The 2016 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four International Coaches Clinic is one of the star parallel events around European club basketball's signature event taking place this season in Berlin. From Friday to Sunday, some 200 coaches from aspiring juniors eager to learn more to accomplished coaches are attending the clinic at Sporthalle Schoeneberg in the German capital. For the third year in a row, Euroleague Basketball partnered with Giorgio Gandolfi – Sport Marketing, Events and Communication having them organise the clinic.
"We are very satisfied because we beat a record (of attendees). We have 37 countries represented and for the first time we have coaches from Algeria, Russian Federation, Finland and China. For example Feng Du, Head Coach of Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association was invited by Euroleague Basketball and we are very, very happy about this," CEO Giorgio Gandolfi said. Aside from Germany, Sweden and Lebanon are the countries with most coaches coming to this clinic. "The Final Four has a lot of great events around it. The Euroleague Basketball organisation could not be better. They helped me a lot and I would give to give them back by having the best clinic possible. It is improving every year and Euroleague Basketball are doing an excellent job."
Denis Toroman, a former player, has started his coaching career as Koni GS Wusterhausen assistant coach and is one of the attendees in this year's clinic. Toroman had a long career, playing in Hungary, Slovenia, Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sweden, Slovakia, Austria and his native Croatia. "It is my first year of coaching as first team assistant coach and as head coach of our U18 team. It is always nice to come, learn new stuff and hear something from the best coaches around. I am a young coach and all the experience I have is as a professional player, working for really good coaches. It is difficult not to see things from the players' perspective, so I am happy to be here in the clinic. I hope to learn a lot!" Toroman told us. "I never saw a clinic from any of these coaches and I am a fan of Coach Scariolo due to his success with the Spanish national team. I am really looking forward to hearing his lecture."
Three elite coaches - Sergio Scariolo, Mike Brown and John Patrick - and a star personal trainer - Brandon Payne - are set to share their knowledge with all atendees throughout the weekend. A special guest is also scheduled on Sunday morning. Scariolo is one of the most decorated coaches in European basketball present at this year's clinic. Scariolo led the Spanish national team to three EuroBasket gold medals in 2009, 2011 and 2015, as well as getting a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, United Kingdom. He also won an Italian League title with Scavolini Pesaro in 1990 - at the early age of 29 - and the Spanish League title with Tau Ceramica Vitoria in 2000 and with Unicaja Malaga in 2007. He took Unicaja to its only Euroleague Final Four appearance in 2007. Scariolo is set to make three appearances in the clinic, talking about screening for the big man on Friday, zone offense on Saturday morning and defensive transition on Sunday morning. Patrick has coached MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in the Eurocup this season. A former combo guard, Patrick led Goettingen to win the FIBA EuroChallenge title in 2010. He has coached Toyota Alvark of Japan amongst others before joining Ludwigsburg in 2013. Patrick got the clinic going by talking about Advanced Concepts on Team Defense on Friday, helped by young players from three different Berlin clubs - DBV Charlottenburg, TuS-Lichterfelde and Stahnsdorf -, who executed orders all clinic long.
"I am very honoured to have the chance to learn some things from other top coaches, too," Patrick said. "We are going to try to talk about how to run a practice and some general things about developing high-level team defense. I don't know how much material we are going to cover but the coaches who are watching will be inspired. I see I have a great troupe of high school kids from Berlin who are going to help me. Hopefully, some of the things we are about to do will inspire coaches to try some new things," he added. Patrick spoke about the importance of sharing knowledge with other colleagues. "It is just a great thing. One thing that I would like to be a part of is coaches network - a chance to meet people with the same passion, fears and goals. Even when I don't know the other coaches personally, we share similar experience and it is always special to meet people and hear similar stories from other teams."
"I am obviously proud to be there. It is not my first time and I hope we can share three days for technical and tactical basketball experiences with coaches coming from different places from around the world," Scariolo said. "I know it for a fact, sharing your knowledge and learning from others is very important. I spent a big part of my day watching plays and analysing them. We have to keep up to date with what a good number of coaches are doing. You cannot get everything, but get an idea here or a concept that makes you think differently," he added. "Sometimes there are teams out of the spotlight which draw my attention. You can always find interesting things. I have used drills in one of the strongest teams in the world, the Spanish national team, which I saw in a youth team. You can always learn and update your knowledge."
Rodrigo Pastore is an Argentinian head coach who works for Chemnitz 99ers in the German second division. A former player, Pastore started his coaching career in Switzerland, joining Chemnitz at the start of the current season. "It is a wonderful idea because it allows us, the coaches, to improve our knowledge from some of the coaches we admire, but also to see the best four teams in Europe in the Final Four. It is perfect scenario for coaches," Pastore said. "Ettore Messina said before a clinic a few years back that if he could give one or two new ideas to coaches, he would feel that his lecture was a success. We try to get one or two good ideas and adapt to our systems, our teams, to what we want to do", he added.
Brown and Payne will be guest speakers from the United States of America sharing some of their coaching secrets in Berlin. Payne is a personal trainer and the founder of Accelerate Basketball Training. A former player and coach, he started the company in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2009. Two years later, he started to work with Stephen Curry, helping him develop his game, pushing his limits and motivating him to get better until becoming the most dominant player in basketball right now, winning back-to-back NBA MVP awards. Payne’s presentation will explain Stephen Curry's Accelerate Basketball Practice. Brown earned NBA Coach of the Year honours in 2009, working for the Cleveland Cavaliers. After a long career as an assistant coach in which he helped San Antonio Spurs win an NBA title in 2003, Brown coached Cleveland from 2005 to 2010, led Los Angeles Lakers for two years and return to Cleveland in the 2013-14 season. Brown is set to talk about Offensive Post Spacing and Double Team Reaction when Posting a Perimeter Player with Two or One Traditional Bigs on Friday, Post Defense with Different Ways to Double Team the Post and Rotations Out of the Post on Saturday and Flowing on Offense on Sunday, in the final lesson in the clinic.
"It is a big honour to be here. It is also my first Final Four so I am excited to be a part of it," Brown told us. Asked for the opportunity for attendees to watch the Final Four games and be at the clinic, Brown had no doubts. "If I was coaching in Europe, I wouldn't ask for anything more! You are able to attend a coaches' clinic and on top of that, seeing the best teams in Europe play. This is a win-win for everybody, including myself."