Coach George Filkinis is known as a master of the “Running Basketball” , as his teams always distinguished particularly by the extremely speed of development and execution of their offense. His way of offensive basketball influenced by the presence at Loyola Marymount University next to his “mentor” coach Paul Westhead. He is also considered as a defensive “genius” as he eminently use complex and pressing defenses with “traps”, multiple and consecutive rotations that confuse and overwhelm the opponent. Besides , it is no coincidence the fact that his personal record in 686 official games , is 483 (70,4 %) wins and 203 (29,6%) defeats , while have conquered 11 (eleven)championships at all levels as a head coach and 6 (six) as assistant coach and defensive coordinator. German Hoops had the pleasure speaking with coach George Filkinis about basketball.
Welcome back coach to the site of German Hoops and l would like to ask you to comment about the upcoming Eurobasket 2015 which will take place first time in history in four different countries.
Thanks a lot for the hospitality dear Miles and for the opportunity to contact with many friends and basketball fans both in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.Watching the draw from a purely technical side , clearly the Group B is very difficult and irresolute , as five National teams like Spain , Serbia , Italy ,Turkey and Germany will possibly “fight” for four places that lead to the next round and the “well-trained” team of Iceland to try to succeed the “miracle”. It’s difficult for everyone to make predictions, but I believe that according to the level of the basketball in these countries we will enjoy excellent games. The other Groups I think apparently are more “passable” without naturally someone to be able to exclude some loud surprises. Besides , most of the time in such top events , teams that no one expected or estimated , make an excellent course. I remind you that in the last Eurobasket of 2013 in Slovenia , traditional basketball European “powers” , like Greece , Italy , Russia , Germany , Turkey sunk , while teams like Ukraine , Finland , Belgium , Latvia , made a great , for the until then their capabilities , course. In conclusion I believe that everything is probable and a lot of current “facts” will be overthrown .
I would like to know your opinion George about the National Team of Germany after the hiring of coach Fleming.
I appreciate honestly the personality, knowledge and the overall value of coach Fleming. Besides , as I believe , always a coach must be judged by his results and coach Fleming’s results and his long and successful course honors him as a great coach. But my position which is widely known and proven with statistics , is that the uncontrolled influx of foreign players in Germany deprives time participation by local players and this situation clearly weakens the national team as coach has to rely on these players necessarily. Sure coach Fleming will put his personal stamp to the National Team of Germany but if the coaches of the BEKO BBL continue to give little time to the German players the course of the team will fall at the same low levels. And if you remember, dear Miles in our last contact I presented data according to which top German players , who are key members of the National team , play on their teams no more than 18 – 20 minutes per game. So something must be done so that the prevailing situation in the German league to change , to enter some restrictions and to give more opportunities and participation time to the native players. Unfortunately I am not optimistic that anything will change, because it will take “some” to work hard and in a certain and creative direction and I don’t know if they are willing to do it.
At this point coach I must ask you who do you mean exactly as I know you never hide your views.
The few friends of mine and they know very well that I always say things with their name and I will continue to do it even though if this costs for me and remains costing on my personal and professional life. So I think that a sizable percentage of the coaches who currently coaching in most European leagues and in Germany also , are “recyclable products” and “creations” of really great , excellent advertisings and public relations.They don’t offer something important to their teams , they don’t produce “deed” nor assist in the progress of the game. A coach is successful for me when he gives specific directions and roles to his players,”creates and provides,” “thinks hard”,”experiments”, “get risks” and puts finally his stamp and his philosophy on his team whenever he finally leaves. Few coaches leave behind something “creative”, something that will characterizes them. Most just MAINTAIN and perpetuate the situation. My few friends know also that this attitude of mine doesn’t express PERSONAL commitment or envy on my part , as many times REJECTED proposals , exceptional by financial side , because they didn’t cover my ambitions. I urge you to watch except of games and teams trainings and to see how many coaches and to what extent and frequency , engaged in improving the individual of their players and specially the native ones. I inform you very few. The most avoid to spend their time and to improve players as the foreigners are integrated players as they learned the game from high schools and universities. And no one cares or think that when the native will come to the National team he will have major weaknesses and he will not be able to “raise” levels in his National Basketball team.
Tell us about you now George and about your style of play … It’s known that you are an “up-tempo” coach but it’s useful our fans to know more details .
