By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Panathinaikos coach Rick Pitino said that his style is an ideal fit for European basketball since he considers the latter to be pretty similar to the NCAA. Hall of Famer Pitino won the NCAA twice, in 1996 and 2013.
“My style is perfect for Europe,” Pitino said in an interview with Italian newspaper Gazzetta Dello Sport. “The EuroLeague is like the NCAA, unlike the NBA which has a completely different style. The only thing I couldn’t import is my defensive system which takes time to assimilate. I wasn’t here for preseason, I didn’t want to load the players too much from a mental point of view.”
Pitino also talked about the transition of NBA players to EuroLeague.
“It’s not certain that an NBA player will be great in EuroLeague as well,” Pitino said. “It’s easier to move from Europe to the United States. They are completely different ways of playing and understanding the game.” Anadolu Efes star guard Shane Larkin had made some similar comments in an interview with Eurohoops.
“I love him,” Pitino said about Messina. “We’ve known each other for years and spent a lot of time together. I think he’s one of the best minds in the sport, not only in Europe. He’s a great coach, a great person and I’m happy that he has returned to EuroLeague.”
Pitino was also asked why Messina, a four-time EuroLeague champion and longtime assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, didn’t get a chance to become a head coach of an NBA team. “I haven’t figured it out yet,” Pitino answered. “He speaks perfect English and many other non-Americans have been given a chance. If I were the manager of an NBA team and I needed a coach, Messina would be one of the first three names I would think of.”