Hapoel "Shlomo" Tel Aviv BC | Official site | "I'm here because of the ambitions of this club"

"I'm here because of the ambitions of this club"

George Chinas, Hapoel's new General manager, explains why he came, what it means to be a "basketball manager", how he chooses the players, and also: what would he prefer to be called? interview

"In Greek, my name is Yorgos. George is the English version of the name - so I prefer George. My last name is pronounced Chinas." Our new General manager, George Chinas, arrived towards the end of the season and is already working vigorously together with the management and the Basketball staff on building the team for next season. Between signings, he took time to answer all our questions.

Tell us a little about yourself. where did you come from? where do you live in greece
I live in Athens. I am married and have an 8 year old child.
For the past 14 years, I have been in AEK, whose story is quite similar to Hapoel, because it also came from the lower leagues. When I arrived, we were in the third division and slowly climbed up to the first division.

And before that you played basketball?
I didn't play professionally, a bit at a low level in my hometown in northwestern Greece.
Have you ever been a coach?
No. I have always been a "basketball manager". It's always what I wanted to do.
Soccer is the main sport in Greece, but I was crazy about basketball. From a very young age I started watching basketball more than football. The first game I watched was at the age of seven. So I quite
liked it and gradually I also started watching European basketball games, other leagues and everything.

What is your greatest success as In terms of a player you were able to bring?
I would say my biggest and most important signing was Kevin Panter. Because he actually came from a lower level, because he is an excellent person and also because we rushed to sign someone for the cup final within a week. So we managed to bring him and we won the cup final against Olympiakos in one week when he is one of the best players.

Why did you want to come here?
I saw that Hapoel is a developing club with a lot of hunger to win titles. I'm not the type of guy who just sits behind a desk and does his regular job every day. I need to be in a team that has a lot of ambition, a lot of fans and I thought it was the right moment for me to make a change and come to a club that is hungry to do more and win titles.
Winning titles was the first thing for me.

Can you explain what a General manager at Hapoel Tel Aviv means?
It is basically divided into two parts:
The first part is the player signing process, which is happening right now. The "recruitment process" begins in September, when the league begins. So I start watching almost all the leagues. I also have several contacts around the world, and basically start creating a list with certain players for each position and try to test them - three to five times each player. Then narrow down the list by the end of December to be ready by next season. And during the summer, obviously it's the signing process where you have to fill out the roster. It will last until August.

The second part actually begins as soon as the admission process is finished and the season begins, then you really have to set the goals, which are already known, and to achieve them it has to be a marathon, it's not a single game.

In order to achieve the goals, the rules of cooperation and human relations must be determined. And when you are talking about a group of more than 30 people that you work closely with every day, you need to set some rules that everyone will respect and then you can achieve the desired result.

How important is the personal character of the players and crew you work with?
At the end of the day, to be honest, this is the first and most important criterion. I can pick a player who is less skilled or less talented - but I know he's a winner and has character and personality, rather than picking someone who has a lot of talent but you don't see any motivation in him.

What are the characteristics of the players you have brought so far and those you plan to bring?
The first and most important criteria is what we discussed earlier - someone who has the winning mentality.
Secondly, the most important thing is to understand where you are going, because this is not an ordinary club. So you have to understand that this is a special club. You have to connect with the management, the professional team, the various club employees, volunteers, fans and the community... If you can't do all these things, if you're not ready to mentally commit to the club - you can't be here.

Do you think there is a difference between Israeli and foreign players?
The first thing I did when I got here was to tell the management that in order to get degrees both in Europe and in Israel - we need to strengthen what we call the "Israeli core". That is, to bring in Israeli players who can play in the club and not only in the upcoming season. Why? Because my goal, of course, is to create a team, also for the coming years, that will be competitive and win titles.

How different is Israel from Greece?
It's actually pretty much the same thing. People have the same mentality, they are very passionate. You know, I've also seen the fans here live and I really like it. The fans connect mentally with the players, which is very important and gives the players a huge boost.

What can we expect to happen in Hapoel, as an organization, with you?
First of all, I found here an organization full of good people, professionals, and most importantly - love the club, which is actually the first thing. People work here who are ready to do anything for the club, for whom it is much more than another workplace.
So we have a very good base. I'm not the guy who jumps in and changes everything right away. We need to use everyone who is here, loves the club, and has the potential to achieve even more and improve. Of course, we can also fulfill some other roles, but I understand that the club is growing, the offices are growing, the number of employees is increasing and that is very welcome. I guess it also connects with the ambitions to enter the Euroleague. We are in a good direction.

What is your message to the fans?
In the world of social networks everyone has an opinion and I respect that. But I'll just make a suggestion that I'm sure you'll follow - like I said before, we're in a marathon. We will have our ups and downs, so please continue to support as you know how this loving club, support the players and staff and we will make you proud at the end of the season.
I promise.
Welcome, Ish Wainright!

Welcome, Ish Wainright!

Welcome, Miron Ruina!

Welcome, Miron Ruina!

Welcome, Marcus Foster!

Welcome, Marcus Foster!