By Stefan Djordjevic/ email@example.com
Panathinaikos coach Rick Pitino told his players on Saturday (March 14) that he will return to college basketball this year but will finish out the Euroleague season if and when it resumes, as CBS Sports reported and Eurohoops sources confirmed.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, basketball in Europe came to a halt which allowed Pitino to travel back to the US to be with his family but also interview for one last chance at college basketball.
His name has been strongly connected to Iona and Grand Canyon and the former will be Pitino’s next destination, as the Iona College officially announced it.
“I’m incredibly excited. I started my journey in basketball in Manhattan. I’m now able to end my journey in New Rochelle. I’ve admired the stellar job that Tim Cluess has done. I’m going to try and carry that on and elevate it to prominence,” Pitino said, per CBS’s Jon Rothstein, and added: “I missed college basketball when I was in Greece. I’m back home where it all started. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
The coach’s deal with Panathinaikos includes also the next season, but it’s a given that if he wishes to leave, the Greens will not be an obstacle. At the same time, however, this might affect Pitino’s future with the Greek national team.
Although it wasn’t clear at first, now it is that Pitino’s earlier message on Twitter was, in fact, a farewell: “Hope we can finish the season with the Euroleague. I will treasure coaching the PAO players for the rest of my life. Hoping we find a vaccine and a cure soon,” he wrote.
Hope we can finish the season with the Euroleague. I will treasure coaching the PAO players for the rest of my life. Hoping we find a vaccine and a cure soon.
— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) March 14, 2020