Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Messina candidate for Sacramento?

With a handful of head coaching vacancies still up for grabs, the best playcaller outside North America isn't sitting by the phone. But if it rings, then he'll gladly take the call. Ettore Messina has won every honour imaginable in European club basketball, as well as coaching his native Italy to a European Championship final. His offensive schemes have long been the subject of admiration on both sides of the Atlantic. Having accomplished so much, there is only one avenue left to conquer.

Messina, who recently took CSKA Moscow to the Euroleague final, is still regarded as a left-field contender for the Sacramento Kings post after being previously linked with New Jersey before Lawrence Frank held down his job. With the myth of Europe's players not being good enough for the NBA now firmly dispelled, surely the next step is for a coach to make the leap?

"It's not that I should consider the NBA," the 49-year-old Sicilian declared. "It's that they should consider me. It would, for sure, be an interesting challenge and experience but it is not something I can control. Unfortunately nothing comes of it. You read the press, you enjoy the gossip because in this job, good press is important."

Messina has some experience within the NBA system, having previously taken charge of Denver's summer league team. Yet even with his impeccable credentials, the varying nature – and rules – of Europe and the NBA would require an adjustment.

"It would be tough, certainly," he said. "You would need time. You would need very good assistants. You would need a franchise who would be behind you and who would understand you might start off losing because it is a different environment and a different game."

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