Basketball Champions League: Marco Spissu making his hometown proud

Marco Spissu was born in Sassari, raised in Dinamo’s youth teams, and is now leading his hometown team to new heights in the Basketball Champions League

By Stefan Djordjevic

These days, it’s not so often that the teams at the biggest stages feature a hometown player, let alone for him to be the face of the club and lead it to victories. 

Well, that’s exactly become the case with Marco Spissu and Dinamo Sassari. However, far from it that it happened overnight and it took years of Spissu gaining experience around Italy as well as a few coaching changes in Sassari.blob:

One step at a time towards the childhood dream

Spissu was raised in Dinamo Sassari’s youth teams and even made the debut for the senior squad at the age of 16. While he played now and then for Sassari’s A-squad, it wasn’t until his return in the 2017-18 season, that he gained a more significant role.

Prior to it, the youngster had to go through an experience-gathering trip around Italy, playing on a loan for six teams – Sant’Orsola, CUS Bari, Casalpusterlengo, Viola R. Calabria, Derthona Basket, Virtus Bologna.

He won the U19 Italian Championship with Casalpusterlengo as the competition MVP and he kept growing. His most significant growth happened with Derthona and Virtus Bologna, in the Italian Second Division.

He got ample playing time and proved he can handle being the primary ball-handler and playmaker for the team, and do it all under pressure.

With Virtus, Spissu thrived in the derby against Fortitudo, earning the MVP of the match award with 20 points on 4-8 threes. And that trend continued. He was named the best player under 22 years old and the MVP of the Serie A2 Italian Cup which was won by Virtus. Not to mention that he was one of the leaders in the squad that advanced to the Italian top division.

If a season like that weren’t enough for Sassari to bring him back, what would be? And they indeed brought him back. A dream come true for Spissu.

“I always say it’s special for me to wear this shirt. I dreamed of it as a child. When I went to the pitch my dream was to compete one day by carrying the shirt around Italy and Europe. Now I have succeeded, so I am very happy and proud to be able to do it. I can’t ask for anything better.”

A special player-coach relationship

He played a bit under 20 minutes a game during the following two seasons, usually coming off the bench as he started gaining experience in the European competitions, the Basketball Champions League and FIBA Europe Cup.

That, however, all changed when Gianmarco Pozzecco came in as the new head coach in 2019 and immediately led the team to win the Europe Cup. 

Pozzecco recognized Spissu’s talent instantly, complimenting him all the time, even calling him ‘the pride of the region’, and it wasn’t long before he started using him to the full potential. The young point guard became a regular starter with 25+ minutes on the court and he returned the trust with mature performances.

“Surely his words have filled me with pride, they always help me to be a more responsible guy and to work even harder. I don’t set limits, I always want to improve. The relationship with Poz is special, we understand each other immediately, a glance is enough,” Spissu said on an occasion.

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Dove pensavi di andare?? #Together 💙

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Recovering from a season cut short 

Both Spissu and Sassari were having a great season and who knows what would’ve happened was it not for the COVID-19 outbreak that brought clubs to unfamiliar and awkward situations.

 “This is something that has never happened before. They stopped us at the most important, most beautiful moment when the good weather and the playoffs began. We were on our way to the playoffs. It was strange, but you have to know how to get up,” Spissu told OA Sport during the hiatus.

And getting back up has been what they’re doing this season. Sassari is 3-1 in the Italian League and they’ve tipped off the BCL with a convincing with over Galatasaray.

Spissu has also shown his presence in those, especially against Galatasaray as he put on an all-around performance with 22 points on 6-9 from deep along with eight assists, six rebounds and two steals for a total PIR of 33.

The 25-year-old has now gotten even more responsibility, playing more than 30 minutes a game for his hometown team and it will be up to him to lead Dinamo Sassari to the top. So far, he didn’t disappoint. 

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