Luca Banchi has signed a two-year deal with Virtus Bologna.

Credit: Erikas Ovčarenko/BNS
Credit Erikas Ovčarenko/BNS

Less than 10 hours after officially parting ways with head coach Sergio Scariolo, Virtus Segafredo Bologna announced that it has reached an agreement until June 30, 2025 with Luca Banchi.

The Italian coach, winner of the award of Best Coach of the 2023 World Cup, returns to the EuroLeague after coaching Brose Baskets Bamberg in 2017-18. Following the Serie A title with Siena in 2013 and with EA7 Emporio Armani Milan in 2014, Banchi left Italy for Germany and Greece, where he coached AEK in the 2018-19 campaign. 

In January 2021, the play-caller from Grossetto became assistant Coach of the Long Island Nets, in the NBA G League. He then had brief stints at Pesaro and Strasbourg where he led both clubs to the domestic league playoffs, in addition to making the BCL playoffs with the French side. 

Since 2021, Banchi, 58, has been Latvia's head coach. He recently led the squad to its first-ever FIBA World Cup which ended up in 5th place.

When the 2022-23 campaign was over, the Italian coach came very close to an agreement with Baskonia, who was then thinking of parting ways with Joan Penarroya.

In the end, the Basque club and the Tuscan play-caller didn't reach an agreement, as Baskonia opted to continue with Penarroya on the bench.

"The possibility of returning to the EuroLeague at 58 would be an ideal situation. But they asked me to leave Latvia NT immediately. They wanted a coach who would be immediately available to construct the team," Banchi explained in an interview with Tuttosport.

Credit BNS

He even mentioned what Baskonia's president Josean Querejeta told him about the EuroLeague being ruthless and Baskonia not disposing of a big budget.

"But I felt the moral commitment to Latvia. Leaving would not have been consistent and akin to my style," Banchi added.

In an interview with BasketNews during the World Cup, Banchi admitted that it would be tough to find an open spot in the EuroLeague.

"I'd like that. But I'm not the one who decides. Unfortunately, with the case of Baskonia, I missed an important chance for me to return to the EuroLeague. In the EuroLeague, certain clubs that have great potential don't change their coach during the season."

Banchi also noted that the agreement between him and the Latvian federation that runs until the 2025 EuroBasket allows him to skip the activities of the national team during the season.

"Although they're totally different things, if I were to choose between the World Cup and a EuroLeague Final Four, I'd pick the former," he pointed out. 

"But it's true that I miss very much the daily relationship with the players. That's why if a call from the EuroLeague arrived in November or December, I would end up giving in to temptation. The daily routine is too attractive. The federation gives me absolute freedom. But of course, they wouldn't let me skip the World Cup," he clarified.



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