Movistar Estudiantes signs the renewal of José Ramón ‘Jota’ Cuspinera as coach of the men’s first team for the 2021-22 season. The Basque coach led the team in the second half of the 2020-21 season in the Endesa League and the club will continue to trust him.
A technician with experience in the highest category of Spanish basketball, having been the first coach of Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (in two stages) and Basket Zaragoza 2002. Jota Cuspinera has also been assistant to Zan Tabak, Marco Crespi, Ibon Navarro, Ettore Messina, Emanuele Molin and Pablo Laso in different teams.
This past campaign was his return to the club where he trained as a coach. From premini to EBA, Cuspinera led Student teams in almost all categories between 1990 and 2003. In addition, he was Technical Director of the Initiation area (1995/98) and Technical Director of the quarry (1998/03).
Between 2003 and 2005, and in 2008-09, Jota Cuspinera was assistant coach of the ACB team, which is continuing his fourth stage at Movistar Estudiantes.
Cuspinera has also worked with the Spanish Basketball Federation since he began training in the 90s. The Guechotra coach was part of the FEB Talent Detection Program, U16 coach, assistant to Pepu Hernández in the absolute and other responsibilities in the Cabinet Federation technician.
“The focus has to be clear on the ascent”
First of all, how do you rate this renewal?
It is an important challenge for everyone, not only for the club but also for me as a coach. It will be my first experience at LEB Oro and the objective is clear. The president said it, we have to return to ACB and this season, with which there is a great demand. We know that the route will not be easy, the LEB Oro is a very competitive league where the last teams that have come down and up have done so sweating ink. We have to be prepared for it but with the utmost ambition.
I had no doubts when they asked me because they asked me very soon after the descent. I saw no doubts in the club, so from the beginning I told them that I would be delighted to continue with the project if they were convinced that I was the person who should follow it. As they said yes and it was practically immediate, we have been slow to sign for other fringe things, but the agreement was closed from practically the beginning
This confidence, how important is it to face the challenge?
I’ll be honest, it surprised me, because it is not usual for the coach who descends with the team at a given moment to have the opportunity to try to bring him back up. That shows that there is a trust of the people behind it, that’s how I perceived it and it was fundamental for me to decide to say yes: if they don’t doubt, why are you going to doubt?
What is important? Without any doubt, that the people who put you are convinced of what they are doing helps a lot to make decisions and that your path is a little easier.
It is a new league for you and also for the club. What can we expect from LEB gold beyond equality?
Both the club and I will have to grow with the league itself. We are going to incorporate someone who has experience in LEB Oro, who will help us get to know it faster, but I have no doubt that we are all going to have to grow as we take steps. For everyone it is a novelty. We have to be prepared, from that highest ambition, to be very humble: to learn, to grow and to lead the way in which we want, but knowing that it is a very tough league.
It is also a very different league from the ACB in terms of the type of players and in terms of the characteristics that are usually sought. The type of players who dominate the ACB has nothing to do with the type of players who dominate the LEB Gold, and that is something that we have to be clear first when making the squad, and secondly, to later carry out the challenge of promotion. .
I look forward to a league where we will be constantly learning and in which we will have to take steps forward.
Speaking with Íñigo de la Villa about the master lines and the main objective, he talks about ambition and recovering the illusion.
We have to be ambitious, as we have said, because the objective is clear. We want to be first in the regular league or first in the playoff, and if possible first in the regular league. Obviously, being first is never easy anywhere. As for signs of identity, it is something that we have talked about since I took the project in ACB. In the end people enjoy when you win, it is true that there are ways and means to win, the club knows the basketball that I like and I think it is a basketball that ends up connecting with people … but that is useless if not you win.
The story is that we have to combine the cheerful basketball of counterattack, of defending – much better than what we have done this last year, obviously we have not had a minimum defensive level and that is probably why we have been cannon fodder – with joy of the game and that players have options to develop.
We are in a place where young people matter. There will be young people and we will bet on them, but the objective is to move up, because if we cannot, we can be in a very compromised situation. Hopefully these young people, from day one, give the performance we expect from them in the future, which we are convinced that they will. We hope they can be the main protagonists of the whole movie, but if they weren’t, you have to go with patience and being clear that the goal is to move up.
As I said, LEB Oro is a very particular and very screwed up league, very competitive. It is a different level from ACB but it has tremendous competitiveness, as shown by the teams that are fighting for promotion. There are players who dominate the league who, when they have had experiences in ACB, have been residual players or who have not even gotten to adapt. That profile exists, I hope we have it in our ranks but it is certain that we will have it in front of us, because logically we will not be able to sign everyone.
This has been a complicated year for everyone due to the pandemic, do you expect a different season in this regard?
Everything suggests yes. It seems, from what we are seeing in other countries, that vaccination has a great effect, but we are still a bit on the lookout. The news is good but you have to be cautious. I want to get on the positive, that we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There has already been a bit of a crowd in the ACB playoffs and hopefully this coming season we can enjoy full pavilions, people returning to the courts, fans who can enjoy the sport and that we can all enjoy it. In the end, professional sports are meaningless without the public. This year it has been on TV, but it has to also be on the courts, feeling the players close.
Anything you want to add?
I hope, I trust, that we are able to carry the challenge forward. It is what we have proposed and that is why I have decided to bet on the club that bet on me. Hopefully within a year we can be talking here, but about a once-established ACB project.
– 1990/91: Premini Students Coach.
– 1991/92: Pre-infant Coach “B” Students.
– 1992/93: Pre-infant Coach “A” Students.
– 1993/94: Infant Coach “D” Students.
– 1994/95: Infant Coach “B” Students.
– 1995/96: Infant Coach “A” Students and trainer of the FEB Talent Detection Program.
– 1996/97: Cadet Coach “B” Students and trainer of the FEB Talent Detection Program.
– 1997/98: Cadet Coach “A” Students.
– 1995/98: Technical Director of the Student Initiation area during these three seasons.
– 1998/00: Junior Coach “A” Students.
– 1998/03: Technical Director of the students’ quarry during these 5 seasons.
– 2002/03: EBA Students Coach.
– 2003/05: Assistant coach at Estudiantes ACB.
– 2005/06: Member of the FEB Technical Cabinet and U16 National Coach (Gold Medal in the 2006 Linares European Championship).
– 2006/07: Assistant coach of Pepu Hernández in the Spanish National Team (Silver in the Eurobasket of Spain 2007), member of the FEB Technical Cabinet and U16 National Coach (Crete 2007 European Silver Medal).
– 2007/08: Member of the Technical Cabinet of the FEB. National Coach U18 (Christmas and Easter concentrations).
– 2008/09: Assistant coach ACB Students (until February 2009) and later collaborator of the FEB.
– 2009/14: Real Madrid assistant coach.
– 2014/15: Assistant coach Baskonia.
– 2015: Basketball assistant coach Fuenlabrada.
– 2015/17: Main coach of Basketball Fuenlabrada.
– 2017/18: Main coach of Basket Zaragoza 2002.
– 2019/20: Main coach of Basketball Fuenlabrada.
– 2021: Movistar Estudiantes head coach.