MAURIZIO BUSCAGLIA - Aquila Basket Trento - Italy
Buscaglia instills his teams with a fun-to-watch, aggressive playing style. Applying pressure on the passing lines, attacking the offensive glass with wing players and opening the floor with undersized bigs made him EuroCup Coach of The Year and would undoubtably earn him NABC COY honors in the states.
STEFANO SACRIPANTI - S.S. Felice Scandone - Italy
A career spent coaching the youth of Italy Under 20 team, he has
managed to build a competitive team despite the reduced budget thanks to unknown US basketball players. Simply put, if he can do it there, finding diamonds in the rough from America, he could do the same here.
KAZYS Maksvytis - BC Neptūnas - Lithuania
The strategist, always at work, would instill a blue collar toughness and work ethic players could carry through life. Mentorship aside, he has proven his success working with youth as his U-16 and U-18 team won European gold medals. After a year, his U-19 crew shook the planet ultimately triumphing at the World Championships in Riga.
ALEKSANDAR DJORDJEVIC - FC Bayern München Basketball GmbH – Germany
The NBA missed out on this one after only a two month trial with the Trail Blazers as a player. Perhaps the college game would welcome arguably the world's best non-American point guard. The coaches son is one of only three Sportsman of the Year winner from basketball.
NEVEN SPAHIJA - Maccabi Tel Aviv – Isreal
Deep American roots from Brooklyn to most recently, his three season on staff in the basketball mecca Atlanta with the Hawks, he understands the American college basketball game better than some Americans; which includes a network of fertile recruiting connections and events in town.
ZVEZDAN MITROVIC- AS Monaco Basket - France
Fiercely unforgiving once the ball is tipped off, he is, however, open to conversation, very attentive, and a real humanitarian the rest of the time to connect with younger players. In fact, Mitrović started coaching cadets and understands first hand how to start a program from scratch raising it to the national horizon. All unique qualities that set him apart, if not above most especially for college jobs.
Pedro Martinez – Baskonia - Spain
The well known character advocates a flashy style sure to fill the seats. At the same time he finds a nice balance rewarding the collective and the defense. His formula has been effective overseas and serves as the baseline of how well it would be adopted in the states college game.
WALTER DE RAFFAELE - Reyer Venezia - Italy
in addition to the excellent coaching qualities, Walter is appreciated for his great human skills. A caring coach he would unite a campus with it’s community (including fundraising). He is also capable of building tradition and a special relationship driving both wins and alumni satisfaction.
Fotis Katsikaris - Hapoel Jerusalem - Isreal
He took the second-worst team in all of Spain, and raised them to Final Four contenders, He has served as an international scout for the Celtics. Now at 50 years old, he is less likely to make the switch; but his switching defense is designed specifically to take an offense out of their comfort zone and would be very effective in the college game.
ANDREA TRINCHIERI - Brose Bamberg - Italy
He has the ability to make players feel in the right place at the right time and to make them perform at their best. Encouraging the team from the first to the last buzzer, he is inline with what Brad Stevens had cultivated at Butler. Simply ask his former players who call him “a man and coach who left an indelible mark on their growth.”
PABLO LASO - Real Madrid - Spain
The Spanish League's all-time leader in assists and steals adopted the run-and-gun style that has impressed both fans and professionals. American coaches and European coaches alike reference this former point guard in hopes of learning about the Lithonia transition offense and more. He also has a knack for devolving young players.
Sasa Obradovic - PBC Lokomotiv Kuban - Russia
The former Nets Summer League staffer, is used to strict discipline but remains emotional. So emotional that it gives fans a reason to criticize him and players a reason to live and die for him. Much in the same vein as one of our most lovable and most respected… coach Huggins. Emotion for an emotional game without time to relax; a coach 24 hours a day, game-day after game-day.
GIORGOS BARTZOKAS - BC Khimki - Russia
His versatile style adopts different plans to create plays that let him take advantage of his players talent. A great scout and game prep coach, his twenty years in local leagues, mini, junior, U19, and his time spent climbing the ladder has him positioned to be a successful college coach.
ALEKSANDAR DZIKIC - KK Budućnost - Montenegro
Unique. And in an interview for the Serbian edition of Weizs, it was confirmed - rock'n'roll, hip-hop and basketball. With diversified passions he has an authentic and organic, connection with American college aged players. He also has experience and the honor of being the first NBA assistant coach with no prior coaching experience in the US (Timberwolves 2007).
