Where David Blatt sits on the bench, success tends to follow. In his six seasons as Maccabi Tel Aviv's head coach, Blatt has delivered the club three Final Four appearances while coming within one victory of two more. With a EuroBasket title and an Olympic medal to his name, Blatt now targets a first Euroleague crown, which would put him in the rare company of just five previous head coaches who combined those accomplishments.
Blatt had a lengthy playing career as a point guard, first under Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril at Princeton University, and then in Israel's top division. While still a player, he coached women's and junior teams. Once he hung up his sneakers, Blatt started coaching men at Hapoel Galil Elyon and first came to Maccabi as Pini Gershon's assistant in 1999. He played a pivotal role in recruiting the players who helped build a new Maccabi dynasty and was the architect of the team's defense. He collected a pair of Final Four titles as a Maccabi assistant and then led Maccabi to the 2002 Final Four in his first stint at the head of the team's bench.
Soon, Blatt left to coach in Russia, Italy, Turkey and Greece. He returned to Maccabi in 2010 and by the end of his first season back, had the club challenging again for the Euroleague title as a 2011 finalist in Barcelona. A year later, he and Maccabi missed returning to the Final Four by a single basket in Game 5 of the playoffs against the defending champions, Panathinaikos Athens. In addition to his success at the club level, Blatt spent six summers as the Russian national team boss. He led Team Russia to the EuroBasket 2007 title and bronze medals at both EuroBasket 2011 and the 2012 Olympic Games.
Among the many attributes that distinguish Blatt is his skill at building winning teams from the talent at hand. This season, Maccabi's success arose from his ability to get the most out of a lineup that had just one player average double figures in points, yet still ranked fifth in the Euroleague in scoring. With all the experience necessary to make it happen, Blatt arrives in Milan ready to take Maccabi on a new run at Euroleague glory.