By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
“I don’t want to forget the first nine months because of the last 10 days, not when we won 21 EuroLeague games and two Italian cups”.
Ettore Messina, despite the bad finish of last season, considers everything that happened a few months ago as a stepping stone for Milano. As he explained, while meeting the press, after the start of the training camp: “To use a popular quote, we would like to finish the unfinished business. I console myself by thinking that we have to fix just 10 days, Virtus for example has to fix the other nine months. It’s just a joke. The goal in Europe is to return to the playoffs, and it will not be easy, because then anything can happen, even returning to the Final Four, the second in a row would be an unimaginable result, but the goal remains the same”.
Messina talked also about the changes on the roster and admitted that especially losing Kevin Punter was a blow: “I believe that the depth has increased, that the physicality has increased, that the ability to pass the ball has improved. We will miss other things, such as Kevin Punter’s ability to attack defensive changes so we will have to find solutions that we will probably find. We will have to recover the quality that both Vlado Micov and Michael Roll gave us in their minutes, as well as the energy that Zach LeDay had at least until the Italian Cup, before getting hurt. Both Mitoglou and Ricci will have to provide this. But above all, I believe that there is a different depth.”
And the key to that might be the presence of Nicolo Melli, according to Messina: “I expect him to be the player he was at Fenerbahce and before at Bamberg, the player he was with the national team. He is a kid who has matured a little bit more every year, he is a player capable of playing two positions, he is able to facilitate the offense. He is not the player who goes to the corner and waits there to finish the play. In addition, he is a player who has the ability to speak to his teammates by voice and by example. It is an important asset “.
Messina also expects a quite different EuroLeague compared to last season: “Last year we needed 20 wins to clinch a playoffs berth, and then 21 to have home-court advantage. I expect the threshold to go down, because, with the fans in the gym, some teams will have an advantage and will lose less at home, then I don’t think there will be another team, like Khimki who by winning only two games allowed everyone to get automatic wins.”