Fiat Turin's 7DAYS EuroCup campaign came to a conclusion with a disappointing 89-68 defeat to Unicaja Malaga on Wednesday night, meaning the Italian team bowed out of the competition without a win to its name. However, the team’s legendary coach Larry Brown was nothing but classy as he said goodbye to this season's EuroCup – and he was also eager to give a glowing endorsement to European basketball.
The only coach in basketball history to win both an NCAA national championship and an NBA title, Brown is one of the most respected figures within the sport. And although his first stint in Europe has ended with a frustrating lack of losses, he insists that he is deeply appreciative of his opportunity to experience the game on this side of the pond.
Reflecting on Fiat's EuroCup campaign, the Hall of Fame coach concluded: "We didn’t win a game so I have a lot of respect for the players and teams we played against. The level of play is very, very good. We've played some EuroLeague teams, but I think Kazan and Unicaja are every bit as good as them.
"I came to Europe because I've always been impressed with the way the game's been played here, and since I've been here my respect and admiration has only grown. They play the right way – they share the ball, they defend, and I I love this style of play because I think everybody accepts their roles.
"I think the game is meant to have five guys playing together on defense and offense, and what I've found in Europe is that all the teams emphasize that. I came here to teach, but I'm the one who's learning."