International Hoops

The Atomic Fly – BallinEuropeBallinEurope

The Atomic Fly - BallinEuropeBallinEurope

Italy coach Gianmarco Pozzecco is a character but can his madness lead Italy to a first medal in almost two decades? Emmet Ryan on the remarkable man who is on the sideline for the Azzuri

La Mosca Atomica, the Atomic Fly, that’s what Gianmarco Pozzecco has been known as throughout most of his basketball career. He also goes by Poz. Whatever the case, he’s managed to claim the title of Europe’s most energetic coach on the sideline throughout EuroBasket 2022.

The whole tournament has seen Pozzecco provide a full-on demonstration in wild emotion while being impeccably well-dressed. There was the Giannis muscles pose late in the win over Croatia, many, many, outbursts in the other group games, but he caught the world’s attention as his side beat Serbia to reach the quarter finals.

Italy coach Gianmarco Pozzecco is swarmed by his players after their stunning victor over Serbia at EuroBasket 2022

During a dreadful start for Italy, he drew a technical and when Poz draws a technical he makes sure he earns the full value of it. Another was given against the bench later in the half but not to Poz himself. Then the third quarter came and the second one for him was handed down. Poz ejected and his team without their main man on the sideline. He left them a simple message “Win this for me.” It turned out it had worked in the past. During his stint as coach of Dinamo Sassari in Italy he was ejected eight times and his team went on to win all eight games.

In the dying seconds, with the game won, he had to be held back to avoid getting his team in needless extra trouble late but once that buzzer went everything went crazy. Pozzecco was mobbed by his players and staff. He ran into the tunnel and jumped on Giannis Antetokounmpo to hug him. That it was right before the Greek Freak’s own game might have caused consternation but even Giannis shared the video afterwards because, you see, it’s very difficult not to like Pozzecco.

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He speaks from the heart and lets his emotions flow and when he’s happy it’s a joy. As the media stood in the mixed zone waiting for players to come through, we could hear him roar “We have shocked the world, we have shocked the world.” He doesn’t try to steal credit, if anything he is overly generous in…

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