Friday, November 25, 2011

5 Quick Questions With...Brad Greenberg - Head Coach of the Bucaneros de La Guaira

Brad Greenberg is the Head Coach of the Bucaneros de la Guaira in Venezuela’s top professional league, the Liga Profesional de Baloncesta.  He also served as an assistant on the Venezuelan national team this past summer during the FIBA Americas Championships.  Coach Greenberg has a unique and diverse background across all levels of basketball and the Tampa Bay Rebels would like to express our sincere appreciation to Coach Greenberg for spending a few moments with us.
Greenberg began his career on the college level as an assistant at American University during the 1977-1978 season, and also worked on the staff at St. Joseph’s from 1978-1984.  Over the next three years, he served as an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers (1984-1986) and the New York Knicks (1986-1987).  Greenberg spent the next eight years with the Portland working as a scout (1987-1989), Director of Player Personnel (1989-1992), and VP of Player Personnel (1992-1995). During that time, he played a role in the team’s acquiring of well-known players such as Danny Ainge, Cliff Robinson, Buck Williams, Rod Strickland, and Drazen Petrovic, among many others.  After spending 1996 as a consultant with both the Washington Bullets and Denver Nuggets, Coach Greenberg landed the role of General Manager and VP of Basketball Operations with the Philadelphia 76ers where he drafted Allen Iverson with the number one overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft.  Most recently, Greenberg served as Head Coach at Radford University (2007-2011) after working on the coaching staffs of Virginia Tech (2003-2007) and South Florida from (2001-2003).

You have been involved in several aspects of basketball on the NBA, college, and international levels.  What advice can you give to someone who is seeking a career in basketball as a coach, scout, or executive?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained; don't be afraid to approach people and let them know what you’re interested in doing; be prepared to volunteer services; be a self starter.  If you want to be a scout, practice writing scouting reports.  If you want to be a coach, coach any and every chance you can.       (The) goal – develop depth and breadth of experience.
What has been the biggest adjustment for you as you have moved from the NBA to college to the international game?
The language...I am studying Spanish, but do not speak the language, so preparing for a season and communicating with players, other coaches, and management takes more time, and things get lost in translation.  Basketball is basketball and once on the court, it’s the same at all levels, (but) there is some difference between communicating with college kids and men who are pros.
What is the biggest difference between coaching a college or professional team and coaching a national team?
There is a unique dynamic in coaching a National team – a team playing for their country; (there is) a greater sense of pride.  Also, when working for a national federation, you are working with a government entity.  There's a lot of politics at work behind the scenes when involved with a national team.
Now that you are coaching in a foreign country, what are some obstacles that you have been faced with and how have you overcome those?
I am just beginning this adventure, so it is too early to know all the obstacles I will have to overcome.  However, learning a new league, style of play, personnel on teams, how the games are officiated, and living and working in a foreign country will be such an enriching experience – that I don't look at obstacles.  My approach is to enjoy everything about being in a different country and soaking up as much as I can.  I have two children, a son in the Peace Corps in the country of Georgia, and a daughter, a junior in college who is a Spanish and politics major who has traveled to Spain, Uruguay, Peru and Venezuela...thinking globally is something we believe in.
You have had the opportunity to work with some great college players, and you have seen what it takes to make the cut on the professional level.  What are some attributes that players need to possess in order to give themselves an opportunity to be a successful professional player?
Being mentally tough and self motivated.  Good professional players approach the game in a very serious manner and do everything possible to get better each and every day in the gym.  They are also coachable; to be a winning player at the pro level you not only have to have have to have the right attitude.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

5 Quick Questions With...Gianluca Pascucci - GM of Pallacanestro Olimpia - EA7 Emporio Armani

The Tampa Bay Rebels are excited for the opportunity to speak with Gianluca Pascucci, the General Manager of Pallacanestro Olimpa EA7 - Emporio Armani, one of the most storied basketball franchises in the entire world that competes in Lega Basket Serie A (the top league in Italy) and the Euroleague.  Mr. Pascucci, who has proven himself as an incredible talent evaluator and executive, spent seven years as an international scout with the Houston Rockets, and has been with Pallacanestro Olimpia since 2008.  With the help of Mr. Pascucci, EA7 - Emporio Armani has reached the finals of the Italian League in both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

Why is Lega Basket Serie A one of the best leagues in the world?

The Italian League has a long history of being one of the best thanks to few teams that achieved great results in the past and the ability to attract big names as players (Spencer Haywood, Bob McAdoo, Joe Barry Carroll, Bill Bradley just to name few).

What has made Pallacanestro Olimpia EA7 - Emporio Armani such a successful organization in one of the world’s top leagues?
Pallacanestro Olimpia has a long history of success in Italy and in Europe by winning 25 Italian Championships  and 3 Euroleagues among other trophy. After few years not in the spotlight now the organization is back at the top thanks to Mr. Giorgio Armani who acquired (not only sponsor it) it 4 years ago.

With a limited number of roster spots available for foreign players, what skills and attributes do you look for when you consider adding a foreign player to your team?
First of all we look at the person, not even at the basketball player, especially for someone who has never played before in Italy or in Europe. Like we always say, the major step for an American player coming in Europe to play is to be “into it" 100%, which I mean (is to) be focused and committed in life transition. Those who come without that mentality will almost for sure fail on the court.

How does your team discover and evaluate potential foreign players? Do you rely only on your own scouting department, or do gather information from other coaches, camps, and scouting services?
We have our own Scouting Department, but at the same time we use connections and friendships I established over my seven years of working for the Houston Rockets.
From your experience, what is the biggest adjustment that American players have to make when they play in Italy?
Like I said above it’s life away from USA, in a different country and culture…not saying better neither worse, just different…but they come open minded the transition is smooth, many American players decided to stay put and live over here in Italy at the end of their careers.