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Former NBA assistant Greenberg ready to win games as new Kosovo boss
PRISHTINA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Pre-Qualifiers) - Former NBA assistant coach Brad Greenberg has been handed the reins as the new head coach of the Kosovo national team, and the American enters the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Pre-Qualifiers with the full intention of winning games.
The 63-year-old Greenberg, who is currently coaching with Turkish Second Division club Eskisehir, was signed on a one-year deal with the Kosovo Basketball Federation (BFK) with the aim of getting the young Federation to the 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers.
"The purpose is to win the games. I cannot say how many of them will be won, but I can freely say that our goal is to win the games and move on in the qualifications," said Greenberg, who served as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks in the 1980s.
Brad Greenberg (left) at a press conference announcing his appointment.
Kosovo have been drawn into Group C of the qualifiers with The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Estonia. Kosovo will play the other two teams on a home-and-away basis with the games taking place on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 2 and 19 August 2017. The top two teams from the group will move onto the European qualifiers.
"We believe that with Brad Greenberg we will be able to reach our goal, which is beating the opponents in Group C and moving on to the other qualifying matches for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019," BFK president Erolld Belegu told reporters at a press conference announcing Greenberg's appointment. "We believe that upon the will of everyone involved, we will manage to succeed and overcome this great challenge."
Greenberg, who served as an assistant coach with the Venezuela national team at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2012, said he wants to widen the pool of players available to him for the Qualifiers.
"The first gathering would be comprised of a larger group of players, including some young basketball players, who will have the opportunity to gain experience. There are some players who last year were not part of the Kosovo national team, however they have expressed their wish to do so this year and we shall invite them," said the Plainview, New York-native, who guided Maccabi Haifa to the Israeli league crown in 2013.
"The purpose is to win the games. I cannot say how many of them will be won, but I can freely say that our goal is to win the games and move on in the qualifications."
Greenberg, whose brother Seth is a former collegiate coach in the United States and current college basketball analyst on ESPN, also said he wants his players to focus solely on Kosovo and no other matters.
"When July and August approach, the only thing they should think about is the national team," he said.
Greenberg is looking forward to the challenge of being a head coach of a senior national team.
"I was an assistant to the Venezuela national team and I liked that experience, namely because it was unique, different from the one when you lead a team. Therefore when this opportunity was offered to me, I wanted to test myself," Greenberg said.
Kosovo became part of the FIBA family as a member federation in 2015 and played their first senior national team competitive games last summer at the FIBA EuroBasket 2017 Qualifiers, where they lost all six games against Bulgaria, Slovenia and Ukraine.
In the buildup to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Pre-Qualifiers, Kosovo will play friendly games against Tunisia (two games in Kosovo), Slovakia (two games abroad), Austria and Albania.