MADRID (EuroBasket Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Lucas Mondelo is a proven winner, be it in his native Spain or in the Far East.
The coach who guided Perfumerias Avenida to a EuroLeague Women and Liga Femenina Double in 2011, and last summer steered the national side through a successful qualifying campaign for the EuroBasket Women 2013 in France, recently completed his first season in the Chinese Women's CBA.
Mondelo’s Shanxi, a newly-promoted club, defeated Zhejiang, 3-1, in the Finals and Mondelo was named CBA Coach of the Year.
The success of the team was more than he or anyone else expected.
"The objective was to reach the top eight and compete in the play-offs," Mondelo said.
Thanks to USA international Maya Moore, and the rapid development of his other players, including 19-year-olds Xue Ya Ma and Dong Yu of China, the team met their aim and achieved something that was far greater.
They won the championship.
While Moore did score a lot of points, Mondelo stressed that her biggest contributions were to "do the intangibles" and instill "confidence in the rest of the team".
"She made them (the other players) better," Mondelo said.
The coach had some help from another Spaniard.
Cesar Ruperez was on his coaching staff at Shanxi and deserved much of the credit for the team's success.
Mondelo, who was speaking to www.feb.es, said his time in an ancient country was not just valuable for the experience on the court.
"(It was) very good and enriching," he said.
"To be more than 10,000 miles from home, in a totally different culture and society, with non-Western values and priorities, makes you see things from more points of view."
In France this summer, Mondelo will attempt to lead Spain into the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.
They were bronze-medal winners at the World Championship in 2010.
At the EuroBasket, Spain will go up against Russia, Italy and Sweden in Group B.