By Eurohoops Team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Pitino talked about EuroLeague’s referees and demonstrated how physical European basketball is after Panathinaikos OPAP Athens lost in Barcelona.
“I think the referees are outstanding. I haven’t gotten one technical. They are calling the game at the wishes of the commissioner of the league. That’s the way he wants the game called. They call the game as they are instructed and they are doing an outstanding job. If you want to see the game played like the NBA, then they need to be instructed on refereeing in a different way. It happened in College and the NBA. It’s up to the heads to make decisions in the EuroLeague to decide what they want. We got dominated in the glass tonight,” said the 66-year old coach.
He then stood up during the press conference and ‘boxed out’ a Barcelona media officer to demonstrate an example of how Barca bigs dominated the boards vs. Pana. “That’s the way the game is played here. The answer is to get big and physical guys. Everyone has to make adjustments to the way the game is called. EuroLeague basketball is outstanding, I love it. I have another five and a half months to enjoy it.”
Pitino added also a story about the NBA: “EuroLeague Basketball is outstanding – great players, great coaches. Many years ago, I was in a committee with Chuck Daly, Hubie Brown, Larry Brown, Pat Riley and a few other people, and the NBA was very, very upset because only one team was scoring 100 points per game. So David Stern brought us all in to try to get our opinions on how to create more scoring. After all the ideas, talking about how to get more scoring, the bottom line was to cut out physical play and call fouls. That was the answer. It wasn’t eight seconds in the backcourt instead 10, it wasn’t any other situation except if you call the fouls, the players will stop bumping and grinding and hand-checking and more points will be scored. A few years later, there was only one team not scoring 100 per game. The whole league changed to finesse basketball. So the EuroLeague is great but they haven’t adapted that philosophy – and maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe the EuroLeague should be the EuroLeague and the NBA should be the NBA.”
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