Andreas Zagklis was named FIBA secretary general in December ©Getty Images

International Basketball Federation (FIBA) secretary general Andreas Zagklis believes he has inherited a strong organisation from predecessor Patrick Baumann as the governing body prepares for a "year of delivery".

Zagklis was appointed secretary general in December, having previously been FIBA's legal services director.

He had served in the role since 2016 after acting for nine years as the governing body's external legal advisor.

The Greek official took over from Baumann, who had held the role for 16 years until his death at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires on October 13.

Zagklis praised FIBA's leadership and insisted the organisation would seek to honour Baumann's legacy.

"We went through two months where our political leadership showed real leadership," Zagklis said.

"The chief operating officer and myself on the administrative side managed to keep the boat steady.

"We had incredible support from our members and partners.

"Patrick left a very strong FIBA, not only a really strong footprint on the rest of the Olympic Movement at the IOC and GAISF (Global Association of International Sports Federations), and of course Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.

"Above all he left a very strong FIBA.

"I take over an organisation that is very healthy and it had a governance overhaul in 2014.

"We will continue to honour the memory and legacy of Patrick."

Andreas Zagklis praised the legacy left by Patrick Baumann on FIBA and the Olympic Movement ©Getty Images
Andreas Zagklis praised the legacy left by Patrick Baumann on FIBA and the Olympic Movement ©Getty Images

Zagklis assumed the secretary general role at a key time for FIBA, with a year until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The most pressing priority, however, will be this year's FIBA World Cup in China.

The FIBA secretary general expressed his belief the organisation was benefitting from the decision to move the tournament back one year, which ensured it would avoid a clash with the FIFA World Cup.

The tournament will feature 32 World Cup participants into eight groups, with competition due to take place between August 31 and September 15.

Zagklis believes FIBA is in a strong place ahead of the delivery of several key events.

"It is a year of delivery for us with the FIBA World Cup and preparation for Tokyo 2020 with basketball and 3x3," he said.

"We are at the end of a five-year cycle and are putting the finishing touches to the delivery of a five-year strategy.

"The strategy involved the investment and promotion of 3x3, where we succeeded as it became Olympic.

"It included our competitions calendar, with qualifiers home and away for national teams.

"One of our objectives is to evaluate these two years and evaluate where necessary."

The FIBA competition calendar has received a mix of praise and criticism.

Strong attendances during the 15-month qualification process for the World Cup were noted, with home and away matches used to determine the qualifiers, rather than post season qualification tournaments.

The format was viewed as allowing fans the opportunity to watch stars up close, while some coaches have praised the format for strengthening developing teams who have been afforded more consistent matches.

However, the format has received criticism from some national team players, with clubs in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and EuroLeague often opting not to release them to play in the qualifiers.

It has been viewed as a contributing factor to European champions Slovenia failing to qualify for the World Cup.

FIBA is preparing for this year's Basketball World Cup in China ©Getty Images
FIBA is preparing for this year's Basketball World Cup in China ©Getty Images

FIBA has been engaged in a dispute with EuroLeague over the competition calendar, with the latter scheduling matches which clash with national team windows.

Zagklis expressed his hope that a collaborative approach could be reached with European Commercial Assets, which he believes would lead to European basketball reaching its full potential.

"We need to bring balance between clubs and federations in the European continent," he said.

"We have four European club competitions and are not reaching the potential European basketball has.

"We can only do this through collaboration.

"This is the moment of truth for national leagues."

The FIBA secretary general also claimed the Basketball Champions League, a European competition introduced by FIBA, had proved a success.

The third season of the event recently concluded, with the competition seeing club teams qualify through their respective leagues.

This differs to EuroLeague, where has 11 of the 16 competing teams have long-term licences.

"We have achieved two objectives already in the first three years," Zagklis said.

"Everyone now understands that FIBA and the leagues can deliver top-level club events.

"We have also restored confidence in our clubs and fans into the basic principles of the Champions League, which is the sporting criteria.

"This is important.

"People were reminded again of the value of qualifying to an international competition through your national league and not just simply having a guaranteed spot there.

"The interest we see in the play-offs of national leagues where clubs battle for a spot in the Champions League is one of the direct effects we wanted to have."