16 - 25
June 2017
Stefan Svitek (HUN)
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Roller-coaster takes Svitek and Hungary to a high

PIESTANY (FIBA EuroBasket Women 2017 Qualifiers) – It’s been an emotional roller-coaster for Stefan Svitek of late, in a period which has encapsulated the peaks and troughs experienced by a coach.

When the Hungary national team play-caller reported for international duty it might have felt a relief to leave his role of fighting fire at CCC Polkowice who have been continuing to misfire both in the Polish League and in EuroLeague Women.

Svitek was parachuted into the club a fortnight ago and was unable to arrest the slump after losing his first three games in the space of eight days.

Yet in stark contrast, the phlegmatic Svitek enjoyed the satisfaction and elation of leading Hungary to back-to-back Final Round appearances as they took their ticket for EuroBasket Women 2017.

It was a significant accomplishment, since having been co-hosts of the event last year, this was the first-time Hungary had manoeuvred their way through qualification since way back in 2008.

The play-caller returned to his homeland and collected a superb 68-49 win against Slovak Republic. He pitted his wits against another former Good Angels Kosice coach in Maros Kovacik, who also guided his country to Prague and Hradec Kralove despite the setback.

It was a real breakout performance by Hungary who were dominant for long periods and thoroughly deserved their triumph, which was very different from their thrilling one-point win on home soil in the opening meeting.

Courtney Vandersloot debuted for her adopted nation during the win in Piestany

"I have to congratulate both teams for qualifying and especially from this tough group," stated Svitek as he pondered Hungary heading back to join the Continent’s elite.

"We had to win both games [against Slovak Republic] to advance to the Final Round and we did good job during summer, when we found new players.

"We played great and we put our heart into this [last] game and I am proud of my players," he added.

Hungary managed to exchange the naturalised Allie Quigley for another WNBA performer in Courtney Vandersloot, who will be suiting up with Yakin Dogu Universitesi in EuroCup Women. As Svitek outlined, it was a smart move which could bode well for the future if she stays on board - or, if Quigley was to make a return.

Going to Final Round might feel a bit like unfinished business for Svitek and Hungary after they bombed out at the first phase which was a big disappointment. Ironically, their only win in four games came against Slovak Republic.

There’s little doubt Hungary will be looking for an improved offering on Czech soil and Svitek will want to repay the faith shown in him after being given the chance to pick up the pieces.

🇭🇺❤️ #eurobasket2017 #roadtobudapest #proud #wearehunbelievable

A photo posted by D e b o r a D. (@deboradubei) on

Meanwhile Hungary also have some players who have found a new gear in their careers such as 3x3 baller Dora Medgeyessy, while the likes of emerging teenage stars like Debora Dubei are regularly getting good minutes with Uniqa Sopron.

For now, it’s back onto the roller-coaster again for Svitek as he picks up the Polkowice coaching reins, knowing he has huge job ahead of him.

On that basis, it would be understandable to put Hungary’s exciting prospects next June to the back of his mind for a while.