The smell of the new season was in the air over the weekend in the capital of Lithuania, which hosted the 28th Clinic for Euroleague Basketball Officials. The annual event brought together the 71 referees who will officiate games in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and the 7DAYS EuroCup this season with 16 referee coaches and a host of league officials and special guests to prepare for the coming season.
Real Madrid head coach Pablo Laso; Monty McCutchen, the NBA's Vice President, Head of Referee Development and Training; and Scott Butler, the Head of Referees in Australia's NBL, all joined Richard Stokes Euroleague Basketball’s Senior Director of Officiating, in sharing insights and guidelines for the new season with the officials.
The weekend in Vilnius saw the referees undergo independent physical examinations to ensure that every official was in peak form before the first whistles are blown for the 2019-20 campaigns. Topics addressed included fitness and training issues by the medical support staff as well as presentation and court presence led by veteran official Olegs Latisevs. In addition, the points of emphasis discussed with EuroLeague and EuroCup head coaches earlier in the summer were presented to the referees and referees coaches who will support them this season including faking and flopping, behavior, violations, contact situations and mechanics by Richard Stokes. There were also sessions related to matters of instant replay and communication conducted by Euroleague Basketball staff members.
"It was a pleasure to be involved in the referees' preparation for the forthcoming season," McCutchen said. "Their professionalism and commitment to serve the game at the highest level was evident throughout the meeting, as well as their desire to grow. Personally, it was a joy for me to work with this group in Vilnius and I look forward to doing so again."
Iztok Rems, the ABA League's Commissioner for Delegating Referees; Algimantas Pavilonis, the Head of Referees for Lietuvos Krepsinio Lyga; Boris Schmidt, the Head of Referees in the easyCredit Basketball Bundesliga; and Tomasz Kudlicki, the Polish Basketball League's Referees and Commissioners Manager, attended the clinic as well.
"We have had a good start to our season with both the people that were able to be with our officials and the guidelines and expectations that were discussed," Stokes said. "It is so important that we are all on the same page with a clear vision of how we need to work each season and our work with the head coaches and now the referees completes the process to begin what I am sure will be both a challenging and exciting season ahead of us."