Former Atlanta Hawks coach/Marv Albert’s right-hand man Mike “The Czar” Fratello has been named coach of Team Ukraine in advance of Eurobasket 2011. According to press releases and Associated Press reportage, Ukrainian Basketball Federation president Olexandr Volkov stated that “We have a verbal agreement and will sign an official contract any day now. This will be a short-term deal to prepare the team for EuroBasket 2011.”
In 16 seasons with the Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies, Albert compiled a 666-542 record in the regular season plus a 20-42 mark in 11 playoff appearances.
Though his two-plus years with the Grizzlies ran from 2004 to 2007, Fratello has been more well-known for his television work since at least 2000, typically teaching up with Marvelous Marv on American TV.
Volkov played for Fratello’s Hawks in two seasons, averaging 6.8 points and 2.6 rebounds in 16.5 minutes played per game
Team Ukraine will be playing in its first-ever Eurobasket tournament this summer in Lithuania, qualifying for the round of 24 by dint of FIBA Europe’s decision to expand the former tournament of 16 by invite.
Press release follows.
(Sports Features) – Former NBA coach Mike Fratello will lead Ukraine at the EuroBasket this summer in Lithuania.
Fratello, the former boss of the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies who turned 64 on Thursday, has reached agreement on a deal with Ukraine’s basketball federation and will sign a contract in the coming days.
Olexandr Volkov, who once played for Fratello and the Hawks, is the president of the Ukrainian Basketball Federation and he said: “We have a verbal agreement and will sign an official contract any day now.
“This will be a short-term deal to prepare the team for EuroBasket 2011.
“Mike might arrive in Ukraine next week to introduce his coaching staff and to tell everyone about his plan.
“The national team is expected to start practicing in early July.”
Fratello was a celebrated coach in the NBA who has become even more famous in the United States as an NBA analyst for television where he has earned the nickname the ‘Czar of the Telestrator’.
Valeriy Kondratiev, Ukraine Basketball Federation Vice President and president of club side, BC Dnipro, said: “We’ve been in contact with Mike for quite a while over the phone and it’s great that this meeting has allowed us to finally agree on the deal.
“A coach of this caliber will head the national team for the first time in history and with Mike’s experience and talent, we’ll be able to expect to at least advance from the group.”
Ukraine will play in Group D with Slovenia, Russia, Belgium, Bulgaria and Georgia.