|30 April 2013|
|Andrea Trinchieri has a wealth of knowledge coaching at club level but taking on Greece will present all new challenges for the Italian playmaker |
Greece revealed at the official presentation of national team head coach Andrea Trinchieri on Monday that their goal at the upcoming EuroBasket in Slovenia will be to challenge for the gold medal.
At a press conference in Athens, Greek Basketball Federation President (EOK) and FIBA Europe Honorary President George Vassilakopoulos introduced the Italian tactician, who was handed the reins of the two-time European champions in early January.
"Our collaboration [with Trinchieri] is set to last until the World Cup [in 2014] but I would like to hope that it will be extended until the 2016 Olympic Games," said Vassilakopoulos.
The Hellenic federation's president then proceeded with setting the bar high for the head coach of Italian club Lenovo Cantú right from the start of their common journey.
"Our first big stop is EuroBasket in Slovenia where our goal, not as in an ambition, but as in the aim, is to compete even for top spot on the podium," Vassilakopoulos stated.
"We have a very good team [with] a very good coach who, with his work in Italy and the Euroleague, has proved that he has perfect knowledge of the European game and has impressed with his work methods; he is hard-working and places importance on human relations," the president added.
Trinchieri, who was seated right beside Vassilakopoulos throughout the press conference, received loud and clear the federation's declaration of intentions.
"My position comes with great responsibility but big goals are never easy," he said.
"I understand fully the aims as set by the president and it could not be any different; when this team steps on the floor, it needs to aim to win every time."
The 45-year-old Milanese tactician however showed that he would approach the task at hand with caution.
"We have to take as a starting point the last game, which was not good, against Nigeria (the shock loss in the Olympic qualification tournament that cost the Greeks their participation at London 2012) and start something new, hopefully better, from there," he said.
"I will not tell you right now how we will go about this, because it's not the right moment, but I have some ideas."
These ideas however do not apparently include a return to the national team of Theo Papaloukas and Dimitris Diamantidis, whom Trinchieri said he would 'invite to have a coffee' next time he was in Athens.
LUCKY TO HAVE SPANOULIS
The newly-appointed Greek national team head coach stated that he has already spoken with all of his candidates for the preliminary squad and hinted that everyone had expressed their availability to play at the EuroBasket.
"I will be very direct: I have a very good feeling," Trinchieri said.
"Here, players care deeply about the national team and I was very impressed by that.
"We are lucky to have [Vasilis] Spanoulis on this team.
"There are three dominant players in Europe, [Dimitris] Diamantidis, [Juan Carlos] Navarro and Spanoulis and we'll have one of them.
"My philosophy is simple: less is more, especially when you need to bring together 12 different personalities.
"I don't think I will have any problems communicating my approach to the Greek players because they might not jump as high as Lebron James or run as fast as Derrick Rose, but what I have seen from playing against Greek teams is that they know how to interpret the game.
"Strong defence and good circulation of the ball on offence, that's what I have seen from all Greek teams."
Trinchieri took over as head coach at Cantú in 2009 and was named Coach of the Season in Italy during his first two seasons at the historical club.
He then led Cantú to one domestic Supercup title and successive appearances in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, more than two decades after the last time they had conquered a European title, the 1991 Korac Cup.
"I don't need to repeat how happy and honoured I am [to be appointed as Greece head coach], it goes without saying," he said on Monday.
"Greek basketball has historically been one of the strongest in the world."
The EuroBasket in Slovenia will represent a novel experience for Trinchieri, who has only worked at club level so far and admitted that he is not entirely sure whether there are major differences between the two.
"The answer is that I don't know, I still have not done it, that's why," he said.
"You need to have a big amount of self-confidence to do this job because one thing is for sure, a coach is always alone.
"But you should never make the mistake of believing that you will achieve what you think that you can achieve.
"You will not achieve much without sacrifice, hard work and a good amount of luck.
"Take for example our First Round group at the EuroBasket (includes Russia, Italy, Turkey, Finland and Sweden).
"There are four teams there that take for granted they cannot stay out of the Second Round.
"But one of them will have to."