Sergio Scariolo tries, after another summer of glory with the Spanish National Team, to establish the historic Virtus among the best teams in Europe. The Bologna team has returned to the Euroleague and, once again, in the highest continental competitionHe is trying to establish himself after a discreet start and has already achieved prestigious victories such as the one he added on his visit to WiZink to face Real Madrid.
In the fight to get into the playoff positions, Scariolo spoke with the Greek media Novasport before the game (and the defeat, very close) of his team against Panathinaikos, in Athens. Of course, he had words for Giannis Antetokounmpo, the great Hellenic star whose rise in the NBA he experienced in the very first person in his years as assistant coach of Nick Nurse in the Toronto Raptors, where he was champion in 2019: “On an individual level, He has been the most unstoppable player in the NBA in these years. You can’t defend it with just oneyou have to change and adjust schemes, put two or three defenders with him… I’m glad that he has already been an NBA champion because I know how much passion he puts in, how much he works every day, how much he wants his team to win”.
The Brescia coach has also referred, after the dispute a few days ago about another FIBA Selection Window that overlapped with Euroleague matches, to the already eternal conflict between both organizations. And he is clear that the solution has to come by making the calendar more logical, never by an even greater load of matches: “We cannot increase the number of games that the players already accumulate. People compare the EuroLeague to the NBA, but I’ve been there for three years and I know what it’s like. The conditions, the logistics, the squads are completely different. I think we are very close to the maximum limit of games that players can play in a season. Especially if we take into account that in Europe all parties count. You can’t relax, you can’t give certain players rest nights or anyone can beat you”. In addition, he believes that his union should have more voices in these matters: “Coaches should be listened to more because they are the ones who are on top of all the small details in the day-to-day life of basketball and in terms of knowledge, calendar, preparation and methodology”. And he leaves a hopeful message: “I’m a little more optimistic than beforebut we still have to see that more solid steps begin to be taken”.
Ahead of Bologna’s first season in the EuroLeague since 2008, Scariolo managed to help Spain heroically win Eurobasket 2022, another milestone in what is already an extraordinary career on the bench: “The truth is that I cannot deny that I have enjoyed these last few years a lot. The NBA title, a World Cup, a Eurobasket, with Bologna the Eurocup and the Italian Cup… I can’t complain. The last Eurobasket may have been the most difficult medal of all. At least if you think they put us eighth and ninth in the power rankings before the tournament. But nothing happens by magic. The players worked very hard, we had a lot of chemistry and the pressure to live up to our past, after having won so many things, was there too”, he assured before some special words for the captain of the National Team, Rudy Fernández: “He is a great player and a great person. And also a fantastic leader. He had a different role this time he enjoyed it very much”.