These 10 Best Basketball Coaches In Europe Are Setting the Game Alight


Imagine yourself balling alongside Europe’s elite, training with laser focus, and executing plays like a seasoned pro. The secret weapon behind you? One of the best basketball coaches in Europe, of course. 

Being a head coach at any level isn’t easy, but being one of the world’s best requires a mastermind who can turn raw talent into basketball champions

It involves innovative strategies and a deep well of experience, not to mention a fanatical knowledge of the game. 

So, if you’re an aspiring baller hungry to elevate your game in European basketball, you’ll need to know who these coaching giants are. 

  • Who’s shaping the future of the European game?
  • Who’s rivaling the creme de la creme of the American NBA?
  • Just who are the best basketball coaches in Europe right now? 

Find out in this article as we dive deep into the best European coaches around. We’ve asked two top basketball experts for help as we seek to answer this all-important question.

Looking for elite basketball training programs at intermediate prices? Get in touch with EuroProBasket today to elevate your game and take a shot at becoming a pro.

Who are the 10 best basketball coaches in Europe? We asked the experts

Most basketball fans have read up on the finest coaching talent the game has to offer, but not many of us have real-life experience to back our opinions up. 

Pascal Meurs and Rui Costa do. 

As coaches at Valencia’s EuroProBasket International Academy, they are dedicated to developing future professional players. This pursuit requires an in-depth knowledge of successful coaching methods and, of course, the people behind them. 

We asked them to provide a list of the best basketball coaches in Europe right now. After much thought and deliberation, here’s what they came up with. 

Note: these are aggregate positions of the two coaches’ rankings.

1. Zeljko Obradovic 

When looking for the best coach in Europe, it’s tempting to break it down into one simple question: which coach has the most wins in the Euroleague?

The simple answer is Partizan’s Zeljko Obradovic. 

The Serbian has won a record nine EuroLeague titles (his nearest challengers ‘just ‘four each) with five different clubs. 

He has the most EuroLeague match wins under his belt, recently breaking the 350 mark. He’s even won two gold medals with the Yugoslavia national team (present-day Serbia) at the EuroBasket and FIBA World Championship. 

But it’s not just about his trophy cabinet. What sets Obradovic apart from his rivals is his incredible ability to get the most out of his players, and this explains why our experts collectively named him as their top candidate.

Many put this down to his coaching style, which sees him actively taking part in practices and demonstrating plays at full speed. His attention to detail is also incredible and has an answer for everything, as his former protege Jaka Lakovic testifies: “Zeljko wins by knowing how to answer everything the players ask you. Because sometimes they don’t ask to find out but to test you”. 

Add to this his unmatched strategic prowess, and it’s easy to see why he stands out as the greatest coach in European history. 

The only question left is how much longer 64-year-old Obradovic’s passion for the sport will continue to burn: the signs are that it will be for quite some time. 

2. Sergio Scariolo

best basketball coaches in Europe

Sergio Scariolo Spanish National Team photo:

Sergio Scariolo has a legendary coaching status across borders. 

He’s not only the most decorated coach in Spanish national team history, leading them to the 2019 World Cup gold, but also a champion at club level. 

Victories with Euroleague powerhouse Virtus Bologna and Spanish giants Real Madrid and Unicaja Malaga are testament to this.

His achievements explain why the NBA came calling in. Although only assistant at the Toronto Raptors, he still helped the side add an NBA championship trophy to their cabinet thanks to his unique insights. 

He also added several strings to his bow coming up against the finest NBA coaches the USA has to offer, not to mention players like the mighty LeBron James.

Scariolo’s leadership expertise makes him a sought-after speaker, sharing his thoughts on teamwork, managing expectations, and the delicate balance between success and sacrifice.

3. Xavi Pascual

best basketball coaches in Europe

Xavi Pascual Panathanikos vs Zalgaris photo: Euroleague media

 Xavi Pascual ranks an aggregate third on our experts’ “Best Basketball Coaches in Europe” list thanks to his extraordinary record of guiding teams to victory. 

A EuroLeague legend,  Pascual carved his path from humble beginnings. He started by coaching youth and amateur teams while pursuing engineering studies,  and his dedication to the sport propelled him forward. 

His big break came as an assistant coach for FC Barcelona, eventually leading them to the prestigious EuroLeague title in 2010 and four Spanish league championships. 

His success continued in Greece with Panathinaikos, adding two Greek League titles and a Greek Cup to his trophy cabinet. 

Currently, he’s the head coach for Zenit Saint Petersburg, has led them to a VTB United League championship in 2022, and is continuing his excellent record into his 50s. 

4. Andreas Trinchieri 

best basketball coaches in Europe

Andreas Trinchieri photo: aba league

Currently the passionate head coach of Zalgiris Kaunas, Trinchieri boasts extensive experience, having coached teams like Brose Bamberg and FC Bayern Munich in the EuroLeague.

