By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Pitino said that taking over Iona next season will not interfere with finishing 2019-2020 with Panathinaikos, as long as the season resumes, and then coaching the Greek national team in the Olympic Qualifiers tournament.
“I’m going to fulfill my commitments. We’re in sixth place fighting for a playoff spot. And I’m still going to coach the national team. [If the NBA season ends in time], I’m going to get the “Greek Freak” [Giannis Antetokounmpo] on my team,” Pitino said in an interview with ESPN. He was hired to become the head coach of the Greek national team in November, a few weeks before he returned for his second stint with Panathinaikos.
Rick Pitino was announced as the new head coach of the Iona Gaels, a deal that marked his return to college basketball after spending these past two seasons in Greece and EuroLeague with Panathinaikos Athens. The Hall of Fame coach mentioned that the European experience provided him with many lessons and made him “a better basketball coach” on offense.
“I learned an awful lot going to the EuroLeague,” Pitino said. “It’s a different form of basketball. It’s the best offensive basketball played, [including] college and the NBA. The best offensive sets, the best ball movement, the best cuts backdoor, the best passing, the best shooting. They don’t have the defenses we have because the athleticism isn’t as powerful, but from a learning standpoint, I learned quite a bit. The coaching was fantastic. I’ve coached against Dean Smith, Frank McGuire — I put these guys on the same stage as all the great ones. I learned a great deal. Offensively, it’s made me a better basketball coach.”