Basketball / Elan Béarnais: “I made an abstraction of everything”, testifies Eric Bartecheky

“Yes, I won it at the end of the season with qualifying for the semi-finals after winning the French Cup. I felt that people were satisfied with what we did throughout the season. »

Honestly, before the semi-finals do you think your team is capable of competing with such vigor in Monaco?

“Regret is especially not to have been in any measure at least to rise in them, to take one of the two. Frankly, at 0-2, yes I was nervous, I was afraid it would end with an implicit 3-0. But in the image of the season, the group showed that it had the resources to bounce back when the rest of the world didn’t believe in us yet. I could offer two similar matches at the Palace allowed us to go out through the big door in a crazy atmosphere that I am not about to forget. »

Sans regrets?

“Yes, you. With the backdrop, I regret not having to take a deadline after the first two baskets were locked in the 3rde quarter-time of the fourth match even if it was after 40 seconds, as we finally tied an 8-0 that sends us almost into the ropes, at least 13. ”

At what moment of the season did the team reveal itself?

“Later, Paris, for the final of the French Cup. Living and sharing such moments together helps to overcome. After the final, there were some difficult moments but we went through them more easily thanks to the cup. »

After the defeat at the Palace against Nanterre on April 19, a week before Bercy, do you think the public unpacking of the ego problems the team went through was salutary?

“It’s easy to say afterwards. In any case, just before the final, it allowed to create a big abscess. You can avoid the effect of the opposite and faire exploser of the equipe, from the last time it was poured a chance. »

After the cup, how did you manage to mobilize the players for the playoff goal?

“I told myself it would be difficult to start. He just had to accept that this victory generated a period of uncertainty. I knew there would be no measure of making big efforts in the following matches, with ASVEL arriving from Tuesday and then Cholet on Saturday. The guys are not robots, it was normal to live a slow life after the completion of Bercy, especially when in front of the teams they took us even more seriously. Otherwise, the discourses have a positive effect on a perdu cinq matches de suite. The losses were not linked to the same reasons, they did not come from the fact that the team did not play together, that there were tensions. Hindi, it was just that at the moment we were not in the process of reproducing the same efforts. Now, in remet en mode compétiteurs, at the end of the regular season with three wins plus two in the quarter-finals. »

Is the success of the season also linked to the fact that it ended without having to “cut” a single player on the road?

“It’s likely, it’s a performance and a promise to live well collectively.” In the coming season, with Pau in 2016, with a comeback in the playoffs and in 2018 and with the Mans champion. it is only possible when you win. »

Had it been complicated to accept the rest of the team that Brandon Jefferson had needed to pick up a dozen shots at three points per game, leave to scratch a bit?

“Yes, and it has been a concern since the beginning and a good part of the season, until Bercy. Brandon, without changing his way of playing, could be the savior one night and the one who is blamed once and for all because he shoves too much. At the beginning of the season, he believed I didn’t want him, but it was a mistake. I had received him in my office to explain the recruitment, telling him that I had validated his arrival with the interrogations that it was supposed to. I had nothing against him. »

The Jefferson-Bibbins cohabitation and also time to plan…

“From the beginning, I felt there was competition between them, over leadership. Each wanted to have a big impact on the team, the two wanted to be in the top five, full of things that posed problems. Brandon has a strong personality, charm. He has nothing to lose, strong in his two -year contract and his relationships with CSG, and his qualities. I remember full of matches at the beginning of the season where they won and where the guys were having fun then until Tuesday or Wednesday when they weren’t content with their individual Saturday performances! If not Brandon, Justin. At the time, Bibbins, who was still young, put his emotions aside and adapted. Sa isang I had a discussion and I was convinced that he had accepted his role as sixth man. He’s the same one who sometimes tells me not to go out Brandon too long, he’s crazy! »

Does the collective balance finally not matter much?

“There is a game where the ball has to move a lot, so that everyone can touch the ball and then crank into the cake, to then invest defensively without creating frustration, but being pragmatic, one must also accept that some are more on the front of the stage, that’s Brandon’s case. He had to admit that he was abusive sometimes but throughout the season, it was a success. »

Do you see any similarities between Brandon Jefferson, DJ Cooper and Michael Thompson, the three high-tempered men you had in Pau?

“They are not in the same game register, but for the three they have to make sure they often have the ball in their hands. If for several possessions, they do not see the balloon, they feel useless and hide in negative frustration. It can cause damage in a group. I always arranged for them to feel important and valued so that they would fit. »

If you have to choose only one of its three players….

“Ah, the three are important but I admit I chose Cooper. He also knew how to shoot from afar, but he impressed me with his impressive ability to pass the ball. It was always there where it had to be, when it had to be, it was pretty fabulous. »

Is the pleasure of going to the semi-finals and pushing Monaco into its rematch is different from last year’s when you managed to save the relegation club?

“It’s different and I prefer the fun of this season. Last year, the pressure was high, when we won it was more of a relief than a pleasure. If they didn’t win, the reality could be very sad for the club, the salaries. Playing matches is a little bonus in the playoffs, it’s easier. »

You will be surprised to see that the players remained focused until the end when they would have had all the good reasons, linked to the club’s temporary management, salary delays, to the payment of the French Cup premium. in tokens, to leave the case sooner?

“Yes, it is impressive enough to see that we have had such results with the context around. I even asked myself if the fact that all the activities around us did not retain the links of the group and contributed to making it more effective. This was able to relieve the pressure. On my level, I made an abstraction of everything while focusing solely on the team. After all, I can’t imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t won as many matches at the beginning of the season with the ambient brothel, an organization confused with everyone talking, it could have exploded. I am quite proud to have a group that has always taken the upper hand, that has never let things slip. »

You beat ASVEL in regular season, won the French Cup, Levallois came out, leader for the three quarters of the season, beat Monaco in match 3 of the decks before being a shot to win match 4, finally , the coach of the year, aren’t you?

“To the others to judge. I was three times out of the three nominees. After all, it’s awkward to cancel the coach of the year title while the regular season isn’t over! What followed showed that other coaches deserved to be in the three cities, I think Laurent (Vila) and what he did with Cholet then. In 2018, this name, Vincent Collet was rewarded, like this year, but I was champion at the end. If I have to choose, the choice is quick! »

Are you attached to the recognition of the environment?

«Absolutely not,. If people think I do good things so much better, if not so much worse, I’m mad. I consider myself an atypical coach. I have some affinity with some, but this is not a conference, we do not share anything. »

Are you really interested or a candidate to join the staff of the French team?

“Yes, that’s something I enjoyed a lot, but I would never knock on the door. On the other hand, if it is offered to me, I will accept it to give what I can give at my level, while remaining in my place, but especially to learn. »

Exactly, how does a coach progress, while studying match videos?

“We are inspired by what is happening elsewhere in the League but also in Euroligue. This was I was going to do some work on the forms of play, the defenses, the matches of Monaco and Villeurbanne in Euroligue. What is interesting, but you have to have time in front of yourself, is to immerse yourself in a week in a big European club, to see how they work. I was supposed to do it after Gravelines but because of Covid it fell into the water. »

This is, is it a huge reconstruction site you are waiting for?

“When you don’t have the capacity to have a budget that increases to offer enough numbers to the players that you want to keep, you fix an almost white sheet. »

Are you frustrated?

“I relativize, I take a step back from that. But after such a season, the chances of doing well next year are very low. It can also be an engine, a challenge to take on. Silver or not, the alchemy of a group can never be anticipated. »


The Bercy crown against Strasbourg in the final of the French Cup will remain the coolest moment of the Elan season.

Jean-Philippe Gionnet

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