Zan Tabak on Hezonja's move: 'Playing for Real isn't the same as playing for other clubs'

2022-07-30 11:28
Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Croatian basketball coach Zan Tabak will lead the Polish first-division team Trefl Sopot next season, but he will remain tied to Real Madrid, where he played between 2001 and 2002 and served as an assistant twice (2006-09, 2013-15).

Until now, Tabak has lived in Madrid and runs a basketball school with his wife there.

As it turned out last week, at least one more Croatian is set to stay in the Spanish capital for some time. The 27-year-old Mario Hezonja left UNICS Kazan and joined the Royal club on a two-year deal.

Zan Tabak

Zan  Tabak
Position: C
Age: 52
Height: 213 cm
Weight: 115 kg
Birth place: Split, Croatia

"Hezonja is a very talented player. So far, he has shown his qualities and talent, but playing for Real Madrid is not the same as playing for other clubs," Tabak told HRT: Sport.

"Hezonja has quality, he has what it takes to be successful at the top-level, but also a lot of things have to come together to have a successful season, which does not depend only on him," the NBA champ and three-time EuroLeague winner added.

Tabak also believes that with the arrival of Hezonja, Real got a "very creative attacking player" in the small forward position.

"But Hezonja will have to adapt to the system where he is not the first option and not the only option. That's where the greatness of Real Madrid comes. The club has a lot of quality players and everyone has to fit into that," he explained.

Previously, Croatian players Drazen Petrovic, Damir Mulaomerovic, Bojan Bogdanovic, Marko Tomas, Ante Zizic, Dontaye Draper, and Boris Tisma have played for Real.

"The pressure in Real is not greater than in any other club. The pressure is simply as much as you create for yourself," Tabak stressed.

Last season, Hezonja starred in the EuroLeague with averages of 14.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 14.2 PIR over 25 games.

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