Brazil have thrown down the gauntlet to their opponents at the 2010 FIBA World Championship by naming Ruben Magnano as their new coach and the team’s stars have thrown their full support behind the new man in change.
Moncho Monsalve, the veteran Spanish boss who led Brazil the past two years, was hugely popular among the players but back surgery in late December and uncertainty over his recovery led to Brazil making a change and Magnano, who led Argentina to the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, was handed the reins.
He will lead Brazil at the FIBA World Championship in Istanbul against Group B opponents Team USA, Slovenia, Croatia, Iran and Tunisia.
“Winning the Copa America, which handed us a place in the World Championship in Turkey, proved the strength and talent of Brazilian basketball,” Brazil guard Leandro Barbosa said.
“We have excellent players that play in Brazil, Europe and in the United States. It’s clear that the work done by coach Moncho Monsalve and the technical team was important for us to reach our aims on and off the court.
“But it’s always important to highlight the professionalism and unity of the players.”
Barbosa, who plays for the Phoenix Suns, added: “Now we have a new commander in Ruben Magnano, who can count on me to keep Brazil at the top of world basketball.”
Magnano, who also led a talented Argentina squad to a silver medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis, most recently coached Atenas de Cordoba.
Anderson Varejao, the Cleveland Cavaliers power forward/center who played for Moncho last summer on Brazil’s gold-medal winning team at the FIBA Americas Championship, says the team is still in good hands.
“Magnano is a great coach,” Anderson said.
“He can help Brazil a lot. He had a lot of success with Argentina, he got excellent results and I am certain that he will have more success when leading Brazil.
“Moncho did a great job, without a doubt, and the results prove that he is an excellent coach.
“We have a new coach, a professional respected by everyone in the world, and a group with quality that is at the coach’s and country’s disposal.”
Brazil veteran Marcelinho Machado, who plays for Flamengo, also had kind words for Moncho.
He, too welcomed Magnano into the national team set-up.
“I see with good eyes the arrival of Magnano, a winning coach who has a lot of experience,” Marcelinho said.
“The CBB ( Brazil Basketball Confederation) opted to make this coaching change but I feel I need to congratulate Moncho for the excellent job he did with the Brazil national team.
“I am happy with the arrival of Magnano, who is an Olympic champion.
“He has everything needed to help Brazil be among the best basketball nations in the world.”