By Niki Bakouli/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Trinchieri had a great season in Cantu last year, establishing himself as one of the most promising new coaches in Europe and despite the rumors for the opposite, he will continue his work in Italy. Eurohoops.net met him in Las Vegas, after his visit to the summer league of Orlando and asked him about the new team that he’s building, the financial crisis that affects European basketball and the new challenges in a sport which changes.
As he said: “I’m coming from the other summer league in Orlando which was a little more human. There were only eight teams and you can scout players better, but here is the market for the players. The level is very high. There are a lot of good players but of course not all of them are affordable or want to come to Europe. A lot of players prefer to stay in USA and we can’t match their hope to play in NBA. There’s no way. When they are young they want to stay in NBDL. So, our effort is twice harder. The biggest issue also is that there are two new entries, Korea and China that have a lot of money and European market is in crisis”.
So, what are his thoughts about the next season at Cantu? “We will have a new team. We changed 70% of the players. That will cost us something in the beginning but it’s normal. We have a very tough qualification round in Euroleague with Unics Kazan. They signed Kostas Kaimakoglou who is for me the best power forward in Europe. In order to get him, I would have to offer him my house, my car and maybe some friends that will care the house. So, I don’t have that money. Kazan is building a great team. We have the chance to play at home the qualification round and we will try to enjoy it”.
Does he agree that money doesn’t bring happiness and success? “No, money counts a lot. Now in Italy and in Greece we must be more creative”. Like Cantu last year? “Every year is different. There is a new challenge and you try to do different things. This season I will have two American rookies, a point guard and a forward”. Is there a personal cost to this effort? “I don’t wake up 4 o’clock in the morning to go in a factory. I’m lucky. It’s not so hard to be creative”.
Some days ago Trinchieri was in a basketball clinic with Zeljiko Obradovic in Thessaloniki, Greece, and he loved the experience: “Yes, I love every time that I come to Greece and meet some friends who love basketball. Greece is the country of basketball. It was very interesting seminar. It’s always interesting when Obradovic and Itoudis speak. I tried to do my best. I had good time”.
Was it a surprise, then, for him to learn that Obradovic will not work this year? “To tell you the truth, it was a very predictable option. After 13 years you need some rest in that level. He’s happy with that but September is the key month. We have to wait until then. I heard the rumor that he will be the national coach of Greece. He’s for me by far among the three best coaches in the world with Messina and Popovich”.
Does he think that Zoc’s and Popovich’s philosophy is the same? “All the great coaches have similar philosophy. Simply, they share the ball in offense and try to play good defense. They need smart players and develop players to become smart. Diamantidis is the best point guard in Europe by far and years ago he wasn’t like that. He wasn’t so confident in his shot. I saw a practice of him in Thessaloniki some years ago when he was playing for Iraklis with Shortsanitis, Papadopoulos and Hatzivrettas. He was struggling in this shots. That’s what a good coach can do to a good person who loves to play basketball like Diamantidis. It’s all about this”.
What about Messina, who came back to Moscow? “When CSKA calls you after what happened, and this will not happen in the next 15 years, you go”. So, all that happened in the Euroleague final was only CSKA’s fault? “Of course, Olympiacos’ players believed in every ball, they had one player who was not afraid of anything, who was Papanikolaou. He’s right now not a perfect shooter, but knows how to make big shoots. He’s improving, he has incredible heart. When everybody –and CSKA- thought the game was over, they kept playing and won by one”.
During the last month there were a lot of rumors about Trinchieri being a candidate for the bench of Olympiacos and Panathinaikos. What really happened? “Rumors are rumors and I don’t follow them. I’m the coach of Cantu. I have a tough season in front of me and I believe there are big changes coming in Greek basketball. There are two more good coaches except those that Olympiacos and Panthinaikos have, Zouros and Fragkias”.
Cantu’s owner was… crazy about him telling that he is the best for this project because he knows how to handle players. Trinchieri just answers: “I’m human and I make mistakes, but I believe Cantu is the perfect place because I can BE who I am. I go through mistakes, I don’t do everything in perfection and they give me the tools to express what I can do”.