Roman Semerninov: “It is a great honor to work in the main team of the country”

The assistant coach of Loko will make his debut in the Russian national team in January. He will be one of the assistants to the head coach of the national team Zoran Lukic at the training camp.
The other day you were called up to the main men's national team for the first time. Who informed you about this, what were your first emotions and what, in fact, will happen at this gathering?
– I found out about the call from the club management. Of course, I was very happy! It's a great honor to work in the main team, to see the whole kitchen from the inside. The gathering to which I was invited will be held in Novogorsk from January 23 to 28. New candidates for the future will be viewed there – those who will be taken into the main squad for the next training camp.
Are you well acquainted with the head coach of the national team Zoran Lukic?
– I met him this summer. We had a U20 team training camp, Lukic came with his assistant and spent two days with us. He told us about his ideas, about what he wants from the players, because U20 is the closest reserve of the main national team, and we naturally have to work in accordance with the ideas of the head coach of the foundation.
And what are Lukic's basic basketball principles?
– Quick reading of the situation in the attack, quick decision-making from the players. Emphasis on protection, hard pressure, pressure. And the most important principles are 100% working out in any situation and a tight fight for the ball.
By the way, how do you like working in the youth team? What has been achieved during the work? What are the immediate plans?
– My path in the national teams of Russia began with U16. This is the same age that is currently playing in the U20 category. While we were still playing as U16, we managed to take fourth place at the European Championship for the first time in history – we lost to the hosts of the tournament – Italy at the very end of the bronze medal match. We won a ticket to the World Cup – but it was canceled because of Covid. Now a lot of guys from 2003 and 2004 are playing good roles in both the VTB Youth League and the Super League. Of course, we are looking forward to returning to international tournaments to see what we have learned and try to win medals. But for now we are just gathering strong players and preparing them for the national team.
How psychologically hard is it to work when the situation with returning to the international arena remains unclear?
– Maybe it's hard for some of the guys. But for me, working with the national team is a great honor and pleasure. And for our entire coaching staff, too. We see a personality in each player and do our best for everyone's development. What the RFB is doing now is not abandoning the youth teams, giving the guys a chance to study with the first team – this is a big step forward. I believe that my players can become great players and will glorify Russia. We didn't manage to take medals from U16 a little bit, since then we have learned a lot. I think we have excellent prospects – we will work, and everything will work out for us.
Many of the Loko players, we can say, grew up in the club under your personal patronage. How much do we expect for you the progress that Andrei Martyuk and Alexander Shcherbenev have shown in the last two seasons? What do other young players need to do to reach the same level?
– I don't like to single out anyone, but since you asked... Martyuk, getting playing time, confidently moves forward. I am glad that he became the best young player of the VTB United League last year. Now it's time for him to take the next step – to become the best in the league, regardless of age. Sasha Shcherbenev, even if not constantly, but shows an excellent game. Zakhar Vedishchev, in general, too. Vladislav Yemchenko – I love him very much as a player, I like everything. He just needs to work even harder, and everything will be ahead of him. We have a gorgeous Kirill Yelatontsev, who comes out and perfectly clings to every minute that the coaches trust him. Loko still has a reserve of young players who, I hope, will break into the league soon. There is no easy way. We need 100% work, and sometimes even 101%. Somewhere there is a lack of dedication, somewhere rigidity - it's all psychology, at such moments it is necessary to conduct self–analysis and work better. And then, I'm sure, everything will be fine with them.
The opening of the MTC "Locomotive-Kuban" – to what extent is this a landmark stage for the progress of our youth?
– This is a giant step forward! What Andrey Vladimirovich Vedishchev did is simply unreal! Our ITC is a very important step not just for the club, but for the entire sports industry in the Krasnodar Territory and Russia. Our Center is a wonderful springboard for the birth and cultivation of new stars. Now coaches and players have all the necessary conditions – you just need to work tirelessly and turn small stars into big ones.
The year 2022 turned out to be filled with significant events for you: you made your debut as the head coach of the club team, moreover, immediately in the European Cup, and played the match very well. Now here is a call to the first national team of the country. How do you assess the outgoing year for your coaching progress? And what do you wish basketball fans in 2023?
– The fact that we managed to hold a match in Paris against Metropolitan 92 as a head coach was a great experience. It is a pity that the team of one of the most titled mentors in Europe, Vincent Collet, failed to win in the summer (we are talking about the February European Cup match, to which most of the Loko players and coaches were not allowed due to covid restrictions; the Parisians won at the very end with a score of 95:92 - note of the club press service). All the stars seemed to converge in our favor, it was not enough just a little bit. But I still want to thank all our guys who came out on the court in that match – they were great. I am grateful to the president of the club for continuing to work at the foundation. Basketball is a game in which you can improve constantly, which is what I'm going to do. Thanks to everyone who is nearby – the coaching staff, the players, the management. I wish each of us to continue moving forward towards our goals. Take care of your dream and strive for it, never dropping your hands. Especially while you are young. Remember: while you are resting, competitors are working. Therefore, feel free to move towards your goal. And then all your dreams will certainly come true.
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