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The Basketball Podcast

Jul 3, 2019

Ettore Messina, Lesson From A Coaching Legend

Guest: Ettore Messina, Coaching Legend

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, basketball coaching legend Ettore Messina joins the podcast to share insights from Europe and the NBA. Messina is the head coach of Olimpia Milano of the Italian LegaBasket Serie A (LBA). Messina most recently worked with the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach for Gregg Popovich from 2014 to 2019.

Messina has been named one of the Euroleague’s 10 Greatest All-Time Coaches along with numerous other accolades including a nod as European Coach of the Year, two as Euroleague Coach of the Year, four as Russian Coach of the Year, and five as Italian Coach of the Year—all topped off with an induction into the Italian Basketball Hall of Fame.

Ettore served as an Italian League coach for over 15 years including two stints with Virtus Bologna where he tallied three Italian League championships in 1993, 1998, and 2001 as well as two EuroLeague championships in 1998 and 2001 before leading Benetton Treviso to an Italian League title of their own in 2003. In that time, he also served as head coach of the Senior Men’s Italian National Basketball Team for four seasons culminating in a silver medal at the 1997 European Championship.

He spent four seasons at the helm of CSKA Moscow where he led the team to two Euroleague Championships in 2006 and 2008 and four consecutive Russian SuperLeague titles from 2006–09 before a brief appearance with the Spanish League’s Real Madrid—sparking his jump to the NBA as coaching consultant for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011–12. After a two-year reprisal of his head coaching role with CSKA Moscow, he found his way the San Antonio Spurs sidelines in 2014.



1:00 - Coach Ettore's Differences between his Clinics and Practices

2:00 - Strategies to Help Yourself remove Emotions in practice

3:30 - Things that Coach Ettore can bring back from NBA to Europe

5:30 - One thing that transfers from NBA to Europe in terms of Technical and Tactical

7:10 - Unique Styles

8:30 - Things that Coach Ettore can bring from Europe to the NBA

10:00 - Two Rules

11:00 - Coach Popovich's Ideas for Spacing and Passing

13:00 - Things that Gives Attention in Spurs Coaching

14:30 - Happening in the Spurs Developmental System

16:30 - Underappreciated about the NBA

18:30 - Danger of not Practicing Enough Now in the NBA and Europe

21:30 - What Coaches in the NBA underappreciated about Europe

24:00 - Understanding Different Players through Traveling

25:30 - How Coach Ettore Marry His Basketball Philosophies

27:30 - Ball Screen Defensive Philosophy

30:00 - Lot More Switching in European Basketball

31:00 - Start Implementing Coach Ettore's Defensive System

32:30 - Ways to Make Players Hold Them Accountable

35:00 - Character is a Number 1 Skill

37:00 - How To Balance and Prioritize everything as a Coach

39:00 - Example of Focusing on the Team

42:00 - Focusing on Self and the Team rather than the Opponents

44:00 - Conclusion


Ettore Messina’s Bio



Basketball Immersion