Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina received some love from one of the players he coached at the NBA Africa Game in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Messina-coached Team World defeated Team Africa 96-92 on Saturday.
“He did a great job of just drawing up plays,” Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside told the Heat’s website, per the Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. “There was so much movement. He made it easy, it was easy.”
Spurs forward Rudy Gay scored three points, corralled four rebounds, dished out four assists and notched three steals in 25 minutes for Team World.
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Danilo Gallinari pumped in 23 points for Team World. Joel Embiid led Team Africa with 24.
It’s no surprise Messina had success guiding Team World. During his long career as a head coach in Europe, the Italian won four EuroLeague titles.
Messina also drew praise for the job he did last spring filling in for Gregg Popovich after the Spurs coach stepped away from the club during the first round of the playoffs following the death of his wie Erin. Down 0-3 to the Golden State State Warriors, the Spurs won Game 4 103-90 before falling in five games.
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“He’s one of the best coaches in the world,” Popovich said of Messina in 2015. “He’s very successful, a great technician, a great game coach. To be able to befriend him over the years and now work with him is a joy for me and really good for our organization.”
Messina, who turns 59 in September, signed a two-year extension with the Spurs in summer 2017.