By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
With Oded Kattash leaving for Panathinaikos, Lithuanian coach Dainius Adomaitis was announced today as the new head coach of Hapoel Jerusalem and things are not going to be easy for him.
After Wednesday’s defeat by Turk Telekom, the Israelis who are widely considered contenders in the Basketball Champions League, are in danger of missing the train for the second phase of the competition.
They have to beat Limoges on the road in two weeks and also they need from already qualified Turk Telekom to beat Igokea in order to qualify. Thus, elimination is a real possibility and it’s not dependent only on Hapoel.
The 46-years old former point guard has proven that he like the role of the underdog and that was the story in all his previous clubs.
Despite limited resources, he managed to turn heads with his results, both in the continental and national level, and he got the wrong end of the stick with an infamous non-call while being the coach of the Lithuanian national team.
During the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Lithuania lost to France in one of the most crucial games of the second round with some calls being more than questionable. With a clear basket interference by Rudy Gobert not being called, Adomaitis decided to step down from the national team bench at the end of the tournament.
However, one year and three months after that infamous incident, Adomaitis is once again part of a FIBA competition, making a fresh start in a foreign country and coaching the Basketball Champions League for the first time.
Hapoel has the tie-breaker over Igokea, losing by just two points on the road and winning by 16 at home.
Turk Telekom on the other hand so far has lost only one game in the competition, on the road to Igokea, so they also have something to prove in two weeks, despite already thinking the next round.
And while Igokea totally deserves to qualify, especially if they complete the group phase with a big road win, Hapoel staying alive after the first BCL game of coach Adomaitis will be quite the story.