ATHENS (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Greece have appointed Mapooro Cantu boss Andrea Trinchieri as their new men’s national team coach.
The country's basketball federation has made the announcement, with Italian Trinchieri taking over from Elias Zouros following the Greek's two-year stint.
Zouros steered Greece to a sixth-place finish at EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania, which earned the national side a spot at the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).
But in Caracas, Venezuela, where the OQT was staged, Zouros had a frustrating exit as coach as Greece fell in an upset to Nigeria and slipped out of contention for a place at the London Games.
Under former coach Panagiotis Yannakis, Greece won EuroBasket 2005 and finished runners-up to Spain at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
Lithuanian Jonas Kazlauskas then steered the side to bronze at EuroBasket 2009, but Greece haven't reached the podium of a major event since.
The national side is still among the best in international basketball.
Greece are fourth in the FIBA Ranking Men.
'The Greece national team is among the leading sides in the world and this fact alone is for me a great honor, but also an enormous responsibility," Trinchieri said.
There had been media speculation that Trinchieri was a leading candidate for the position but the offer of the job came as a surprise.
"I knew that rumors were circulating," he said, "but believe me it occurred very suddenly and it was a very welcome development for me.
"Never could I refuse a proposal from the Greece national team, especially with the way I was approached by President George Vassilakopoulos…”
Trinchieri says he is grateful to Cantu for allowing him to discuss the opportunity with the Greek Basketball Federation.
The Italian has shown himself to be a star on the rise by helping turn Cantu into a Lega A powerhouse, one that has made back-to-back appearances in the Euroleague.
He will have a lot of talent at his disposal with Greece.
The squad should be in the reckoning for EuroBasket gold in Slovenia this year.
The team will at bare minimum be looking to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
"There are many Greek players who combine talent, experience and ambition," the new coach said.
Saying that finding the right chemistry is crucial for success, Trinchieri admitted: "That is our goal, in short, to become a team."
Trinchieri spoke at length about his new opportunity on the Greek Basketball Federation website.
"I believe that the simple things are best," he said.
"Everyone must help everyone in defense, everyone has to share the ball in attack."
Among the talking points already following Trinchieri's appointment is the fact that he will lead the team against his homeland, Italy, at the EuroBasket.
The two sides are in Group D with Finland, Russia, Sweden and Turkey.
He will not be the only coach in that pool going up against his own country.
Bilbao Basket's Greek coach Fotis Katsikaris was put in charge of Russia on 24 December.