Lavar slams Vytautas coach training methods, full interview translation here.
Lavar: From Seskus training sessions my boys got worse. Thats why we went to Spain to recharge my boys. Seskus does not pay attention to physical preparation, they dont run and in general lack serious attitude towards practice. Its hard to win, because the coach does not get players ready. We have two practices per day, but for what? We pretend working twice a day for an hour and a half. You cant run full court twice and then argue who has to defend who. Its a waste of time.
After each practice me and my brother make sure my boys shoot enough shots, practice driving to the basket, rebounding. Thats the reason Gelo felt confident and ready today. We got here only because of hard work up to this point. So it does not matter what Seskus does, we will work using our methods. We will participate in his practices but we will train individually as well. Every day.
Q: What is your opinion on Vytautas practices?
A: I understand why they losing. With this coach mindset we will win nothing. He says we need to preserve players legs. No, you have to prepare those legs, train them up. Its just wrong attitude.
It seems like no one wants to play. Every time someone is shooting the ball, the coach shows the worst body language possible. He is acting like a fool. After a miss he is throwing his arms in the air. Would you really want to play under a coach like that? It creates bad atmosphere.
Everything starts from the top. If you dont have sufficient leadership up top, players will not give their all. But I will not be mad about it. I will just finish the season and will make sure my boys get better.
Q: People say your Barcelona trip was a bad choice.
A: coach says its something bad but they dont do anything serious over here anyway. Spain trip was preplanned long ago and we could not cancel it. I knew we would need that week to lift some weights and work hard for 3 hours like we are used to. Everything went great.
Its easy for Seskus to moan that boys went on holiday. We dont go on vacations. We ball. Gelo came back in better shape than guys who were here all week. What were they doing all this time? Nothing. Thats why my boys had to leave to recharge. Let Vytautas team do what they want, but we need to work more. We have to take care of physical preparation ourselves, extra shooting sessions, driving to the basket. We have to do it ourselves. We can look at the preparation for the game - it does not exist. Its a waste of time. I feel sorry for the guys who dont improve here.
Q: When did you decide to work extra time?
A: During practices Gelo takes maybe 10-12 shots. Then I see Gelo not driving to the basket in games and I ask him when did you practice that? They dont coach that, they dont have excercises to improve that. I used to not pay attention to this earlier and used to tell my kids to do what the coach says. Now I look closer and see same things happening again and again. So we decided to work extra time.
If Seskus worked like this all the time, thats the reason why they won only 4 or 5 games. Its clear to me now why players dont want to play fast. I did not see anyone running back and forth through full court hard. I dont have anything against the players, they are good guys, but approach has to be different if you want to be a winner.
Q: Could Melo play today because of illness?
A: Melo could play. Vytautas coaches tried to rush him back previous week. Now I told Melo to try to play. But coach in the end did not give him not even a second. So I will let Melo to fully recover, I will not rush him back. He could play a bit today and show what he can do, but the coach did not trust him. Many people came today who wanted to see him, but Seskus now for some reason makes decisions in too much of a personal way. But Melo will work and improve regardless. There are many good people here, we also help the team.
Q: We saw you in Poland over the weekend with Tomas Pacesas, now you talked with him a lot as well. (Note: Pacesas is 1996 Olympic bronze winner, won 5 Polish league titles as a player and 4 Polish league titles as a coach with Asseco Prokom team, so he has a connection there. I am guessing Pacesas and Lavar are exploring north Poland club as next one for his boys. Pacesas as a coach is very very strict, a true disciplinarian drill sergeant and would seem as a total opposite of Seskus training ways. Would be an definite improvement for Vytautas if he would take over from Seskus. Gdansk is 7 hours drive away from Prienai so there must be good reason to go there)
A: Tomas is a great guy, we talked a lot about basketball with him in Poland, eating out and having a great time. I like his basketball understanding, people respect him. We had some great meals, had an interesting converstation and saw different places, which were wonderful. I knew him earlier and wanted to spend some time with him. I saw people treating him with respect and I tought he is a former player. Then he learned how much he has achieved, that he is a winner. I am drawn to people like that. We got along right away. Now I will have a friend in Poland. He will be able to visit me in LA anytime. You get along with some people right away, this was the case.
Q: People are guessing Lavar is looking for new team in Poland for his boys.
Q: Let them talk. In Europe I want to find as many friends as possible. People are so genuine here its unbelievable. You communicate in a very open and honest way over here, I like it very much.