KYLE MILLING - Limoges Circle Saint-Pierre - France
His philosophy is directly in line with the mentor role a college coach plays…. create a team, build confidence, and clearly state objectives. For more information on a guy whose leadership qualities could rival the Cuonzo Martins’ of the American game, simply reference his website: http://www.kylemilling.com
Ioannis Sfairopoulos – Olympiacos - Greece
An easier path to the American game, Sfairopoulos has roots in the sates as former Cavaliers' Summer League coach who also worked briefly as an assistant coach of the Rockets. Still, the college game allows him to do what he does best; molded a squad in his image to play team basketball and the best defense in the land.
John Patrick – Riesen Ludwigsburg - Germany
The American tactician has built a team with an unmistakable style no one wants to play. Cycling players in and out each year due to a lack of budget, Patrick would be right at home in a California International recruiting scenario. The one time NIT winner (Stanford 1991 for Mike Montgomery) stresses aggressive, ball-winning playing style with relatively small and fast players.
David Blatt - Darüşşafaka Spor Kulübü - Turkey
We all know he could do more in the NBA. Still, strip player politics and ego, his free-flowing movement, quick hitters where the ball-handler is trusted to read and react is a style that is a fine-tuned balance between the individual and the team which may have more longevity in the college game.
GARCIA AITO RENESES - Alba Berlin - Germany
Preaching courage for youngsters, no one else ever launched so many young talents that would eventually become superstars in the history of Europe; Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio being the top two in the States. His eye for young talent is innate and unable to be replicated. And it comes with only two rules. One, the coach must teach his players technique, tactics and behavior. Two, the coach wins and loses with his teams. Everybody is in the same boat.
ZORAN LUKIC - NIZHNY NOVGOROD - Serbia
“To grow up, I see myself outside Serbia, definitely.” says the ever studious Lukic. His key to success is work. He also explains that you must reinforce the term work and playing hard for players. Its a philosophy that would go far to recapture the American work ethic while forcing other coaches to elevate their game around him.
SARUNAS JASIKEVICIUS - Žalgiris Kaunas - Lithuania
After one year of high school basketball in Pennsylvania, he went on to play at Maryland averaging double-figures. He is ninth on the Terrapins’ all-time list for three-pointers made and knows what it takes to be successful in our game. Perhaps more importantly, he knows how to teach kids how to make themselves a pro.
Želimir "Željko" Obradović – Fenerbahçe - Turkey
One of the best European coaches ever, his style is in line with the Randy Bennett and Bob McKillop’s of the American college game. A style relying heavily on pick-and-rolls, he also spreads the court and uses the corners and back passes to open up the offense. While his influence is already felt heavily in the US via Gregg Popovich, the demanding, strict coach who holds players accountable, would be a better fit in the college game than the NBA.
Xavi Pascual – Panathinaikos - Greece
Team oriented, his open spin defensive strategy is one of many examples how his style will work wonders to level the playing field enabling poor defenders or smaller horses to effectively combat thoroughbreds and great passing teams with speed. Seems like a promising fit and match up solutions for many college teams.
Dimitris Itudis- CSKA - Russia
Entrenched in education and loves to read both X’s and O’s as well as Greek mythology. His mastery of psychology and managing transformation would aid him greatly in dealing with transfers; not to mention developing boys to men. Trusting his players to make the call, is similar to what has made Mike Brey so effective at a high academic institution like ND. Emphasizing total development, he nurtures and enhances players to utilize their complete skill set.
Dan Shamir - Hapoel Holon - Isreal
He is arguably the lone candidate on our list ready to step into a high profile HC role at the high major DI level thanks to his deep American connections. Traveling to the states regularly since the mid 90’s, he has been studying and learning from the best in Rick Pitino and more. Additionally he assisted David Blatt in Moscow.
First we identified the X’s and O’s, the rows and rows of Championship trophies, the Stats, the clout and the recognition for each of these coaches in recent years relative to the American college game.
Second, we combined the stats with cultural, psychological and emotional status to determine who among the best European Pro coaches would best fit the American college game.
*Countries listed are team locations