By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The EuroLeague experience has apparently affected Rick Pitino’s coaching mindset enough that he wants to implement what he learned in Europe in his NCAA return with Iona.
“We’ll play EuroLeague offense with full-court pressure defense,” Pitino said after question on what style of basketball Iona will play, in an interview with the New York Post.
After being asked if this is going to be “fun”, Pitino replied, “Oh, very much so.”
Pitino coached in EuroLeague with Panathinaikos for the second half of the 2018-2019 season and a couple of months of 2019-2020. The Hall of Fame coach first joined the “Greens” in December 2018 and then returned to the club last November.
He left Greece for the USA when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. On 14/3, Iona and, announced that Pitino is taking over and, a couple of days later, Panathinaikos officially parted ways with him.
Pitino further talked about how he perceived basketball in EuroLeague: “The EuroLeague really helped me develop a total different mindset with offenses. It was a great learning experience for me. I think it’s the best form of basketball there is to be played on offense. Defensively, their standards don’t hold up to the way we play it.
“The passing, the cutting. … They play with a 24-second clock, but they’ll move the basketball sometimes six, seven passes in a span of six, seven seconds, to create movement and good shots. It may end up in a pick-and-roll like we do, but they’ll create all that movement because their defensive rules are just like college. They can sit in the three-second lane,” Pitino added.
During his stint in Europe, Pitino faced, among other players, CSKA Moscow star guard Mike James. Pitino had previously tweeted how James is a “perfect fit” for the modern NBA and now he talked once again about how much he likes the 2019 EuroLeague scoring king. “There’s a player I love in the EuroLeague; he should be in the NBA, his name is Mike James. He’s the leading scorer in the EuroLeague.”