Dusko Ivanovic:
I Have A Plan For How To Stop CSKA

Khimki head coach Dusko Ivanovic arrived at the club mid-season, made the necessary adjustments and is now preparing the team for a much-anticipated showdown with CSKA in the VTB United League playoff semifinals.

The Montenegrin boss spoke with VTB-League.com about his thoughts on the upcoming series, explained who on the team communicates his game plan on the court and admitted that he has a plan that should help stop CSKA.

- You joined the club mid-season. What was the first thing you changed?
- Every coach has his own philosophy. I tried to change the team's play, but not drastically. I only made a few small transformations. My predecessor, Rimas Kurtinaitis, did an enormous amount of work. Khimki played wonderfully under him, but the coach is always responsible for the outcome. When I first joined Khimki, the team was not prepared to play aggressive basketball for all 40 minutes, so we paid extra attention to our fitness at practices. Now we have a system of preparation in place and didn't change anything prior to the semifinals with CSKA. If you have a system that works, why change it, especially before such important games?

- Did you speak individually with the team's leaders, in order to communicate your philosophy, expectations and vision for how Khimki should play?
- We had some meetings with a few players, but I wouldn't like to focus on that.

- Each coach always has someone who communicates his ideas. Who is that person for you?
- The point guards always have that role on my teams. At Khimki it's Rice and Koponen.

- Paul Davis, James Augustine, Ruslan Pateev: Is there a chance we will see any of these big men against CSKA?
- Ruslan is out until the end of the season and definitely will not play in these games. Davis and Augustine are practicing with the team, but James is still feeling some pain in his ankle. He's trying and wants to be on the court, but we won't make a decision until the final practices. Paul has also started practicing, but he's in a different situation than Augustine. Davis hasn't played for a long time and lost his rhythm. I'm confident the series will be packed and we'll have an opportunity to give them time.

- CSKA has a lot of options and is tough to stop. But you probably have some sort of plan for the series to counter the Army Men?
- Yes, there is a plan. But I'm not the one on the court. The players execute my ideas and everything will depend on them. CSKA looks really good right now. Except for the 3rd quarter of the Euroleague final vs. Fenerbahce, they are playing very well, both on defense and on offense. The team is very talented and has a lot of players that can score. CSKA's leaders do a good job of reading the game and answering for the organization of the team's offense. I think they deserved to win in the Euroleague.

- Which Khimki players do you expect to step up in this series?
- I just hope that my team plays better than it has in past games. After all, we are focused on advancing to the finals and battling for a title. In the series against CSKA, each player needs to play much better than he has previously. That's my main goal and desire.

- You've worked at a lot of clubs, including Barcelona, Caja Laboral and Panathinaikos. Which of these prior teams reminds you of Khimki?
- I've worked at amazing clubs with big traditions, but each of them had their own unique character... I can't make a comparison here.

- Russia doesn't know a lot about you yet. What do you enjoy besides basketball?
- I read a lot. I also try to go to cultural places in my free time: museums, exhibitions, art galleries. We've had a time of intense preparation, however, and I've set that aside for now. I'll go to see exhibits after the season is over.