Andrey Vedishchev: “I believe that this season will be a breakthrough for many of our students”

The President of the PBK "Lokomotiv-Kuban" and the Basketball Federation of the Krasnodar Territory summed up the results of 2022.
Now Russia is suspended from international competitions. Where do athletes look for motivation now?
– Motivation should not depend on whether it is an international competition or a domestic one. An athlete should always have one motivation – to play and win. We are temporarily not participating in international competitions, but this is a good time to reboot. In my opinion, this can have a positive effect – in the sense that we pay more attention to internal tournaments, preparing reserves for the future.
Is the VTB United League level much different this season from last year?
– Of course, the number of high-class players in the league has decreased slightly. But I wouldn't say that the level of the tournament has dropped. VTB United League remains highly competitive, almost all matches are held in an interesting struggle, new names appear. Such conditions are well suited for building a team with an eye to the future, which is what we are doing.
How would you rate the performance of the league's newcomers – the IBA and Samara?
– Samara is performing well for a beginner so far, but not as well as they might have hoped. And the way the MBA is going is definitely a surprise. A well–chosen strategy for the season, excellent work of the coaching staff - these are the main components of their success. This is a very diligent team, plays defensively, with high motivation, fights for every ball. In general, it is natural that they are now in fourth place.
9 pupils of the club system are currently declared for the main team of Loko. Did you expect their transition to the foundation to be so fast and massive?
– This is our strategy. We want to give our students more time on the playground. Of course, not all of them are 100% ready for the required level yet. Even the players who have been playing in the VTB United League for more than a year are experiencing certain difficulties this season. And first of all, this is due to the fact that their role on the site has changed. Previously, they were playing along, but now they have become those on whom the result directly depends. For them, this is a new role that requires appropriate training. Everything should be at a high level: technical, physical readiness, character and fighting qualities. Not everyone is succeeding so far, but I believe that this season will be a breakthrough for many – in terms of understanding at what level you need to be in order to win medals of the VTB United League and fight for the championship.
This season, SSHOR-Loko's home matches began to be broadcast on regional TV. How much do you think this will help popularize basketball in the region?
– This is definitely a development in the right direction. I am very glad that we have agreed with the Krasnodar TV channel to show our matches. Many thanks to them for their participation and support. Such things as showing Super League matches on TV, as live broadcasts before the matches of the main team, as a regular TV program with an overview of what is happening with basketball in our region – all this is very valuable and important. This helps to get more and more fans interested in basketball. Basketball fans should be aware of how the team of the nearest reserve plays and prepares – this brings players closer to their target audience.
In April, the Krasnodar Basket Hall hosted the final of the 15th Locobasket - School League Championship, which was attended by teams from 37 regions of Russia, as well as from Abkhazia. There were even more regions in the 16th championship - 44. Did you expect in 2006, when it all started, that the tournament would grow to such a scale?
– At the start of the project, we did not plan to go beyond the Rostov region. But in the end, everything turned out to be much bigger. With the support of Russian Railways, we managed to promote the tournament to the national level and attract schoolchildren from more than half of the country's regions. Today we can say that the School League has a great present and a wonderful future. "Locobasket" has become a springboard for the most promising guys. As the head of a professional club, I would like to note that for many children, the school championship is an opportunity to show their potential, and for the most talented – to get into the structure of a professional club. Now there are three players in the Loko-2006 squad, whom we invited from the School League (Evgeny Aliyev, Ilya Anufriev and Maxim Malakhov – press service note). As for the number of participants, we do not set ourselves any limits. Russia is a big country, covering all regions is our long–standing dream.
The number of children's and youth competitions in the Krasnodar Territory is also growing from year to year: last year there were 16 of them, this year – 21. Krasnodar Amateur League – KAUB – is considered the strongest in the Southern Federal District and the North Caucasus Federal District. Is there still room for development in these areas?
- of course. The Regional Basketball Federation, together with the Ministry of Sports of the Krasnodar Territory, will continue to support and develop these areas. Children's and amateur competitions are the main tool for popularizing basketball and, accordingly, a healthy lifestyle. There should be even more competitions, because this directly affects the development of basketball and its popularity.
In April, the first ever Cup of the Krasnodar Territory among amateurs in the age category "40+" was held in Nebug. The tournament gathered a lot of enthusiastic ratings. Did you expect that the veterans' competitions would cause such a resonance?
– I am very glad about it. Competitions of veterans are usually deprived of attention, they are funded on a residual basis. Therefore, it was very important for us, as the Regional Basketball Federation, to hold an All-Russian tournament at a high level. Many thanks to the organizers and the participating teams. Finding a budget for such a team and organizing a trip is not easy. We will continue to hold such tournaments and not forget veterans – this is a necessary and important thing.
After all, you yourself played in this tournament, moreover, in the team that won.
– Yes, it is. The tournament left me with the most positive impressions. Firstly, thanks to the atmosphere and the opportunity to chat with guys I know from my professional career and whom I haven't seen for a long time. Secondly, the final turned out to be really spectacular: in a very hard fight we managed to beat the reigning champion of Russia - the team from Kursk. We pulled out the match at the very end – we can say on character and experience (laughs).
You won another award in February, at the VTB United League All-Star Game, when you and your son Peter won a basketball skill contest. How did you feel receiving this prize?
– It was a great pleasure for me to see how Peter reacted to what was happening, how he played with burning eyes. How much time has passed, and Petya continues to ask me regularly: "When is the next All-Star Game? Will they call us again?" The format involving children to participate in skill contests, in my opinion, is very successful. After all, such emotions remain with the child for life – and this is the most valuable thing that basketball can give.
What did you remember about 2022?
– It's been a difficult year. A lot of things had to be rethought and rebuilt. The main result of the year for me is the opening of our Youth Training Center. I think this facility will become a leader in the country for many years in terms of training high–level basketball players - both for the Lokomotiv-Kuban club and for the national teams of the country of all ages. This is, of course, one of the most important achievements of the Lokomotiv-Kuban PBK and the Regional Basketball Federation in 2022.
What do you wish basketball fans for the New Year?
I wish you have enough time and energy for your favorite activities. Let the difficulties of life do not prevent you from devoting more time to yourself – and, of course, to playing basketball!
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