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Matik Magazine sits down with Marco Sodini

July 27th, 2015 | by Martin Keane

MATIK Magazine Interview with Italian Head Coach Marco Sodini


Well, Matik Magazine is here once again with Italian Head Coach Marco Sodini, who has worked with the Italian National team in the development of such stars like Andrea Renzi, Danilo Gallinari, Tyrell McIntyer and many others during his road to success. Coach Sodini has accumulated many different accolades to his resume that has garnered the attention of basketball coaches from all over the world and we are honored to have Coach Sodini with us today.

By: Martin Keane

MM: Coach, can you tell us at what age did you start coaching?

MS: Pleasure to be with you. I started coaching early at the age of 21 and I have been coaching for 22 years now.

MM: Who were your coaches that you looked up to and admired growing up in Italy?

MS: Well, there are many coaches but the one coach who was a mentor to me was Luka Banchi. My first team was a female team, I was coaching my sister. We were 3-27 my first year but the year after our record was 27-3. What I considered my first real coaching job was 17 years ago in Lucca, Italy.

MM: Well coach, can you give the International audience a mini biography of yourself and how you got internationally famous?

MS: Well, the turning point was probably in Lagorna, Italy. In my first season I went to the Championship. I was invited to the Italian National Team. In 2007, I was involved in the U18 and had the pleasure to work with Amaliyda and with Gallinari. I also had the time to coach Andrea Renzi. I had that year to be a Head Coach with a Pro team but I felt I needed more experience. In 2009, I remained with the team and I was fortunate to be the Coach of The Year. I had a big proposal to coach in Virtol Bologna. The wanted me to be an Assistant Coach and I was honored to be with them for 3 seasons. The first European player in the NBA Volkov, was a good friend of mine but my first mentor was the Head Coach of Milano Luka Banchi who was a legend, and won 8 Championship titles up to this point.

MM: Coach Sodini, you had just recently became the first coach to go to Colombia to do a basketball clinic. Can you elaborate on your experience down there? What you liked and how was the talent down there?

MS: It was great. It was actually a surprise to me at the talent in Colombia because I saw a lot of passion for the game. So many good guys that were physically gifted and were hungry to learn basketball. I should thank Hernan Olaya for there. I saw so many people there that were excited to see my presence in Colombia. So for me, it was delightful to see players want to develop. I think that there are a few players that can have a chance to play in Europe.

MM: For some of your American fans in America, can you tell us what the coaching situation is like in Italy as opposed to other countries you have visited?

MS: Well, there is a big difference and more pressure to play in Italy with less games. The NBA for example is 80+ but in Italy there is 30+ games. When you coach the talent in Italy, you try to make them understand your system and try to win as much games as possible. The concept is team first, higher defensive system and less isolation calls for a particular player. We in Italy want all players to get accustomed with themselves in difference positions on the court and with different dynamics.

MM: What type of coach are you? Are you an aggressive type of coach, or are you a players coach? Can you briefly elaborate on your style?

MS: I am in between. I am an aggressive coach with a passion to teach the game of basketball. I want the players to learn my system in order to get maximum effort from them. For example, when I was at Bologna a player told me to listen to him and I took a timeout to listen to his suggestions and then I proceeded to try and teach him in a way that he would understand. I want a player to be comfortable in the system. I want a player to grow in my system which is very important.


MM: Do you have any inspiration to coach in the NBA or NCAA?

MS: Of course, this is a dream to coach in the best leagues in the world always. If you have a dream, you have to make it a reality. You have to wake up.

MM: Who is the coach you like and respect the most in the NBA?

MS: I would have to say right now, Coach Popovich from the San Antonio Spurs. He has the courage to say what he thinks to his players but his words are the best.

MM: Over the years you have coached many talented players. Is there any players that still contact you today?

MS: Yes all of them, almost all of them. Aaron Jackson who plays for CSK Moscow, Petteri Koppoen from Finland who was with the Dallas Mavericks camp. All of the players from the day I started keep in regular contact with me which is nice.

MM: Who was your most pleasurable player that you enjoyed working with?

MS: Tyrell McIntyre, he was an amazing shooter but most of all an amazing leader. He was a classic veteran. He would be the first player to go on the court at practice and the last player to leave the court after practice. He was constantly working on his game to get better.

MM: You were telling me that from time to time you also worked for a basketball magazine. Can you tell us the name of the magazine and what your focus was for the magazine in working with them?

MS: Sure, I used to work for Gigantes. When I was coaching they would call me. Also magazines such as;

World Hoops Stats from Argentina. Basket Aventuris which is a magazine that was translated into 4 different languages, and Global Sports Exchange which started in Canada by a gentleman named Yorrick Parke.

MM: Lastly, who are your 3 favorite Coaches in the World that you think is the best at what they do?

MS: I would definitely say Luca Banchi ITA is the best high level coach I worked with and learned a lot from. Zelmir Obradovic SEB who had the clever ability to work with different personalities and I would have to say Phil Jackson, USA who is a “zen-master” who knows how to work with the flow of the team. All of these coaches had their own style and I learned from all of the coaches that I met.

MM: Well on behalf of the Matik Magazine we appreciate you taking the time in your busy schedule to sit down and talk to us about your thoughts. We wish you a more success in your path to another Championship and teaching the next superstar that Italy has to offer. It was my pleasure as always my friend and hopefully one day you can help our Canadian National Team if called upon in future. Your good friend and mentor Renato Pascuali has spent some time developing our players here in Canada… I will definitely be keeping in touch coach as always. The best for you.

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