but I wanted to have humble and characterful basketball players on the team. I couldn’t go wrong as the margin was small. After a month, we could not say that the player did not suit us because there was no money for it – emphasizes the 40-year-old.
If we have the money, it was bold to say that Cesnauskis built a “basketball monster” for a small fee. We hear from various sources that the coach of the Słupsk team for the season had about PLN 2.5 million to spend on players (this amount has increased slightly during the season). He made a great result, especially when we take into account how many representatives from other clubs had to release – incl. in Ostrów Wielkopolski or Zielona Góra (both teams were eliminated in the quarter-finals).
a lot of profit
It is worth noting that Słupsk in the playoffs – thanks to their devoted fans – made a lot of money. We hear that the income on the match day was at the level of PLN 60-70 thousand. This is a huge injection of money for the club budget. And let’s keep in mind that Mantas Cesnauskis’ players played a whopping six games in “Gryfia” this part of the season. Tickets for all meetings went like “hot cakes” (selling out within 30-60 minutes).
Chairman Michał Jankowski does not hide his joy that the team – in its debut season on PLK courses – managed to conquer the competition in this way. Play-off matches, great results and the atmosphere in “Gryfia” are a magnet to attract new sponsors. We know that the club boss is fighting hard to increase the budget for next season. Apparently the target is … 5 million PLN, which would be a great achievement if we consider the possibilities of the club and the city.
And more money is needed if the people of Słupsk still want to lead the way in the Polish league. The league is not sleeping, also battling for new sponsors, in addition to the players who played in Black wanting – understandably – raises. And big ones, so now it can be assumed that we will see a new team next season. A revolution is brewing!
What will it be?
– Karol, give me a break with these questions about composition, transfers and changes. I want a drink! – Mantas Cesnauskis smiles when we ask him about the build-up of the team for the 2022/2023 season. There is a big challenge ahead of him and the Słupsk club. It is often the case that teams that achieved a good result for relatively little money later “are held hostage to their own success”. Because everyone wants more money for the next season. This will also be the case in Black.
William Garrett leaves the Blacks
We know that the team leader William Garrett will leave the team (the club won’t even make him an offer because the player is demanding a huge amount of money – he will go abroad). Marcus Lewis will also not be in Slupsk (he failed in the playoff stage), Kalifa Young is unlikely to stay. Instead, there will be conversations with Beau Beech and Marek Klassen. Much will depend on whether the Blacks will compete in the European Cups. The club is committed to this! It’s about the FIBA Europe Cup. President Jankowski already stated such a willingness in an interview with WP SportoweFakty in February.
– I can even confirm that I have spoken with the clubs that play in European cups. I have good relations, incl. with Trefl Sopot, who played in the FIBA Europe Cup. These are the games that interest us in the long run. But I say: I stand with both feet on the ground. If we can’t afford it, we won’t play there. Nothing with violence, he said.
A continuation can be expected in the context of the Polish line-up. Mantas Cesnauskis coach wants to continue working with Mikołaj Witliński and Jakub Musiał. Talks are already underway with these players about signing new contracts. It is no secret that Paweł Leończyk is in the orbit of interests, who resigned to appear in Trefl Sopot. He lives in Slupsk. – Of course I am interested in him – emphasizes Cesnauskis.
– There’s an interesting perspective ahead of us. It would of course be nice to see each other in a similar line-up, but sport is a living thing, a lot changes. There are players who “fly away”, which is understandable. It was a great season. Until September – emphasizes Michał Jankowski.
Sports don’t like a vacuum. The end of one season begins with the next chapter. The one that fans love. It’s been called the “crazy transfer window”. There is certainly a lot of speculation ahead in the context of changes in the Słupsk team.
Karol Wasiek, journalist from WP SportoweFakty
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