He’s secured numerous titles throughout his career, including multiple German League championships and cups, and has done this by building a responsible team mentality and pushing his players to excel. 

Trinchieri showed this to great effect by turning around Zalgiris’s fortunes right after he took over, with nine wins in 17 games, including against Final Four contenders Panathinaikos and play-in teams Anadolu Efes, Baskonia, and Virtus.

No wonder Zalgiris is so keen to extend his stay for at least another season.

5. Pablo Laso

Pablo Laso Real Madrid photo: EFE

Pablo Laso is a decorated basketball figure known for success in both playing and coaching. 

As a player, he won the Spanish Cup and FIBA Saporta Cup, then later translated this into world-class leadership at Real Madrid. He secured two EuroLeague titles, six Spanish League championships, and numerous other accolades. 

The driving force behind his success is his ability to build a strong team environment through clear communication and adaptable coaching methods. In a recent interview, he explained how his love of learning and new challenges motivate him to always seek bigger and better things. 

As the current coach of Bayern Munich, Bundesliga fans see this prowess weekly, and won’t be surprised that Laso features so highly on our experts’ list.

6. Georgios Bartzokas 

Georgio Bartzokas Olympiacos vs Panathanaikos photo:

Greek maestro Bartzoka is nicknamed “Chess Player” for a reason. He’s a three-time EuroLeague Coach of the Year and was the first Greek coach to win the EuroLeague title (2013 with Olympiacos). 

Bartzokas has also led Olympiacos to multiple championships, including two Greek Leagues (2022, 2023) and three Greek Cups (2022, 2023, 2024). 

Though his playing career was cut short by injuries, Bartzokas has found immense success as a coach thanks to his strategic mind and unique way of seeing the game. 

7. Dimitris Itoudis

Dimitris Itoudis photo: euroleague media

Some coaches don’t need to shout from the rooftops about how they win games. Dimitris Itoudis is one of them.

The renowned Greek coach is not known for a celebrity lifestyle, but his achievements speak for themselves. After studying under the great Obradovic as Panathinaikos’s assistant, he guided CSKA Moscow to a famous EuroLeague win in 2016, the first time a Greek had done it with a non-Greek club. 

Itoudis has since coached the Greece national team and Fenerbahce Beko where his strategic mind and focus on teamwork have continued to impress the basketball players under his tutelage.

8. Sarunas Jasikevicius 

Sarunas Jasikevicius FC Barcelona photo:

Šarūnas Jasikevičius, a decorated former player, has translated his success onto the coaching side of things. 

He’s known for his focus on defense and fast breaks, which involves aggressive play and ball movement. Trophies have littered his coaching career as a result, particularly in Lithuania and Spain. 

Jasikevičius led Žalgiris Kaunas to four consecutive Lithuanian League championships and three Lithuanian Cups before returning to FC Barcelona and winning a further two national championships and two cups. Most recently, he added a Turkish Cup victory with Fenerbahce Istanbul. 

Jasikevičius’ coaching style shows off a winning mentality and has proven effective at the highest levels in Europe, which is why he’s made both experts’ lists.

9. Ettore Messina (Average rank: 8) Milano

Ettore Messina photo:

Italian coaching icon Ettore Messina, widely considered Italy’s best at club level, boasts a trophy cabinet overflowing with victories. 

Since 2000, he’s steered teams like Benetton, Virtus Bologna,  CSKA Moscow, and, of course, Real Madrid to championship glory. His impact is felt all over Europe – he even secured a win as an assistant coach in the prestigious NBA All-Star Game. 

Messina’s national dominance across several countries cements his reputation as one of basketball’s most respected and decorated coaches as he seeks further glory with his current club Milano.

10. Ergin Ataman 

Ergin Ataman photo:

Probably the greatest Turkish coach of all time, Ergin Ataman has two EuroLeague wins and one EuroCup success under his belt 

Ataman’s been winning trophies for almost 30 years, starting with many Turkish titles before winning back-to-back EuroLeague championships in 2021 and 2022 with Anadolu Efes and etching his name among Europe’s elite coaches.

He also achieved the remarkable feat of reaching the EuroLeague Final Four a total of six times with three different teams, including his current team Panathinaikos.

Ataman’s ability to build strong teams and guide them to victory has garnered him immense respect and admiration throughout the world of basketball.


So, there we have it: an expert view of the top European basketball minds around. Talented, determined, and successful, they’re all shining examples to budding basketballers across the continent. 

If you have the dedication and passion for the game, who knows – you might just find yourself under the tutelage of one of these coaching giants someday, honing your skills and becoming a European basketball star in your own right.

Ready to benefit from top-class European coaching at an affordable price? Contact EPB right now to find out how we can help you become the best basketball player you can be