I decided to follow coach Westhead’s way of play first of all because he was my offensive teacher during the period I was in USA and secondly because I was seeing 18 years ago that the game of Basketball has to change to become faster and finally I vindicated by the results that my teams achieved and by the fact that even late FIBA decided to establish the rule of 14 seconds. The basic thought that created the entire offensive philosophy of the “Running Basketball” is purely a matter of probabilities. The more efforts to make shots from your opponent, the more chances you have to beat him if you are simply able to maintain a minimally “acceptable” accuracy. And when we are talking about shooting “efforts” obviously are needed more possessions of the ball than our opponents. As when we are talking about “shots” we mean “open” shots and from specific spots. So when 99% of the basketball coaches in all over the world are “teaching” their players offensive “systems” and “plays” to face all the possible game situations, general and specific, depriving them the creation and the initiative we “teach” our team how to create “possessions” and “open shots” in 3 seconds with the help of the basketball fundamentals and mathematics. This style of play, has nothing to do with the “common” running game that some teams use at times and if you “adopt” it once you CAN NEVER COME BACK. If you follow this first of all you will not be popular. This is a “radical change”and people don’t like radical changes. Your fellow coaches , administrators and fans will dislike you. Because it’s too hard for anyone to understand. For example why you are still running when you are up 15 and there are 4 minutes to go in the game and you don’t delay the game? They can’t understand that it’s impossible to “stop” your team. Even the officials will absolutely dislike you because you make them work too hard. So why we do this ? Because it works , has great results , makes our team solid and almost unbeatable and personally I don’t give a damn if they like me or not , if they hate me or not , when my team runs and strangles the opponent. I don’t give a damn also, because my job is to find “ways” to make my team to win the games and this kind of basketball “proven” is the best I ever had.The philosophy of this “Running Basketball” is that we run on every situation. Turnovers, steals, defensive rebounds, made shots, missed shots, loose balls, up 20, down 20. Non stop running. I’m a strong believer in what Sun Tzu writes in his book ” the Art of War”. When you prepare everywhere you will be weak everywhere. So we don’t spend our time in practices to teach our team what to do against personal defenses or zone defenses. Our fast break is all that we do, we run it and that’s it. We have no zone offense as I said earlier, no press offense, no secondary offense, no delay offense. We do one thing and the players know we do one thing and they believe in what we do because they have no choice. They have no choice because there’s no alternative. We have a 7- second offense on missed shots . If we get the defensive rebound we like to shoot the ball within 7 seconds. On made shots we have a 3 – second offense. We will get the ball out of the net and shoot within 3 seconds. It takes us 7 seconds to get a shot if the opponents miss and 3 seconds if they make it. Our main goal is to get 100 shots a game when our team is ready. We are more interested for shots and points than anything else and when we get a lot of points we usually win. We never but never use “scouting” we don’t waste our time to analyze our opponents way of play. Our assistant coaches and all our staff works hard for our team. And in most games we don’t call time outs, we don’t need them as we haven’t anything to say and our players know very well what to do and they have to do only one thing. Deeper than that if a team is scoring on us the worst thing for us to do is to call timeout because we need the clock running to do our game. Dead time hurts us stop our pace and gives breaths to the opponents. This is just a part of my offensive philosophy that gave me untill now in 686 official games , 483 (70,4%) wins and 203 (29,6%) defeats and this is my one and only weapon.
It’s really impressive coach this kind of play and give us more details and if it’s possible a sample of your defensive philosophy and about your next plans .
Some times even though seem a little selfish, I enjoy with some who claim, insist and flaunt that their teams are running. You’ve heard about early offense? Let me inform you that I have and I use a pre – early offense. Everything happens so quickly that sometimes even the guy who operates the game clock, the timekeeper is confused. But the most important of this offense first of all is that due of its quickness the opponent´s teams are constantly in a situation of transition defense and fail to apply against us their well – training defenses and secondly that our players do whatever all the basketball players in every point of the planet like to do which is to run and shoot the ball and no one will care or worry if they will make the basket or not. It’s normal to play special defenses that will allow us to steal balls , to push opponent for turnovers and to make easy baskets. Our players like to play aggressive on defense because they know that always a teammate is next to them for help. I always in our practices force the defense to play with a player less when other teams play 5 VS 5 and believe me that in two weeks with our right guidance and drills, the team is quite ready to play a whole game with four players. You asked me about my plans Thank God I am independent both as a professional and as a person and so I’m not making compromises and concessions.
I had proposals this season but were not tempting not from the financial side but in terms of the quality, the work conditions and the goals. I’ll continue to choose the teams with which I want to cooperate and I’ll continue to propose myself to groups with “low profile” but which stick at nothing like me to overthrow forecasts and projections and to succeed where others do not dare even to think. I’m always ready dear Miles to play the game the way I like and to face all the surprises that only basketball can give.
Thank you coach for this interview and for all the answers and the information you gave us.
I have to thank you and German Hoops also for this opportunity and I hope that the teams will offer a great spectacle to the fans and the German basketball to rapidly identify and get back to leading positions it deserves in Europe.
coach George P. Filkinis
Mobile phone : 6972-393-444
Home phone : 210-613-6669
Office phone : 210-804-1333
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