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The contribution of U.S.-born Israeli coach David Blatt was "crucial" to Russia winning the 2007 Eurobasket tournament, Russian national basketball team member Andrei Kirilenko recently said.

In an interview with Newsweek magazine's Russian edition, Kirilenko compared his calculated style of coaching to that of a chess player.

"Like on a chess board, he arranged his pieces ideally," he said. "Most of the younger players wanted to prove they were willing and ready."

He added, "David has again proven that discipline can sometimes overcome quality. There were better teams than us in the European championship, but Blatt managed to make the most of every player in his position... we just did everything right and took gold with a bit of luck - but with lots of wisdom on Blatt's part."