Eurocup Coach of the Year: Andrea Trinchieri, Unics Kazan

Apr 23, 2014 by Print
Eurocup Coach of the Year: Andrea Trinchieri, Unics Kazan
Andrea Trinchieri - Unics Kazan - EC13 (Photo: Basketball is pleased to announce that the 2013-14 Eurocup Coach of the Year is Andrea Trinchieri of Unics Kazan. In his first season on the Kazan bench, Trinchieri has led the club to next month's Eurocup Finals with the best record in the competition by playing the best defense in Eurocup history. In fact, the 64.4 points allowed by Unics over 22 games this season is not only 8 points fewer per game than the next-best defense this season, it's also the best points-against defense by any team in Eurocup history. It has been a stellar season for Trinchieri and Unics alike. Unics started with a perfect regular season and stretched its winning streak to a competition record 13 games - dating back to a Game 2 win in last season's quarterfinals - before suffering its first loss in Round 3 of the Last 32. After that, Unics won three more Last 32 games and swept its eighthfinals and quarterfinals series, winning every game by double figures. Another loss did not come until Game 1 of the semifinals on the road at Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 63-52, but a 17-point win in the return leg at home sealed the club's spot in the Eurocup Finals. Now Trinchieri and Unics face the opportunity to make history with what would be the club's second Eurocup title, if they can overcome Valencia Basket for the trophy. As a coach who revamped the Unics defense to make it the Eurocup's best ever and promoted a team-first culture that paid off with 20 wins and just 2 losses, Trinchieri set a new standard worthy of his selection as the 2013-14 Eurocup Coach of the Year.

The Eurocup Coach of the Year is part of an expanded awards structure meant to enhance the recognition of the finest Eurocup participants for their efforts throughout the season. Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket was already named the Eurocup Rising Star Trophy winner. Euroleague Basketball and its in-house experts will also select the All-Eurocup First and Second Teams and the Eurocup MVP. Trinchieri becomes the sixth winner of the annual Coach of the Year award, which was introduced in the 2008-09 season. The previous winners were Oktay Mahmuti of Benetton Basket in 2009, Ilias Zouros of Panellinios in 2010, Aleksandar Petrovic of Cedevita Zagreb in 2011, Jure Zdovc of Spartak St. Petersburg in 2012 and Fotis Katsikaris of Uxue Bilbao Basket last season.

Andrea Trinchieri - Unics Kazan - EC13 (Photo: job Trinchieri faced this season, his first with Kazan, was no easy one. He inherited a club that returned half of the roster from the previous season, when it was eliminated by Valencia in the quarterfinals. But under Trinchieri, Unics established a strong winning culture and has not looked back. The offense has benefitted from an effective hierarchy with one go-to scorer (Andrew Goudelock), but great depth with seven players averaging at least 7 points per game. Offensively, Unics has ranked among the leaders in most major offensive categories among the 56 teams to compete in the Eurocup this season. Unics committed the third fewest turnovers (10.9 per game), ranked fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5 assists per turnover), sixth in true shooting percentage (50.9%), ninth in three-point accuracy (39.3%) and 10th in scoring (80.5 ppg.). But where Unics truly stood out and where Trinchieri’s fingerprints can be seen most clearly is on defense. Unics was pretty good on defense last season, allowing 73.8 points per game, but under Trinchieri has been able to lower that by 10 points per game. Opponents of Unics had the Eurocup lowest average performance index rating (59.9 per game), true shooting percentage (44.0%) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.84 assists per turnover). All three numbers are among the best in Eurocup history. Along the way, Unics stood out by beating its opponent-to-be in the Eurocup Finals, Valencia, twice in the Last 32. It also won three more games against teams that competed in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season, beating Stelmet Zielona Gora twice in the Last 32 and Crvena Zvezda once in the semis. In the quarterfinals, Trinchieri's men shut down the Eurocup leader in index rating, Vladimir Golubovic, holding him to less than half his average while knocking out Aykon TED Ankara Kolejliler. Golubovic’s 10 points, 2 rebounds and 10 index rating were all season lows.

Trinchieri has worked his way to this award. He climbed the ladder of success over many years with some impressive successes before arriving in Kazan, his first club coaching position outside his native Italy. Trinchieri build his basketball knowledge as an assistant coach for Olimpia Milano between 1998 and 2004, during which time he worked under the likes of Marco Crespi, Valerio Bianchini and Attilio Caja. His first head coaching job came with Vanoli Soresina in 2004. After three seasons there, he had a brief stint with Juve Caserta and spent one season with Prima Veroli before joining Cantu in 2009 and spending four seasons there. He led Cantu back to the top levels both domestically and in Europe. Cantu was on the verge of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague playoffs in 2012 and played the Euroleague again last season. Cantu also became a force to be reckoned with in the Italian League under Trinchieri, winning the Italian Supercup, reaching the Italian Cup final twice and the Italian League finals one. He was named the Italian league Coach of the Year after both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.