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EuroLeague Women champion Mendez books quick return to Sopron
MADRID (FIBA U20 Women's European Championship 2018) – Spain will have a reigning EuroLeague Women champion at the helm when they land in Sopron for the FIBA U20 Women's European Championship 2018.
They will tip-off the defense of their crown and look to continue their domination of the event under the watchful eye of Miguel Mendez, who will return to the same arena where he guided UMMC Ekaterinburg to the EuroLeague Women title recently.
Even if he won't have the likes of Maya Moore, Alba Torrens, Brittney Griner or Emma Meesseman on his roster this time in Sopron, Mendez is excited to be back coaching for the national youth teams. He was also quick to heap praise on his predecessor Jose Hernandez, who had a hand in his entry back into the fold in his role as Technical Director.
He explained: "I am delighted to return. On this occasion, the opportunity came from the hand of Jose Ignacio Hernandez - a person I trust very much.
"In fact, I think it's great news that I'm working in this position in the Federation. And I am grateful, because when Jose Ignacio spoke with me, I was an unemployed coach. Not like now when it would be easy to get a job after winning EuroLeague Women and the Russian League.
"In the end, everything is basketball and you have to adapt to what you have in front of you. Coaching a EuroLeague Women team is not the same as one focused on international competition, but you have to adapt to the characteristics. Formatively, it is interesting to see other abilities in the players again, to have to think even more again - and everything that makes us think is very positive for a coach."
Mendez is acutely aware of the expectation and the need to continue a rich dynasty of those who have went before him at U20 level.
He added: "The successes of the Spanish women depend a lot on competitiveness - this, plus knowledge of the game. It is what makes the difference. It is never easy to win titles and the track record of recent years is incredible.
"We have a group [of players] with good physical capacity, with different players: big ones that can work, small ones that can run and that makes it a very Spanish game of fast transitions managed from the defense.
"It is an interesting generation because of the variety of resources they have. The great objective is to create a team with players who all have the same desire to win."
Spain will play against Belgium, Netherlands and Portugal during the Group Phase.