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Tom Hovasse sets expectations for Japan to be ''fast, focused, and moving forward''
TOKYO (Japan) - The world of basketball spins as a quick pace sometimes and it can leave you a bit dazed. Take the case of Tom Hovasse as an example.
"We are focusing on integrating everyone into our new system and getting better every day."
The American head coach went from taking Japan’s women’s national team to the Tokyo Olympics gold medal game to being appointed the men’s national team head coach in just over a month’s time.
"It’s been a crazy few months since the Olympics," said Hovasse.
It’s certainly a big and quick change for the 54-year-old tactician, he has not let that slow him down from going straight to work. He’s been spotted in the crowds, watching potential Akatsuki Five call-ups.
"I’ve been busy solidifying my staff, working on training schedules and most importantly, going out to watch games, scout and meet with the players," he said.
That would seem to be a dream job for basketball fans and Hovasse is certainly enjoying the benefits of setting up his courtside office.
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"As a coach, I’ve been really pleased with the high level of effort and competition. Also, the games in the B.LEAGUE are much more physical than I originally thought. The refs really let them play, but for me, that’s exactly what’s needed to prepare for FIBA competitions," Hovasse said of his B.League experience from the perspective as his main role.
"As a fan, the home team fan bases have been exceptional. The B.League teams have done a fantastic job creating a fun, entertaining and exciting atmosphere which creates a good home court advantage," he added.
Scouting and setting up the structure is the name of the game right now for Hovasse and Japan. However, the intensity should ramp up soon with the first window of the Asia Cup Qualifiers inch closer and closer.
As a part of Japan’s basketball program with the women’s national team, Hovasse consistently observed the men’s national team from not too far of a distance. He’ll now get the opportunity to lead the team himself.
"My impressions of the men’s team, prior to becoming the head coach, were that they always showed up and worked hard," said Hovasse.
"Typically, training camps are usually held in the middle of the tough, 60 game B.League schedule, but the players always came to work."
Hovasse is succeeding the well-accomplished Julio Lamas, who played a key part in building optimism for the men’s national team in the recent years. The head coaches of the men’s and women’s national teams have been well connected in the past years and now Hovasse takes up the torch to guide Akatsuki Five even further.
"Coach Lamas and I have a really good relationship and our practices were always open to each other," said the current head coach of his predecessor. "I took notes and picked his brain on a few things, for sure. He is a great coach and has so much experience."
Japan basketball fans certainly remember how Hovasse proclaimed that the woman’s national team would play in the gold medal game against USA. Considering how he followed through with the expectations he set on himself and the team, the fans are waiting to see once again what targets he has set for the men’s team.
This is what the ambitious head coach expects the fans to say about his team: "Fast, focused, and moving forward."
"I’m a big believer in setting high, attainable, detailed goals," Hovasse added. "Before setting the detailed goals for this team, however, I want to go through a training camp or two, talk with the players, create relationships and then set those goals."
"For the time being, we are focusing on integrating everyone into our new system and getting better every day."